Scott Hairston continued his dominance against Cole Hamels Thursday night in the Mets' come-from-behind 6-5 win over the Phillies at Citi Field.
Hairston led off the second inning with a home run, his 12th of the season and fifth of his career against Hamels. He entered last night's game with a .385 career average against Hamels with four home runs and eight RBIs.
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"Our lack of a right-hand dominant player in the middle of our lineup is someplace that someone can make a difference, and Scott Hairston's been that guy from the get-go," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "One of the things that is pretty glaring is the number of home runs he hit last year off righties. Now he's doing it off lefties which we always knew he hit lefthanders for average. This year he's hitting lefthanders for power, which we need . . . He's brought a lot to the club, and with Jason [Bay] being out, Scott has really saved us."
Hairston, who homered against Cliff Lee on Wednesday and now has a majors-best nine homers against lefthanded pitching this season, has supplied a welcome fusion of power from the right side for the Mets, who look to address their lack of righthanded power in the trade market.
The Mets started five lefthanded hitters Thursday night against the lefthanded Hamels, including Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who returned to the starting lineup after missing two games with a right hand injury.
Nieuwenhuis was scratched from Tuesday's series opener after feeling pain during batting practice but he took full batting practice Wednesday and said he felt fine and treated it with anti-inflammatories.
"It probably sounds worse than it is but I feel good," said Nieuwenhuis, who went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Before the game, Collins emphasized the need for his lefthanded hitters to produce more against lefties. The Mets' five lefty batters went 2-for-16 with seven strikeouts against Hamels and 0-for-1 against reliever Antonio Bastardo.
"They got to hit. They got to start hitting," Collins said.
While the Mets were able to get Nieuwenhuis back, they lost Andres Torres to a back injury. Collins said he was concerned about Torres, who went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in Wednesday's 9-2 loss, going forward. "Any time it's a back, side -- yes I do [have concerns]," Collins said. "It was bothering him [Wednesday], he had some treatment on it, thought he could play with it, today he woke up worse which scares me a little bit. We'll just see how he is after the game today and tomorrow."
Should Torres go on the disabled list, Collins said the Mets will probably call up a pitcher since Nieuwenhuis has returned. "With Nieuwenhuis being able to play a lot of it will depend on if Torres is going to miss some time," Collins said. "If we have to disable Torres, obviously we may bring another bullpen guy in because we have enough position players now."