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Duda brings smiles with one swing

7/26/2014

MILWAUKEE -- Lucas Duda twisted an impending sense of doom in the New York Mets’ dugout into pure exhilaration with one swing of his bat.

Duda's career-high 17th home run -- a two-run blast -- followed Daniel Murphy’s double and David Wright's RBI single as New York rallied with three runs in the top of the ninth off former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez to snatch a 3-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

“We were sitting there in the eighth inning and talking about what a tough loss it would have been, manager Terry Collins said. “It was a huge win for us.”

The Mets have been working with Duda to be more aggressive when he gets in the batter’s box. The lessons finally seem to have taken hold. He was 0-for-3 before connecting in the ninth.

“He’s been told and told and told,” Collins said of Duda’s tutoring. “One of the things we usually talk about is that he’s going to have to apply it with confidence when you get in the batter’s box. He knows he’s got to do it. He’s talked about it in the past. He knows it. He’s got the reputation for taking the first pitch. He got a ball and did what he’s supposed to.”

Trailing 2-0, New York rallied for a 3-2 victory with three runs in the top of the ninth off Rodriguez, highlighted by Duda's line-drive shot into the right-field bleachers.

Rodriguez’s usual out pitch is his changeup. But he tried to sneak a fastball past Duda, who had a hunch it might be coming.

“I just got kind of lucky,” Duda said of his team-leading homer. “I got a fastball and was able to put the barrel on it.”

It was his sixth game-winning RBI this season. And he has hit a home run in three of his past four games, including one in the 9-1 loss to Milwaukee on Thursday.

“It’s definitely a big win,” Duda said, comparing it to the thrill of making the majors for the first time. “[Starting pitcher] Zack [Wheeler] did a great job today, and I’m glad we could pick him up.”