Intrigue never strays too far from Citi Field. Even with simple matters, such as choosing a starting first baseman, very little around here is written in black and white.
Ike Davis reminded the Mets of this with one opportunistic swing Saturday afternoon against the Reds.
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In the books, it went down as a wild 6-3 win on a blustery day, capped by Davis' walk-off grand slam against J.J. Hoover.
But really, it was a victory for chaos, just two days after the Mets attempted to restore order.
Lucas Duda homered twice on Friday night, his first game since Terry Collins named him the starter at first base. But he will watch from the bench Sunday when Davis starts at first.
Collins insisted it was part of the plan all along to get Davis a start this weekend. But the timing only illustrates what has devolved into an odd situation for the Mets, who explored trading both in the offseason.
"I've got to be ready for those big at-bats, and hopefully I can take advantage of them," Davis said, a reference to his role on the bench.
For eight innings, Davis watched the strange sequence of events that ultimately led him back to the spotlight.
Mets starter Dillon Gee (three runs in 71/3 innings) and Reds counterpart Johnny Cueto (two runs in seven innings) staged a pitchers' duel.
Ryan Ludwick homered in the fifth inning to give the Reds a 1-0 lead and Curtis Granderson answered with a two-run shot in the sixth -- his first homer as a Met. But the Reds reclaimed the lead when Brandon Phillips hit a two-run homer in the eighth.
However, on a day for long odds, strange breaks and making the most of second chances, the Mets wound up with the final word. After starting the season 0-3, they enter Sunday's series finale against the Reds on the brink of completing a sweep.
"That speaks volumes for what we've got in here, the kind of guys we have in here," Gee said. "We're confident in what we've got and we know that we're going to win a lot more games."
The Mets needed help, and they got some when Hoover walked Juan Lagares to begin the ninth. He was called out at second base while trying to advance on Anthony Recker's sacrifice bunt, but the Mets got another break when baseball's newly expanded video review system kept the rally going. The review -- which took 2 minutes, 14 seconds -- showed that Lagares had beaten the throw.
When Ruben Tejada followed with a walk, the Mets found themselves with the bases loaded and nobody out. The stage was set for Davis, who pinch hit for pitcher Carlos Torres.
Collins had wondered how Davis would react to the new role. He didn't have to wait long to find out.
About the fifth inning, Davis began running in the tunnel behind the Mets' dugout, just to stay loose. In the seventh and eighth, he started hitting balls in the batting tunnel, just to be ready if needed.
In the ninth, he jumped into a pile of his waiting teammates after his slam, then rubbed whipped cream from his eyes (courtesy of pie-wielding pitcher Jonathon Niese).
"It's just different, a different role," said Davis, who smashed a hanging curveball off the facade of the upper deck in rightfield. "There's only so many starters in the major leagues and there's a whole lot of bench players that are here to do a job, too. So I've just got to take it in stride and try to help the team win from the bench."