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Thursday, April 4, 2013
Mets' bats are hot to start the season

By Kieran Darcy

It's surprisingly cold in New York -- and surprisingly hot in Queens.

The Mets have piled up 19 runs in two wins over the Padres, including an 8-4 victory Wednesday at Citi Field.

This time around, the Amazin's did most of their damage via the long ball. Lucas Duda, John Buck and Ike Davis all went deep against San Diego starter Clayton Richard, accounting for six of New York's eight runs.

Lucas Duda
Lucas Duda's home run started the Mets' barrage.
What's more impressive is that Duda and Davis, both lefties, homered against a lefty pitcher.

"It's very big," said manager Terry Collins. "If those two guys are swinging the bats like they can and driving in runs by hitting the ball in the seats, it's gonna be a tough lineup to get through."

Davis went deep 32 times in 2012, so his power is no surprise. Buck, newly acquired this winter, has had double-digit home run totals in seven of his previous nine major league seasons -- his pop isn't a shock, either.

But Duda was demoted to Triple-A for more than a month last year, after batting just .140 in July. Yes, he finished the season with 15 homers, but Duda was a big question mark coming in to 2013.

In fact, the Mets' entire outfield was questioned before the season, regarded by some as the weakest in all of baseball.

"People are gonna have their opinions, and are gonna say what they're gonna say," Duda said. "But I think that if you talk to all five outfielders ... we feel pretty good out there, and we're just gonna play hard every day."

On Opening Day, center fielder Collin Cowgill capped off the Mets' 11-run explosion with a seventh-inning grand slam. On Wednesday, Duda's line drive into the upper deck in right field opened the scoring in the second inning, giving the Mets an early 2-0 lead.

Two innings later, Buck hit a long fly ball that just cleared the wall in right, making it 4-0. In the fifth, Davis slammed a ball onto the bridge far beyond the right-center field fence, giving the Mets a 7-0 cushion.

That was more than enough, given the brilliant pitching of starter Matt Harvey, who allowed just one hit over seven shutout innings.

Pitching was supposed to be the Mets' strength this season. But perhaps they have more punch at the plate than we thought?

Buck has four hits in his first two games with the club. Fellow newcomer Marlon Byrd has three. And every other regular besides Davis has two.

"We've got a great group. Hopefully we can keep it going all year," Davis said. "The way we're swinging, we're gonna give some teams some trouble."