Jeff Francoeur watches his game-tying three-run homer in the seventh...

Jeff Francoeur watches his game-tying three-run homer in the seventh inning against the Marlins. (June 6, 2010) Credit: Christopher Pasatieri

Jeff Francoeur can laugh about it now.

After 10 games of clutch hitting, his multitude of missed opportunities at the plate now seems like a distant memory.

It was these same Marlins who drove him to his lowest point: an 0-for-12 showing in Florida last month. But Sunday, it was the Mets rightfielder who got the last laugh.

Francoeur went 2-for-4 and crushed a three-run homer in the seventh inning to tie the score at 6 as the Mets beat the Marlins, 7-6, at Citi Field.

"It was one of those things where you saw your eyes get big and I was able to put a good swing on it," said Franceour, who has 33 RBIs. "When you're feeling good, those are the situations you want to be in."

He extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a second-inning double off Ricky Nolasco. Francoeur, who is batting .500 (18-for-36) during that span, has six RBIs in his last four games and at least one in each.

Francoeur is on pace to drive in 94 runs. But it wasn't too long ago that his struggles at the plate were glaring, if not mystifying. After he batted .457 through the first two weeks of the season and .284 through the first month, his average dropped to .211 on May 23.

Though frustrated, he didn't show it.

"He's the kind of guy who comes in and laughs and has a good time whether he get four hits or no hits," David Wright said of Francoeur, who robbed Hanley Ramirez of an extra-base hit with an athletic catch in the fifth inning. "We don't have any selfish guys in here that hang their head if we win and they don't get any hits."

Francoeur carried a .230 average into Sun Life Stadium on May 13. When he left three days later, he was hitting .214.

"When I went down there I kind of told myself, 'This is when I'm going to get going.' And I went 0-for-12 down there and sat out that Sunday game," he said, referring to the four-game series against the Marlins. "But I've been down before and I've always said, you're a week away from being where you want to be. And now it's fun. We're winning and the rest is history."

After weeks of tinkering with his mechanics and heeding the advice of manager Jerry Manuel (who told him to stop taking so much advice) and hitting coach Howard Johnson, Francoeur appears to be on the right path and is batting .268.

"He's in a good spot right now," Manuel said. "His bat is taking a good path to the ball. We just have to keep him there."

Said Francoeur: "I don't think you're going to see that dip anymore like I had last time and hopefully I can be more consistent and not go through a prolonged slump like I did. Baseball's a funny game. Two weeks ago, I couldn't hit water if I fell out of a boat, and now the baseball looks great coming in."


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