Juan Lagares gets his first big-league homer and it's a throwback

Juan Lagares hits a two-run home run in

Juan Lagares hits a two-run home run in the seventh inning to tie the game against the Chicago Cubs at 3-3. (May 19, 2013) (Credit: AP)

CHICAGO - Juan Lagares will get to keep an important souvenir, thanks to an old Wrigley Field tradition.

Lagares hit a tying two-run homer in the seventh inning in the Mets' 4-3 win over the Cubs on Sunday. The drive landed a few rows short of clearing the leftfield bleachers. And as Cubs fans have done for years with opposing players, someone in the bleachers threw the ball back onto the field.

A quick-thinking Daniel Murphy called across to the Cubs' dugout to request that the ball be sent to the Mets' dugout.

"I'm just thinking be aggressive and stay with my plan," said Lagares, who homered on a two-strike pitch by the Cubs' Travis Wood. "He threw me a changeup right in the middle."

Lagares began the day hitting .139 but finished 2-for-3 with a double and a homer.

Rice grinding

Lefty reliever Scott Rice won't complain about his workload. After all, he languished 14 years in the minors before finally getting his first shot at the big leagues with the Mets.

But manager Terry Collins acknowledged that Rice's load is "going to be" an issue if the Mets can't find another reliable option against lefties.

In his major league-leading 25th appearance, Rice tossed two scoreless innings to pick up the win against the Cubs.

Rice, who lowered his ERA to 3.05, is on pace for 99 appearances. That would surpass Pedro Feliciano's franchise mark of 92 games in 2010 and rank second all-time to Mike Marshall's 106 appearances for the Dodgers in 1974.

On the farm

Pitching prospect Rafael Montero has been summoned to Triple-A Las Vegas to make a spot start, general manager Sandy Alderson said, though the righthander is expected to be sent back to Double-A Binghamton. Montero, 22, is 4-3 with a 3.47 ERA with Binghamton.

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