ST. LOUIS - The celebration at home plate was reserved considering his lean times of late. But David Wright has been here before. And even though it had been quite a while, he acted like it.
When the slumping Mets slugger bashed a solo shot in the fourth against the Cardinals last night, he nonchalantly high-fived Bobby Abreu as if he had homered in his previous turn at-bat. In fact, it had been 71 at-bats since he'd made that trip around the bases.
The power drought has been part of what has been one of the longest cold stretches of Wright's career.
Wright, 31, entered the game mired in a 3-for-44 slump. Since taking an 0-for-2 against the Cubs on June 3, the seven-time all-star has watched his average nosedive from .294 to .262.
"I haven't seen this since I've been here, where he's gone through this type of a slump," Mets manager Terry Collins said Tuesday night before Wright showed a flash of life. After the homer in the fourth, Wright followed with a double into the gap in the sixth.
It was his first two-hit game since June 2 and his first with two extra-base hits since May 24. They came after Wright groused about his lack of results.
Frustration coated his words following Monday's 1-for-4 performance. Though he singled in his final trip to the plate, Wright lamented a third-inning strikeout, which he cited as an example of when "I just haven't felt comfortable in there."
"I've had some good at-bats, I've had some bad at-bats," he said. "I've hit some balls hard right at people."
Though Wright has endured slumps before, he admitted that this one has dragged on.
"You go through these types of things," Wright said. "Granted, it's lasted a little longer than I would have liked to."
Collins implored Wright to quit pressing, a habit he's fallen into in the past when the Mets have been scuffling. His desire to put the struggling team on his back has been both a virtue and a curse.
"I just told him today, 'you've got to let it happen,' " Collins said. "You can't push it too much."
With Collins juggling his lineup to spark more offense, the manager dismissed the notion of moving Wright out of the third spot. Nor did he seem eager to have Wright make any major changes to his approach, save for exercising more discipline.
"He's still a threat," Collins said. "He's still the guy in the lineup that everybody points to, to be careful of. What we've got to get him to do is understand that he's got to be more selective at the plate because they're going to try to pitch around him right now."
Certainly, one powerful swing hardly qualifies as the end of a slump. But it offered at least a glimmer of hope that he has followed Collins' advice. The homer -- his fifth of the season and his first on the road -- came on a mistake pitch by the Cardinals' Michael Wacha.
The righthander missed over the plate with a hanging curveball. Wright pounced, extending through the ball, which soared 398 feet before landing a dozen rows up the leftfield stands.
The home run evened the score in the fourth after the Mets fell behind 1-0 on Yadier Molina's solo shot in the second.
Perhaps most encouraging, rather than forcing the issues, Wright was rewarded for capitalizing on a miscue.
"Because of who he is, everybody's worried about him," Collins said. "I'm not that worried about him."