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Sunday, May 25, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Diamondbacks 2

By Kieran Darcy

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets salvaged the final game of their series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, thanks to Anthony Recker, Bobby Abreu and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Just how GM Sandy Alderson drew it up, right?

Thanks to important contributions from those unlikely heroes, the Mets defeated the Diamondbacks, 4-2, in the second game of a single-admission doubleheader at Citi Field.

The Mets (22-27) bounce back from a brutal loss earlier in the day but remain in last place in the National League East -- in a virtual tie with the Philadelphia Phillies (21-26). The Diamondbacks (20-32) continue residing in the cellar of the NL West.

Role of the Dice-K: The Mets couldn't have asked for more from Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Making his first start of the season after 14 relief appearances because the Mets used Bartolo Colon in Friday's game (that was called in the fourth inning and ultimately deemed a rainout), Matsuzaka pitched six innings, giving up just two runs on three hits.

He threw 98 pitches -- 42 more than in his longest outing of the year prior to this one -- and struck out six while walking just one. The Diamondbacks scored their two runs in the second inning, on a leadoff single by Aaron Hill, an RBI triple by Martin Prado and an RBI groundout by Cody Ross.

Matsuzaka got a much-deserved win after the Mets took the lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning (see below). He's now 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA -- in 27 innings pitched, he has allowed just 12 hits, with 30 strikeouts.

He also helped his own cause with an RBI single in the second inning, the fourth hit by a Mets pitcher on the year.

Unsung bunch: Two players on the bench for the first game of the doubleheader came up big in the nightcap.

Recker had a career-high four hits -- three singles and a double -- and scored what turned out to be the game-winning run in the sixth. Abreu drove in the game-tying run an inning earlier, with a double of his own -- one of his two hits in the game.

Ruben Tejada didn't start in Game 2, but he pinch hit for Matsuzaka in the bottom of the sixth and drove home Recker for the game-winning RBI -- another unlikely hero.

Downside: Juan Lagares had a tough day -- after a leadoff single in the first inning of Game 1, Lagares was retired eight times in a row, before a sacrifice bunt in his final at-bat. Lagares finished 1-for-9 in the doubleheader.

Curtis Granderson was also hitless despite starting in both games; he was 0-for-5 but walked three times and was hit by a pitch as well.

Upside: Daniel Murphy went 3-for-4 (three singles) with a walk, drove home the Mets' insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, and finished with five hits on the day.

David Wright went 1-for-4 with a walk in Game 2, but thanks to his sixth-inning single he extended his hitting streak to nine games.

What a relief: Carlos Torres, Josh Edgin, Jeurys Familia and Jenrry Mejia pitched three scoreless innings to finish off the victory.

Edgin, Familia and Mejia all worked in both games of the doubleheader. Mets manager Terry Collins did not use Scott Rice and Vic Black in either game.

As a whole, the Mets' bullpen (not including Matsuzaka) pitched six innings on the day and gave up zero earned runs. Mejia gave up the winning run in Game 1, but it was unearned.

What's next: The Mets will open a three-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Memorial Day at Citi Field, first pitch at 1:10 p.m. Jacob deGrom (0-2, 2.77) will make his third start for the Mets, opposed by fellow righty Brandon Cumpton (0-1, 4.26), who was just recalled from Triple-A. It will be former Met Ike Davis' first game in Queens since being traded on April 18.