Last night with two outs in the sixth inning, Lucas Duda hit a go-ahead, three-run home run of LHP Brad Hand.
“This is [Duda's] chance to play every day at first base. That’s where he likes to play,” Terry Collins said. “We’re hoping he relaxes at the plate. He doesn’t have to worry about playing defense because he knows he can play first.”
In 63 career games at first base coming into last night, Duda was hitting .296 with a .380 OPS and .834 OPS, four home runs and 24 RBI – he went 1-for-4 with the home run and three RBI at the plate last night.
“Here’s his shot to say, ‘Hey, look, I’m going to be a legitimate candidate, you’re going to have to think about me at that spot,’ ” Collins explained. “That’s why we’re hoping as we finish the season out that Lucas does what we know he can do.”
Prior to that at-bat, Duda was hitting .114 with two outs and runners in scoring position this season – his sixth inning home run was his first with runners in scoring position all year and it was only his second extra-base hit with runners in scoring position this season.
“I’m just more concerned with winning and playing well,” Duda told reporters after the game. “Whatever they do is up to them. I’m just going to play hard, have fun, and hopefully continue to win.”