Jordany Valdespin's pinch-hit HR helps Mets end six-game losing streak
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MIAMI - Relief required monumental effort from every corner of the beleaguered Mets roster.
To erase the bitterness of consecutive walk-off losses, to purge the frustration of a six-game losing streak, they needed a bench bat to come up big, a bruised bullpen to hold strong, and their captain to play through the pain.
Only when all of those elements came together -- as they did in Wednesday's 7-6 victory over the Marlins -- could the Mets finally breathe.
Jordany Valdespin jump-started what had been a flatlined offense, coming off the bench in the sixth inning to bash a three-run homer, part of a rally that turned a three-run deficit into a one-run lead.
But it was Mets captain David Wright, playing through neck stiffness, who brought it all together.
"You want to try to be in there to help out," said Wright, who wore wraps that covered nearly all of his upper body after the game. "Because, obviously, we've been struggling."
He did more than simply help out. Wright hammered a towering solo homer to leftfield, doubled to start the Mets' sixth-inning rally, then made a barehanded defensive play at third base to keep the tying run from scoring in the seventh.
Two days earlier, Wright could barely turn his head, and he admitted that his neck stiffness inhibited his ability to throw. Yet, it hardly mattered Wednesday, when for a change the Mets finally took advantage of their breaks.
The Mets entered play hitting .165 during their losing streak while averaging fewer than two runs. When the sixth inning began, the Mets had scored just once on Wright's home run in the fourth off Marlins lefthander Wade LeBlanc. Meanwhile, Mets starter Dillon Gee (2-4) allowed four runs andn nine hits in five innings.
Moments later, Valdespin nearly sprinted around the bases, his index finger in the air, celebrating a three-run homer over the rightfield fence.
"I'm ready for any situation they want," said Valdespin, whose six pinch-hit homers tie him for second on the franchise's all-tine list. "Just give me the chance to get in there and do my job."
The insurance helped cover up Duda's seventh-inning error, when the Marlins cut it to 7-6 after the leftfielder let a ball bounce over his head. But the Mets prevented the Marlins from tying it, thanks in part to Wright. With one out, Wright made a barehand play on Marcell Ozuna's roller up the line, freezing the runner at third. A flyout ended the threat.
"That's why he's the captain, because he rises when you need him, he's there when you need him, he's the guy that everybody looks at to lead the way," Collins said. "Today, he did it again."