New York Mets: Elliot Johnson

Series preview: Mets vs. Royals

August, 1, 2013
8/01/13
5:48
PM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Wade Davis, Bruce Chen and Ervin Santana this weekend at Citi Field.
METS (48-58, fourth place/NL East) vs. KANSAS CITY ROYALS (54-51, third place/AL Central)

Friday: RHP Dillon Gee (7-8, 4.13) vs. RHP Wade Davis (5-9, 5.50), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Carlos Torres (1-2, 3.03) vs. LHP Bruce Chen (4-0, 2.09), 1:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (4-8, 4.21) vs. RHP Ervin Santana (7-6, 3.03), 1:10 p.m. ET

Royals short hops

• Kansas City has won nine straight games, the longest active streak in the majors. It is the franchise’s longest winning streak in a decade, since opening the 2003 season 9-0. The Royals nonetheless have not gained much ground in the AL Central because Detroit and Cleveland also are on big winning streaks.

• The Royals acquired outfielder Justin Maxwell from the Houston Astros at the trade deadline for Class A right-hander Kyle Smith. Maxwell, 29, was hitting .241 with two homers overall with Houston. He had a .302 average against left-handed pitchers.


Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY SportsJustin Maxwell made his Royals debut Thursday.


Maxwell made his Royals debut Thursday, going 1-for-3 with an RBI, run scored and walk while starting in right field. He primarily will see action against left-handed pitching and serve as a reserve.

• Maxwell took the roster spot of second baseman Chris Getz, who landed on the disabled list with a knee injury. Miguel Tejada started his fourth straight game at the position Thursday. Elliot Johnson also is an option at second base with Getz sidelined.

• Left-hander Bruce Chen started for the Mets in the first baseball game back in New York after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, in the game Mike Piazza belted the two-run homer in the eighth to lift the Mets to a 3-2 win against the Atlanta Braves. Chen limited Atlanta to one run in seven innings that day.

Now 36 years old, Chen has allowed only three runs in 18 innings and opponents have a .115 batting average over three starts since he entered the rotation. Chen had been working out of the bullpen before replacing ineffective Luis Mendoza earlier this month. Mendoza (2-5, 5.21 ERA) has moved to long relief.

• The Royals’ strong play leading into the trade deadline prompted the organization to hold onto free-agent-to-be Ervin Santana at the trade deadline.

Alex Gordon, who moved from third base to left field three years ago, was a first-time All-Star this season. His 45 RBIs lead major league leadoff men. Gordon has won two Gold Glove awards since the position change.

He was one of three Royals All-Stars. Closer Greg Holland and catcher Salvador Perez also represented K.C.

• Holland has converted 21 straight save chances, the third-longest streak in franchise history. Joakim Soria saved 36 straight in 2010. Jeff Montgomery saved 24 straight in 1993.

• 2012 All-Star Billy Butler is the first Royal to have at least a share of the team’s RBI lead for four straight seasons. However, the righty-hitting DH is likely to find himself on the bench this weekend in the NL ballpark. Royals manager Ned Yost indicated Thursday that lefty-hitting Eric Hosmer should start all three weekend games at first base over Butler, since the Mets are throwing three right-handed pitchers.

Hosmer has a team-best 36 multi-hit games and is hitting .296 (16-for-54) since the All-Star break.

Lorenzo Cain returned to center field Thursday after missing three games with a groin injury.

Jeff Francoeur was released by the Royals last month and eventually signed with the San Francisco Giants.

Wade Davis is coming off 7 1/3 scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox. He was acquired from Tampa Bay last Dec. 9 with James Shields.

• George Brett resigned as co-hitting coach last week and returned to his front-office role as vice president of baseball operations. Brett had assumed the uniformed role alongside hitting coach Pedro Grifol when the Royals were 21-29.

• Kansas City last visited Queens in 2002.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 9, Rays 6

June, 14, 2012
6/14/12
4:45
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: Kirk Nieuwenhuis had a two-homer game for the first time in his career and the Mets rebounded from their Bronx tailspin by sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays with a 9-6 win Thursday afternoon.

Nieuwenhuis became the first Met to open a first inning with a homer this season.

His second long ball broke a 4-4 tie in the fourth. Lucas Duda followed with a two-run double that inning to give the Mets a four-run lead and chase Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson.

The Mets last produced a sweep in an AL ballpark two seasons ago, when they ran the table in consecutive interleague series at Baltimore and Cleveland.

The three-run margin of victory means the Mets now have finally scored more runs (291) than they have allowed (290) this season.

Tampa Bay produced two ninth-inning runs against Miguel Batista and Frank Francisco and brought the winning run to the plate. Francisco struck out Ben Zobrist with the bases loaded to end it.

STANDING TALL: Jon Rauch had a big pick-me-up for Johan Santana.

With the Mets leading 8-4 in the sixth, Rauch inherited the bases loaded and none out from Santana. Rauch struck out Sean Rodriguez and Jose Lobaton, then retired Elliot Johnson on a groundout as the Rays squandered the comeback opportunity.

Demoted from late-inning work after serving up the game-ending homer to Russell Martin in the series finale at Yankee Stadium, Rauch now has stranded nine of 13 runners this season.

Santana’s final line: 5+ IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K.

Rauch on Tuesday also entered in the sixth inning. That night against the Rays, he coaxed an inning-ending foul pop from Desmond Jennings.

BAY WATCH: Jason Bay, 2-for-25 since returning from the DL, nonetheless delivered his first homer since April 20. The second-inning solo shot staked the Mets to a 2-0 lead.

IKE! Ike Davis continues to work himself out of an offensive rut. Davis delivered an RBI single in the third that gave the Mets a 4-3 lead at the time. He then walked in his next plate appearance. He also drove in David Wright (three runs scored) in the ninth. Davis went 2-for-4 and is now hitting .188.

Davis hit .346 (9-for-26) on the three-city trip, which included the road series in the Bronx. That took him off the hot seat for potentially losing his first-base job with the Mets returning to NL play.

WHAT’S NEXT: Dillon Gee (4-4, 4.42 ERA) opposes right-hander Bronson Arroyo (2-4, 3.79) in Friday’s series opener against the NL Central-leading Cincinnati Reds. REO Speedwagon performs a postgame concert. The Mets’ top two picks, Louisiana high school shortstop Gavin Cecchini and Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki, will take batting practice pregame. Cecchini is ticketed for Kingsport, while Plawecki is expected to play for Brooklyn.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Carlos Torres
WINS ERA SO IP
2 2.08 11 8
OTHER LEADERS
BAJ. Lagares .314
HRL. Duda 3
RBIL. Duda 8
RE. Young Jr. 12
OPSJ. Lagares .816
ERAJ. Mejia 2.81
SOJ. Mejia 18

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