The Mets were forced to play Friday with a shorthanded bullpen and a lineup missing two of its starters. Fortunately for them, it was only an American League opponent.
Mike Pelfrey shook off his early struggles to get through six innings and David Wright delivered a pair of RBIs, including his 13th homer, as the Mets outhustled and overpowered the Twins in a 5-2 victory at Citi Field.
Pelfrey allowed six hits and two runs, including a leadoff homer to Denard Span, and needed 117 pitches for just six innings. But he rebounded from Sunday's loss for his 10th victory and helped the Mets improve to 12-4 against the AL this season. Only the White Sox have more wins (14) in interleague play.
The Mets aren't just beating up the AL patsies, either. They split the season series with the Yankees and took two of three from the Tigers. And the Twins are in first place in the AL Central, a half-game ahead of Detroit.
"I think we're playing as good as anyone," Pelfrey said. "I think our confidence is as high as anyone's. It shows that we can play with anybody."
Rodriguez allowed a one-out single to Justin Morneau, and with the count 3-and-2 to Michael Cuddyer, he suddenly stopped on the mound. Out came Jerry Manuel and trainer Ray Ramirez, but their stay was brief, and K-Rod remained in the game.
Later, Rodriguez explained that he had received an anti-inflammatory shot for his back issues before the last road trip, and the spasms bother him occasionally. He said it was "similar" to but not as severe as the debilitating spasms he suffered last year in Boston.
"I've been dealing with it for a while," Rodriguez said. "On that pitch, I tried to get extension and my back locked up on me."
Wright, who has 59 RBIs, tied the score at 1 with a one-out double in the fourth and gave the Mets a 5-2 lead in the sixth with an opposite-field homer. Wright has 22 RBIs in interleague play, tops in the majors and a Mets single-season record. He's also batting .404 (36-for-89) with 10 doubles and five homers since May 30 and has 37 RBIs in his last 36 games.
When asked if this is as good as he's seen Wright at the plate, Manuel replied: "Close. He seems pretty comfortable."
Said Wright, "I'm in a good spot right now. I feel good. Hopefully, I'll continue to go out there and get results."
With Pelfrey laboring early and his pitch count rising, the Mets rallied in the fourth to give him a 3-1 lead. Kevin Slowey (7-5) retired the first nine Mets, but Jose Reyes opened the fourth with a single and took second when Slowey's pickoff attempt sailed wide for an error. One out later, Wright hit a tying double into the leftfield corner, then scored on Ike Davis' single to center. Jason Bay piled on when he drilled a run-scoring double off the leftfield wall.
Ruben Tejada led off the fifth with a double. After Pelfrey bunted him over, Reyes lofted a short fly ball to left. Tejada bolted for the plate and got his hand under Joe Mauer's tag.