LOS ANGELES - Mets slugger Lucas Duda grew up less than an hour away from Dodger Stadium, and he played collegiate baseball just across town at Southern California.
The familiar surroundings suited Duda well during a career day Sunday, when the Mets cruised to an 11-3 win over the Dodgers. Duda went 3-for-5 with two home runs and a career-high five RBIs.
The first of his two homers, a mammoth three-run shot that landed in the back rows of the rightfield pavilion, powered the Mets' five-run third inning.
"I got a few pitches up that I could handle and I put the barrel on them," Duda said.
Duda hit a solo homer in the ninth, extending his club lead in homers (26) and RBIs (76). During what Mets captain David Wright called a "ridiculous second half," Duda is hitting .268 with 12 homers.
Duda has hit five home runs in his last six games. He has 11 RBIs during that stretch.
"He's just turning into a real run producer," second baseman Daniel Murphy said.
Duda's surge has come as other bats in the Mets lineup have dragged. Wright is mired in a seasonlong slump and free-agent signing Curtis Granderson has endured long dry spells.
Manager Terry Collins said Duda has benefited from playing every day, even against tough lefthanded pitching, which he didn't face earlier in the season. Said Collins: "He certainly is a big force for us in the lineup."
Tejada chips in
Ruben Tejada has lost his starting job to Wilmer Flores. But Tejada made the most of his start Sunday.
In the first inning, Tejada made a diving play to his left, robbing Yasiel Puig of a sure hit. Later, Tejada added a two-run shot, his first homer since June 4. He had gone 163 at-bats without a home run.
"He had a lot of reasons to be down but he's not," Collins said. "He's gotten himself ready to play."