PHILADELPHIA -- As consolation prizes go, seeing Ike Davis take Cole Hamels deep in the first inning of Sunday's 8-2 loss to the Phillies was a fairly decent one for the Mets. Davis tried to downplay the significance of his first homer this season, but for the struggling cleanup hitter, who had only two singles previously, it had to be viewed as an important step.
"I'm just glad I hit the ball on the barrel and it didn't get caught," Davis said. "It felt good. I haven't hit a ball like that all year, so it's a start, for sure."
It was his first home run since last May 6. A fourth-inning single gave Davis his first multihit game since May 9 at Coors Field, the day before his season-ending ankle injury.
"He's going to hit homers," Terry Collins said. "The best was it was against a lefty, because they've been eating him up pretty good right now."
Davis began the season hitless in his first 18 at-bats, one short of Todd Pratt's team record for position players, and he entered Sunday at .071 (2-for-28).
There did seem to be a few positive signs. One was Davis' base hit Saturday with a runner in scoring position, a well-struck grounder through the right side. Though it failed to produce an RBI, it did generate some hope.
"He was pretty excited," Collins said before Sunday's game. "I just told him be patient, just continue to get some good balls to hit and start using the field a little bit more, because Ike Davis can hit the ball out of any part of any park."
His words were prophetic. Hamels began the game by whiffing Ruben Tejada and Daniel Murphy on seven pitches. But David Wright disturbed Hamels' rhythm with a single, and Davis launched the next pitch.
Hamels made few mistakes, but leaving an 89-mph cut fastball up to Davis ended up being his worst. Davis showed his tape-measure power is still there with a drive about 20 rows deep in the rightfield bleachers.
"This game will humble you at some time," Collins said Sunday morning. "How you're going to get out of it determines the kind of success you're going to have. If you can fight through it and get out of it in a hurry, you're going to be OK.
"Last year at this time, [Ike] was red-hot. This year he's not. I also believe truthfully those last four months he didn't play, we're seeing the results of it right now. I think he'll get it going and hopefully, he gets it going soon."
Davis granted Collins' wish, the parting gift on a weekend the Mets came painfully close to a sweep of their bitter rival.