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Mets morning briefing 5.16.11

Justin Turner had the finest game of his career, belting a three-run homer and finishing with five RBIs as the Mets won the rubber game in Houston, 7-4.

The Mets, who have won three straight series, face a stern test in the National League Pitcher of the Month for April, Josh Johnson, on Monday at Citi Field. According to Elias: Johnson's 18 hits allowed (in 41 innings) were the fewest in 40-plus innings before May 1 by any pitcher in major league history since 1900, one better than Nolan Ryan in 1978. Johnson's 0.88 ERA for the month ranked fourth for March/April since ERA became a stat in 1913, trailing only Fernando Valenzuela (0.20 in 1981 and 0.21 in 1985) and Juan Marichal (0.86 in 1965).

Read the Mets-Marlins series preview here.

Monday's news reports:

• Read game stories in the Post, Star-Ledger, Record, Daily News, Journal and Newsday.

Terry Collins asked retired knuckleballer Steve Sparks if he might stop by the clubhouse in Houston and speak with struggling R.A. Dickey. But Dickey said he does not need outside tutelage right now. Writes Andy McCullough in the Star-Ledger:

His knuckleball is not moving the way it did last year. But Dickey is not ready to reach out to some of his knuckleball mentors, like Boston’s Tim Wakefield. “I might, if I feel like I’m really, really just scuffling,” Dickey said. “I just don’t feel that way. I feel like I’m just one good outing away from getting back on track.”

• Clubhouse manager Kevin Kierst (Charlie Samuels' successor) was able to get Turner's home run ball. Writes Anthony Rieber in Newsday:

The ball was caught by a male fan in the back of the leftfield box seats. That fan then gave it to two little girls. The girls' parents did not drive a hard bargain. All they asked for was a ball for each girl. Not signed by anyone. Just two regular baseballs for a keepsake Turner will have for the rest of his life.

BIRTHDAY: Former Mets pitching coach Rube Walker was born on this date in 1926. He died in 1992. Walker was Gil Hodges’ pitching coach for the 1969 Miracle Mets. He formerly caught for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and happened to be behind the plate when Bobby Thomson hit his Shot Heard Round the World pennant-winning home run for the Giants in 1951. -Mark Simon