When the Mets traded away Ike Davis in favor of Lucas Duda, one of the reasons was because of his defense. Over time, and after two failed experiments in the outfield, the Mets believed that Duda would thrive at first base.
"I told everybody this guy could play first base," manager Terry Collins said. "We knew that."
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In Monday night's 9-7 win over the Yankees, the Mets caught a glimpse of that potential.
Duda's broken-bat RBI single in the eighth inning tied the score at 7, the first step in securing a wild comeback victory. But it was in the field that Duda made his biggest contribution. He started a pair of critical double plays, including the one that clinched the victory in the bottom of the ninth.
Said Collins: "When you see two in a night, that's really something."
With one out, runners at the corners and the Yankees threatening a walk-off win against Kyle Farnsworth, Brian McCann hit a hot smash to first base. Duda dived to his right and snagged it before throwing a strike to second, where third baseman David Wright was covering the bag on the overshift.
Wright's return throw came back to Duda, who raised his left hand to celebrate the final out of the game.
"Yeah, it was just kind of instinct I guess," Duda said. "But David made a nice turn."
In the eighth, Duda stifled another rally, starting a 3-6-3 double play on Kelly Johnson's grounder to first.
"I'm just glad we won the game," Duda said. "It's just kind of a relief the game is over."
Notes & quotes: General manager Sandy Alderson said that despite some rumblings to the contrary, Collins' job is safe . . . Getting the start ahead of Juan Lagares, Eric Young Jr. singled, doubled and homered.