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Lucas Duda might be breaking out of his slump

Lucas Duda of the New York Mets celebrates

Lucas Duda of the New York Mets celebrates after defeating the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citi Field on July 11, 2015. Credit: Getty Images / Mike Stobe

The frustration lingers for Lucas Duda, even though his fortunes are trending upward.

For the second time in as many games, the Mets' first baseman hit a home run, this time with a shot to left-centerfield leading off the bottom of the fifth. It was the team's second hit to that point.

Duda is hitting .139 (11-for-79) with 31 strikeouts in his last 22 games since June 17. He said he has been "frustrated, but not lacking confidence."

"To be honest with you, I'm just happy to hit the ball right now," he said. "I'll take whatever I can get.

"It's one of those things. It happens. It's baseball. I've got to pull myself out and stop talking to you guys [the media]."

Duda's homer proved to be a trendsetter Saturday. Four batters later, pitcher Matt Harvey hit his first major-league home run, a two-run blast to left-center. Ruben Tejada added a solo shot in the sixth en route to a 4-2 Mets victory over the Diamondbacks at Citi Field.

For Duda, his last two games (2-for-6 with two homers and four RBIs) are too small a sample size and not yet cause for celebration. Asked about his recent success, he gave a surprising answer: it means "nothing."

Throughout the slump, manager Terry Collins repeatedly vocalized his belief in Duda. He has said the team will do well when Duda breaks out of his hitting funk. Saturday's production was a small bit of vindication.

"That's what he should do, that's what he should be," Collins said. "We've said it from the beginning, this guy's got power to all fields. There's no park in either league that should hold this guy."

Harvey is a believer. "Any time he gets hot and he gets into his home run rhythm, he sparks the offense,'' he said. "To go in that situation [trailing 2-0] and get a run, I think everybody loosened up a little bit and knew that if we keep fighting, keep battling, we were going to score some runs."

Collins acknowledged that it's easy for players to get down on themselves during long slumps. He came to the defense of Duda again.

"Don't think for one second that these guys -- just because they're professionals, they're getting paid -- that they don't take things seriously," he said. "This is their job and they take great pride in being successful and when things aren't going good, they get angry and frustrated like anybody else does.

"You try to keep them level- headed, but that's easy to say and hard to do. Especially when you're a piece like Luke. You guys have seen him. He's a stinkin' working fool, he's not ever going to stop working. Lucas is trying and it's starting to pay off."


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