Ruben Tejada's single in 9th wins it for Mets
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Seeing David Wright's shot sail over the centerfield wall in the first inning did wonders for the Mets' psyche, given their All-Star third baseman's second-half struggles.
"When David hit that two-run homer," starting pitcher Chris Young said, "it set the tone."
Wright's shot may have jump-started the Mets' offense, but it was Ruben Tejada's ninth-inning hit that propelled them to their third consecutive win at home, the first time that's happened since mid-June. Tejada's bases-loaded, two-out single to left-centerfield lifted the Mets to a 3-2 walk-off win over the Marlins before an announced crowd of 26,923 at Citi Field Sunday.
Still, it's almost impossible to underscore the significance of what Wright's offense means to the Mets. His blast into the Party City Deck, his 19th homer, marked the ninth time this season that one of his home runs handed the Mets a lead.
After an impressive first half in which he hit .351, Wright's hitting has tailed off significantly these past three months. Sure, he's three hits shy of tying Ed Kranepool for the franchise's all-time hits mark at 1,418. But he's batting just .253 since July 1. So something as simple as drilling his second home run since Aug. 24 can certainly be seen as a positive development for Wright, whose manager wants to see him end the season on a high note.
"I think it's really important for David to finish strong. I really do," Terry Collins said. "For what he did the first 2 1/2 months of the season, I don't think you're going to see that very often. I want him to finish strong. I want him to break the hit record at home.
"But that home run he hit today? Into that wind? That wind knocked a lot of balls down today and I just think it's great for David. He's been trying to pick this team up and the first-inning homer really gave us a chance to relax and play well today."
Wright, who entered Sunday's action batting .225 this month, seemed like he was just glad to have something tangible to hang his fitted cap on after all his struggles at the plate.
"I felt like recently I've had some good at bats and not much to show for it," he said. "That's kind of the way it happens sometimes, the law of averages kicks in at some point. [Hitting] .350 is tough to keep up the entire year. I've felt good with where I've been at. As far as the at-bats I've been having, I'm disappointed in the results lately.
"I haven't been seeing exactly the results that I've wanted to. But I'm happy with the process and hopefully can finish up strong."
Same goes for his team as a whole. Wright pointed to what happened with Buck Showalter's crew down the stretch a year ago, hoping the same thing can happen with the Mets leading into 2013.
"Look at for example what the Orioles did," Wright said. "They finished strong last year and it kind of carried over into this year. It would be kind of nice to do that. There are a lot of individuals who want to do that. We as a team and an organization would like to do that."
Notes & quotes: Frank Francisco wasn't available Sunday and there's a possibility the Mets' closer has pitched for the final time this season. Collins said Francisco, who's battling elbow soreness, is going to be shut down for a few days so his injury calms down a bit. "We had him checked by the doctors," Collins said. "Structurally it's fine, but they think it might be tendinitis." Francisco doesn't sound like he's ready to call it a season, though. "I like to give it a try," he said. "It's easier that way and you have your mind clear. But I am not going to overdo it. I'm not going to try to be Superman or anything. I'm going to do whatever I can to make it feel better as soon as possible."