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Thursday, April 25, 2013
Hef a positive in rubber-game loss

By Adam Rubin

One bright spot for the Mets in Thursday’s 3-2 loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers: Jeremy Hefner, like Dillon Gee also this week, turned in a desperately needed positive performance.

Hefner limited L.A. to one run on three hits and three walks while striking out four in seven innings. He sliced his ERA to 5.14.

Seth Wenig/Associated Press/cite>
Jeremy Hefner worked a season-high seven innings Thursday.

The innings and strikeout totals were season highs. It marked only the second start of his career in which he allowed three hits or fewer. The other came last Sept. 26 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“If we get some consistent outings like Dillon and Hef have given us here, we’re going to be in much better shape,” Terry Collins said.

Said Hefner: “Obviously it’s well-noted that I was struggling. To go out and throw seven innings when the bullpen needed it and give us a chance to win a series, it was all good things.”

While he said his confidence didn’t waver, Hefner had been upset with himself for giving up seven homers over his first four appearances (three starts). He has been working to improve the action on his slider and sinker to get more groundballs. The slider particularly worked well against the Dodgers.

“I don’t like mediocrity. I don’ settle for mediocrity,” Hefner said. “I’ve been really trying hard in between starts in my bullpens, making things sharper, trying to clean my mechanics up a little bit. The result of that is kind of what happened today.”

Hefner allowed no homers Thursday. He was tied for the NL lead entering the day.

“It bugged me a little more than I let on,” Hefner said about the long balls. “If I’m successful, I’m getting groundballs. I gave up a few more fly balls than I wanted to today. So that’s something I’ve still got to work on.”