Duda's walk-off hit caps Mets' comeback

New York Mets' Willie Harris, right, hits teammate New York Mets' Willie Harris, right, hits teammate Lucas Duda in the face with a towel of shaving cream after Duda drove in the winning run in against the San Diego Padres. (Aug. 8, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

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It seemed the offense had given Mike Pelfrey everything he would need.

A leadoff home run by Angel Pagan in the first, a solo shot by Jason Bay in the second and a two-run blast by David Wright in the third propelled Mets fans out of their seats. But in the end, it was Lucas Duda -- a quiet guy who doesn't like much fanfare -- who saved the day.

Duda's two-run single to centerfield capped a three-run ninth inning and was the difference in the Mets' unlikely 9-8 win over San Diego Monday night at Citi Field. He wound up with three of the Mets' 12 hits, and thanks to Duda's first career walk-off hit, the Mets (57-57) are at .500 again.

The 6-4, 255-pound Duda was mobbed and later was treated to a pie in the face by Willie Harris. "That was awesome," Duda said. "Everybody screaming, running at me. I was just trying to stay safe. Use my height and weight in that situation."

Jason Isringhausen (3-2), who pitched a scoreless ninth, got the win as the Mets rallied from an 8-4 deficit after 71/2 innings after taking an early 4-1 lead.

With the Mets trailing 8-6, pinch hitter Jason Pridie led off the ninth with a single and reached second on a wild pitch as Heath Bell (2-4) struck out Pagan. Singles by Justin Turner and Wright made it 8-7, and another wild pitch put runners at second and third.

Duda then connected with a 96-mph sinker for a single to center. After Turner scored the tying run, Wright barreled toward the plate and made a diving slide across home and into umpire Marty Foster's knee for the winning run. "I'm getting too old to be doing that stuff," he joked.

Bay playfully likened Duda to a turtle coming out of his shell. "If you can get him to talk, let me know," Wright joked. Both agree he has the potential to be a stud in the majors. Said Wright, "You root for those kind of guys."

Newly acquired outfielder Mike Baxter sparked the comeback against his former team. After the Padres put up four runs in the eighth for an 8-4 lead, Baxter pinch hit an RBI double just out of the reach of leftfielder Kyle Blanks to pull the Mets within three. Ronny Paulino's sacrifice fly made it 8-6.

"We're not conceding anything," Wright said. "There's a lot of games left, and crazier things have happened."

Notes & quotes: Bay hit the 200th homer of his career. He is one of three Canadians, along with Matt Stairs (265) and Larry Walker (383), to reach the plateau . . . It was the first time the Mets have homered in each of the first three innings since June 25, 2008 . . . Johan Santana is expected to play catch this week as he tries to build up strength in his left shoulder. It is unclear when he will make his next rehab start. "I think at the end of the homestand [Thursday], we'll have an idea where his shoulder is," Sandy Alderson said. "Then we'll reset the rehab clock." . . . Ike Davis is scheduled to see a foot specialist in North Carolina Tuesdayfor a second opinion on the bone bruise and cartilage damage in his left ankle. Davis, who will be re-evaluated in a month, has decided to wait on microfracture surgery, but his doctor might recommend a lesser procedure, such as removal of the cartilage fragments, if it would help the bruising to heal.

With David Lennon

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