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Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Duda drops bunt, continues his roll

By Adam Rubin

A night after delivering a game-winning two-run single against Heath Bell, Lucas Duda again batted in the cleanup spot Tuesday. And in a critical situation, Duda asked permission from his manager to bunt.

Duda got the OK, then successfully executed the sacrifice against left-handed reliever Josh Spence. Duda advanced Justin Turner to third base and David Wright to second base. They ultimately scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the eighth as the Mets beat the Padres, 5-4.

“He can do it all, I guess,” Terry Collins said about Duda’s bunting. “It’s not easy.”

Collins made it clear it was Duda’s idea to bunt.

Said the skipper: “Make no mistake about it, he came in and said, ‘Do you want me to bunt here?’ And I said, ‘If you want to.’ I said, ‘Can you?’ And he said, ‘Yeah,’ and he dropped the bunt down. I was pretty impressed.

“I hit him fourth for a reason. He felt he could get the bunt down and get those guys in scoring position. He did it.”

Said Duda: “You’ve got Jason Bay behind me, Nick Evans. I think those guys are more than capable of getting the job done. So I just tried to get it down and advance the runners.”

Duda had executed one sacrifice bunt as a professional, with Double-A Binghamton in 2009.

“I think I’m pretty good at bunting, because I do it a lot,” he said. “I just never do it during the game.”

Afterward, Jason Isringhausen joked about Duda’s motivation -- and about how Duda stared at the ball after laying down the bunt.

“If he’s scared of a lefty, then I understand,” Isringhausen quipped. “He looked good. He looked good running to first base looking back at the bunt, too. But that’s Lucas. It’s good to see him, like people say, coming out of his shell a little bit and having some fun. He’s going to be a heckuva player.”