It was a minor footnote on the occasion of the major-league debut of pitcher Steven Matz, but the infield behind him had Wilmer Flores lining up at second base for the first time all season. Get used to it.
"You better be prepared to see him there Tuesday," manager Terry Collins said, referring to the Mets' next game against the Cubs. "I wanted him to get out there for a game."
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The move has been discussed for a while with David Wright lost for an undetermined amount of time because of spinal stenosis and Daniel Murphy preparing for a likely return from a quadriceps strain Tuesday. Murphy went 1-for-3 and played five innings for Class A St. Lucie on Sunday in Tampa.
Flores had one hiccup in the field when he made a low throw that barely got an out, but Collins said shifting Murphy to third and putting Ruben Tejada at shortstop and Flores at second gives the Mets their best infield in Wright's absence.
"I said from the start, this kid played fine at shortstop," Collins said of Flores. "He made a couple of errors that cost us a couple of runs at times, but he caught the baseball. He can play second base. He showed us that last September.
"You go back and look, and we played pretty good with Wilmer Flores at second and Dan at third and Ruben at shortstop. With Dan coming back, we don't know what the time frame is with David, and we think this is going to be our best infield that we're going to run out there on a nightly basis. I thought today would be a good day for Wilmer to go play second. He looked very good and very comfortable."
The Reds' Brandon Phillips has hit safely in each of his 32 career road games against the Mets, tying a record set by Luis Castillo from Sept. 2, 2001, to Sept. 20, 2005. . . Curtis Granderson extended his hitting streak to eight games and is 14-for-31 (.452) in that span . . . The Mets' 29-11 record at Citi Field is the best start at home in team history.