Imagine how this Mets season might have gone a little differently if Andres Torres had played more like this . . .
Torres went 3-for-3 with a home run, triple, double, walk and three RBIs as the Mets beat the Marlins Thursday at Citi Field, 6-1.
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The Mets snapped a nine-game home losing streak and a three-game overall skid. R.A. Dickey became the majors' second 15-game winner by throwing a five-hitter with 10 strikeouts as the Mets salvaged the series finale.
"That's why we come out to play," manager Terry Collins said. "We come out to win. Losing's not fun. Losing makes it miserable to walk in the doors every morning, especially when you know you should be better."
A more productive Torres would help. He was supposed to be the Mets' leadoff man when he was acquired in an offseason deal with San Francisco. Instead, he has been relegated to the bottom of the order and only recently reclaimed the full-time centerfield job after Kirk Nieuwenhuis was sent to Triple-A.
Thursday, Torres ignited the Mets from the No. 7 spot by peppering the rightfield corner. He started with a go-ahead double in the fourth inning and solo homer to right in the sixth, both off Josh Johnson (7-8), against whom Torres is now 5-for-5 lifetime.
"It's been tough," said Torres, who is batting .242. "But you know what? I want to finish strong. Today -- I'm more that kind of hitter. I've been trying to hit the ball the other way, but to be honest, I'm not that guy."
Torres had a two-out walk in the second inning. That pushed Ike Davis to second base and gave the Mets their first opportunity with a runner in scoring position after they went 0-for-10 in those situations in Wednesday's 13-0 defeat. Josh Thole drove in the game's first run with a single to left.
"I got stronger as the day went on," Dickey said. "I swear the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, I felt better than I did for the first five."
The Mets went ahead in the bottom of the fourth with help from old pal Jose Reyes, who lost David Wright's pop-up in the sun. It hit off Reyes' shoulder for what was scored a double. (Reyes also went 0-for-4 to end his career-best hitting streak at 26 games.)
Torres pulled a double down the rightfield line two outs later to give the Mets a 2-1 lead. His second home run of the season, a liner inside the foul pole in the sixth, made it 3-1.
After Wright's RBI single off Heath Bell gave the Mets a 4-1 lead in the seventh, Torres capped his afternoon with an RBI triple off the top of the rightfield wall off Chad Gaudin in the eighth. He scored on Thole's second RBI single.
"I'm not saying [Torres] has got to give it every night," Collins said. "But if that swing's back, we're going to score a lot more runs. He's going to be hitting in a different spot in the order, I can tell ya."
Dickey received a nice ovation from the crowd of 28,985 when he batted in the eighth. The knuckleballer struck out two in the ninth, including the last batter, Greg Dobbs, on an 83-mph fastball to end the game.
Dickey tied the Angels' Jered Weaver for the major-league lead in victories and cemented his status as a top NL Cy Young contender, even though Dickey said that's not his focus.
"He's got to be up there in the top three," Collins said. "Certainly, he's got to be one of the candidates."