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Morning Briefing: TC on W: 'Needed badly'

4/5/2014
Elsa/Getty Images

Lucas Duda produces the second of two homers Friday night against Mike Leake and the Cincinnati Reds.NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Opening Day starter Dillon Gee gets his second pitching opportunity of the season when he opposes Cincinnati Reds right-hander Johnny Cueto on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. at Citi Field.

Gee was charged with four runs in 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision on Opening Day against the Washington Nationals.

For the Reds, Cueto surrendered a solo homer to Yadier Molina and only two other hits in seven innings in a 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the opener.

Eric Young Jr. is due to receive the Lou Brock Award as the 2013 National League steals leader before the game. The ceremony was postponed Friday because of the rainy conditions.

Saturday’s news reports:

• Terry Collins committed to giving Lucas Duda an extended look at first base. Duda then went out and hit a pair of two-run homers in the Mets’ 4-3 win against the Reds on Friday night at rainy Citi Field. Jenrry Mejia limited Cincy to one run in six innings. E.Y. Jr. took away a first-inning homer from Brandon Phillips. Anthony Recker became the second MLB player to throw out speedster Billy Hamilton on the basepaths, joining Juan Centeno last season. Jose Valverde earned his first Mets save.

“We needed it badly,” Terry Collins said about his club’s first 2014 victory, which snapped a three-game losing streak.

As for Duda getting this next stretch of games, perhaps there’s a reason, Cody Derespina in Newsday suggests. Wrote Derespina early Friday:

The Mets are due to face right-handed pitchers in their next five games: Mike Leake, Johnny Cueto and Alfredo Simon of the Reds and Aaron Harang and David Hale of the Braves. Neither Davis nor Duda has faced Hale, but both have logged 24 at-bats against the other four starters.

Here’s the breakdown:

Davis is 3-for-24 against the quartet with a walk and four total bases. That’s a .125 average and .326 on-base plus slugging percentage.

Duda, however, is 9-for-24 with four walks and 16 total bases, a robust .375 average and 1.130 OPS.

Read Duda summaries and game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Record, Newsday, Times and at MLB.com.

• Read more on Recker in Newsday.

• Noah Syndergaard allowed two runs on six hits and a walk while striking out five in his Triple-A debut with Las Vegas. Making his Florida State League debut, Long Island native Steven Matz was tagged with the loss. The southpaw allowed two runs in five innings in St. Lucie’s 6-2 loss to Palm Beach. Savannah native John Gant earned the win in the Gnats’ 10-1 victory against Lakewood. Jared King had a pair of two-run triples. Gavin Cecchini produced his second professional homer. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Boomer Esiason apologized for criticizing Daniel Murphy’s decision to take paternity leave and miss the first two games of the season.

“I was not telling women what to do with their bodies. I would never do that,” Esiason reportedly said on-air after initially suggesting Murphy’s wife should have had a C-section before the season. “That’s their decision, that’s their life and they know their bodies better than I do. And the other thing, too, that I really felt bad about is that Daniel Murphy and Tori Murphy were dragged into the conversation, and their whole life was exposed. And it shouldn’t have been.”

Read more in the Post and Daily News.

• Collins explained how Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom will get bullpen work at Las Vegas by May, setting up that as their potential initial big-league role.

BIRTHDAYS: Former first-round pick Lastings Milledge turns 29. Milledge is playing this season for Yakult in the Japanese Central League.

TWEET OF THE DAY:

YOU’RE UP: Will Lucas Duda still be the Mets’ starting first baseman in 10 days?