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Saturday, May 24, 2014
Duda: 'I'll take the blame for this one'

By Adam Rubin

NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda took the responsibility for the Mets' loss Saturday, suggesting Zack Wheeler pitched well enough to win.

“Zack pitched a heckuva game, and I feel like I let him down today, but hopefully we’ll get them tomorrow,” Duda said after leaving seven men on base and going hitless in four at-bats in a 3-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. “I’d like to think it’s a bit of a bad stretch. I can only speak for me personally. I’ve got to drive those runs in, no doubt. I’ll take the blame for this one today.”

Duda is hitting .210 (20-for-95) with two homers since April 15.

He struck out against Josh Collmenter to strand the bases loaded in the first inning Saturday, chasing a pitch above the strike zone after taking two strikes.

“Definitely a ball. Absolutely. Poor pitch selection,” Duda said. “A poor at-bat, really. Like I said, I’ll take the blame for this one. ... It was just one of those days. I had a terrible day at the plate. It goes like that. It’s a tough game.”

Terry Collins suggested Wheeler’s performance was the day’s silver lining. Wheeler entered this outing off two starts in which he surrendered five runs apiece. After starting slowly Saturday, he held the D-backs scoreless from the fourth inning onward. Wheeler ultimately was charged with three runs (two earned) in 6 2/3 innings. He departed trailing 3-2 and took the loss.

“I think that’s a huge step forward for him,” Collins said. “I think it’s an enormous step. He was angry with the way things started, and he beared down and he pitched very, very well throughout the entire ballgame. I told him on the bench he pitched good. ... I was very pleased with the way he stopped the bleeding and gave us a chance to get back in the game.”

Said Wheeler: “I struggled there a little bit the second and third, but they only had one hard-hit ball the whole day. It was ground balls getting through the holes. I really can’t do anything about that. I felt good overall. I was a little bit better with my command today. I wasn’t perfect, of course, but I was better. And it showed.”