Jul 29, 2015; New York City, NY, USA;  New York Mets first baseman Lucas Duda (21) is greeted after his third homer against th San Diego Padres in the ninth inning at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Duda’s hot streak paves way for win over Nats

Lucas Duda hit two home runs and capped off a rally with a game-winning double in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Nationals on Saturday night.

The double came after Nationals manager Matt Williams decided to intentionally walk OF Yoenis Cespedes to face Duda.

Duda has eight home runs during his last seven games, prior to which he was in an 18-for-117 skid.

He is the first player to have eight straight hits go for home runs since Marcus Thames of the Tigers in 2008, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“Listen, we’ve got to start producing some runs, or we’ve got to find somebody else,” Collins said he told Duda after the Mets acquired Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from the Braves. “I always thought he was going to have a good second half, but he’s taken it to heart. He’s a tremendous worker and wants to be good. He’s showing everybody what he can be.”

Duda is the first Met since 2008 to hit at least 20 home runs in consecutive seasons. For the season, Duda now has 20 home runs, 48 RBIs to go along with a .347 OBP and .481 SLG.


Cespedes and Granderson react after Mets win, 3-2, against Nationals


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Duda’s three RBIs propel Mets to come-from-behind win

Despite falling in an early 2-0 hole, Lucas Duda‘s three RBIs — and two home runs — helped the Mets rally to defeat the Nationals, 3-2.

With the score tied in the eighth inning, Duda ripped an opposite-field RBI double to drive in the winning run.

The win now puts the Mets (54-50) one game out of first place in the National League East.

Despite not having great command, Mets starter Jacob deGrom battled through six innings, allowing two runs on six hits, while striking out seven on a season-high 117 pitches.

DeGrom’s best stuff eluded him early, and the Nationals (54-48) jumped on the board in the first. Ian Desmond lined a broken-bat single just past the infield, scoring Washington’s first two runs in the opening inning.

After going hitless against starter Joe Ross through the first 3 2/3 innings, Duda singlehandedly put the Mets back in the game. He crushed a home run into the right-center field seats for New York’s first hit and run in fourth. And in the seventh, Duda did it again, this time with an opposite-field home run, his 20th of the year, to tie up the game.

Ross left the game after 6 1/3 innings, giving up two runs on four hits.

Bobby Parnell and Hansel Robles combined for scoreless seventh and eighth innings, respectively. Closer Jeurys Familia closed out the win for his 28th save of the year.

Newly acquired Met Yoenis Cespedes went 0-for-3 with a walk in his debut.

The Mets and Nationals will conclude their three-game series at Citi Field on Sunday night at 8:08 p.m. 

Noah Syndergaard (5-5, 2.70 ERA) gets the start for the Mets against Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-6, 3.36 ERA). 


Video highlights from Saturday’s win over the Nationals

Mets first baseman Lucas Duda gets his third hit of the game, an RBI double to give the team a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning. >> Watch here

Mets first baseman Lucas Duda blasts his second home run of the game, tying the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, 2-2. >> Watch here

Mets first baseman Lucas Duda hits a solo home run to get the Mets on the board with their first hit of the game. >> Watch here

To read post-game reports from the team’s beat writers, check out MLB.com, Daily NewsNew York PostNew York Times, Bergen Record, ESPN, Newsday and NJ.com.


Saturday’s minor league recap…

Mets RHP prospect Kevin McGowan tossed seven scoreless innings Saturday night in the St. Lucie Mets 6-0 win over Clearwater. The 23-year-old gave up four hits, struck out six and walked only one. He’s allowed one earned run in his last two starts (14 innings) on the heels of his worst start as a professional July 21 when he surrendered 12 earned runs to Charlotte.

Dom Smith drove in his 60th and 61st runs with a single, which was his lone hit in the game >>Read more at SNY’s Mets Minors


Cespedes welcomed in New York

Yoenis Cespedes arrived in New York on Saturday ready to play, as he is batting third and playing left field in Saturday’s game against the Nationals.

Cespedes, who’s hitting .293 with 18 home runs and 61 RBIs, will provide a spark for the Mets’ offense, which currently ranks at the bottom in the National League in scoring. No everyday Met has more than 45 RBIs or hitting better than .270.

“You add a big bat and all of the sudden that lengthens up your lineup a little bit,” manager Terry Collins said. “We are anxious to see him play.”

The timing on adding a big bat couldn’t have come better for the Mets, who trail the Nationals by two games in the NL East after Friday’s walk-off win. The Mets acquired the 29-year-old outfielder from the Tigers for minor league pitchers Michael Fulmer and Luis Cessa.

“I’m pretty amped up tonight,” Collins said. “All these years I was in pennant races, we never got a piece at the deadline like this. … When you make moves like this. It’s time to pick it up.”

Cespedes has spent the majority of his four-year career as a corner outfielder and has played all of this season as a left fielder. By acquiring Cespedes, the Mets will shift Curtis Granderson to center and have Kelly Johnson play right in Saturday’s game.

On a regular basis, though, Collins said Cespedes will see time in center vs. right-handed pitchers and Juan Lagares in center vs. lefties.

The Mets are Cespedes’ fourth team since the beginning of last season, and he wore No. 52 with each team. To allow him to continue to wear that number, Carlos Torres switched his jersey from No. 52 to No. 72.

“I’m very flattered that the Mets wanted to give me this opportunity,” Cespedes said. “I’m excited to come back to this ballpark. I hear a lot about New York and the crowds. I’m just hoping to do my job and it will all work out well.”

Jul 25, 2015; New York City, NY, USA; New York Mets left fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis (9) singles to center allowing left fielder Michael Conforto (not pictured) to score during the third inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Nieuwenhuis has pinched nerve in upper back

Mets OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis has a pinched nerve in his upper back, but has not been placed on the disabled list, ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin reports (Aug. 1, 5:24 p.m.).

Nieuwenhuis is not in the Mets’ Saturday night lineup and has missed the previous two games as well.

Since returning to the Mets after the Angels designated him for assignment, Nieuwenhuis has rejuvenated his season. He is hitting .317 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 17 games in July.

Overall, he is batting .188 with three home runs and 13 RBIs in 2015.