Duda spoils Chipper's day with long ball

September, 29, 2012
9/29/12
12:22
AM ET
ATLANTA -- Lucas Duda, who took a detour to the minors this season, began the Mets' final road trip on a high note. His three-run homer in the seventh inning against Tim Hudson lifted the Mets to a 3-1 victory and spoiled the Chipper Jones Night celebration at sold-out Turner Field.

"We're going to count a lot on Lucas Duda," Terry Collins said. "We know what he can do. We've seen it. He's working on a couple of things offensively that we think are going to help, but what you saw tonight is what he can do. Just like Ike (Davis) -- it's tough to find big-time power. We've got it. Like I've said before, we've just got to get it out of them. ...

"When we sent Lucas down, I can tell you four managers who asked what happened. Every one of them said, 'He scared us to death -- even though we knew he wasn't hitting.' They said Ike Davis was exactly the same way in the first half. You know what? He's in there, if you make a mistake, he can hit a home run. Certainly with Lucas gone we had a big power hole to fill.

"We know Lucas is a better hitter than what he's done this year. He's had a tough year. We saw last year a guy that uses the field to hit, can hit lefties. So we've got to get him back."

Said Duda: "Obviously I can improve in every aspect. There's not really like a number I can put on it. Obviously it wasn't the season I wanted to have -- getting sent down and things like that."

As for the decisive long ball, Duda eventually worked the count full after being behind against Hudson, 1-2.

"I was kind of nervous with two strikes," Duda said. "His two-seamer has a little bit more depth and his curveball a little more break. I was trying to make contact and he left a ball up and luckily it left the yard."
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.292 7 39 60
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 18
RBIL. Duda 57
RD. Murphy 60
OPSL. Duda .856
WB. Colon 10
ERAJ. Niese 3.23
SOZ. Wheeler 121