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Friday, September 17, 2010
Duda excited about first home run

By Matt Ehalt

NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda finally has something to smile about.

After collecting the first multi-hit game of his career Thursday night against Pittsburgh, the rookie hit the first home run of his career Friday night in the Mets' 6-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves. Duda had been in the midst of a 0-for-23 slump before breaking out the last two nights.

Duda hit a solo shot to right in the bottom of the fifth inning off Braves starter Tommy Hanson, giving him his second hit of the game and upping his batting average to .125. He also added an RBI single in the second inning.

"That was a pretty cool feeling," Duda said. "Off a tough pitcher, Tommy Hanson, he's got great stuff, and I was just looking to hit the ball yard, and the ball left the yard, and that was it."

Duda said that when he goes the other way with a pitch, as he did on his RBI single that gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the second inning, it allows him to stay back on the ball and see it a bit longer. In his past two games, Duda is now 4-for-7 with a home run, two doubles and four RBIs.

"I think when he got his first couple of hits it was probably some relaxation," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. "Naturally, from what I understand from him, he's a guy that goes to left field very well. And earlier we saw a lot of pull swings from him and I'm glad to see him get the hit to left field. And once that happens, it kind of puts a guy like that back in the sink, and that got him on the track, so hopefully he'll stay on track for a while, he could be a run producer."