MILWAUKEE - Lucas Duda keeps rewarding the Mets for sticking with him.
The slugging first baseman finished off a strong road trip Sunday, crushing a two-run shot that proved to be the difference in the Mets' 2-0 win over the Brewers.
In a lineup that has mostly scuffled since the All-Star break, Duda has been a standout, hitting .286 with four homers and seven RBIs during the Mets' 10-game road swing.
"He's had a tremendous road trip," manager Terry Collins said. "You certainly can't say enough about the way he's hit the ball."
Duda has flourished since the April trade that sent Ike Davis (seven homers, 32 RBIs, .243 average) to the Pirates. The move cleared the way for Duda to settle in at first base, where he has developed into a threat in the cleanup spot.
"I'm just happy I can contribute," said Duda, who leads the team in homers (18) and RBIs (56) while hitting .260.
One day after Jonathon Niese grumbled about being given an early hook, Collins said he understood the pitcher's perspective.
"He never wants to come out," Collins said. "I love that about him. He wants to continue to pitch and he thinks he can put up zeros, and he probably will. But the point is, there's a time when you've got to get your team back in the game."
In Saturday's 5-2 loss to the Brewers, Niese gave up three runs in a rough fifth inning. In the sixth, he was pulled for a pinch hitter with two outs and the potential game-tying run at third base.
Outfielder Chris Young scorched doubles in each of his first two at-bats Sunday, giving him four in a row after doubling in his last two at-bats on Saturday. Young said he has benefited from more playing time of late. "It's allowed me to make an adjustment quicker, I believe," he said . . . Juan Lagares slid headfirst into first base in the eighth inning, prompting Collins to talk to the centerfielder about avoiding unnecessary injury risks.