Saturday, September 15, 2012
Notes: Tejada's key stop, Niese's return
By Joe Totoraitis
The Brewers looked like they may get back in Friday night's game at the expense of reliever Bobby Parnell in the eighth inning. Ruben Tejada made sure it didn’t happen.
Back-to-back singles by Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez opened the inning. Jonathan Lucroy slapped a hard grounder up the middle, but before it got to the outfield grass, Tejada, ranging far from short, made a diving stab to snare the ball. From his knees, he flipped it to second baseman Daniel Murphy who pivoted and got Lucroy at first. Braun advanced to third, but was stranded there when Carlos Gomez grounded out to the pitcher to end the threat. Momentum stayed with the Mets.
“Huge play,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Tejada’s stellar grab. “Defensively when you make plays like that, I know on our side, it gets you down because you’ve got a little hope there. You think the ball is up the middle, and you’re probably first and second or first and third, and one run scored there. The next thing you know you’re third base and two outs. That was a huge play -- great play.”
Mets manager Terry Collins was impressed, too.
“Tremendous play, tremendous play,” he said. “He pretty much got us out of the inning. Great turn by Dan, too. Ruben continues to be just the guy that we all know he can be.”
Niese Returns to Miller Park: Jonathon Niese made his major-league debut in 2008 against the Brewers on Sept. 2 at Miller Park. He became the first player in Mets history to allow a home run to the first batter he faced when Rickie Weeks connected in the bottom of the first.
“Obviously, this time was a little bit better result,” he said after improving to 2-0 in four career starts against the Brewers. “It’s kind of neat to just be here again since my debut.”
Duda Proves to Be a Game-Changer: Lucas Duda went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBIs. His two-run homer in the sixth, his 14th of the season, wasn’t a surprise to Collins.
“We know he can do it,” Collins said. “We’ve all seen it before. That’s what we saw last year out of Lucas. We know it’s in him. If he stays consistent, we’ve talked about it many, many times, he changes our order. He changes the look of our batting order. Everybody knows he can hit a home run.”
Duda hit 10 home runs over 100 games for the Mets last season. He bounced back and forth between the Mets and Triple-A Buffalo before returning to New York for the remainder of the season on June 10. This season, he returned to the active roster on Aug. 26 after being optioned to the Bisons on July 24. Since he’s been back, he’s hitting .256 with seven RBIs.
“When he’s swinging like he did tonight, he’s dangerous,” Collins said.
Collins on the Rediscovered Scoring: “In the second inning, I said, 'We haven’t scored this many runs in three games,'" Collins remarked after his team scored four runs in the first two innings. “But kept it up, and Jon made it stand up.”
“The home runs (are) something we have not done,” Collins said. “That really helped us.”
Creeping Toward .500 on the Road: The Mets improved to 36-37 away from Citi Field.