The Mets called up promising prospect Dilson Herrera to infuse the languishing offense with some energy. But in his first four games, he collected just one hit.
Asked Wednesday night whether he had detected any major changes with Herrera, Mets manager Terry Collins paused and said, "not really."
Yet something seemed to click during the Mets' 5-1 victory over the Orioles.
"It felt pretty good to be able to contribute," Herrera said through a translator, after going 3-for-3 while tying a career-high with three RBIs.
The Mets' struggling offense entered play mired in the bottom third of the National League in both home runs (17) and OPS (.656). But the Mets broke from the script against the Orioles thanks to homers by Curtis Granderson and Herrera, whose two-run blast gave the Mets a comfortable cushion.
The two combined to knock in all five of the Mets' runs.
"I knew I made good contact," Herrera said. "I know I hit it well. The pitch was a little bit inside. I didn't know the ball was going to be out."
The offensive outburst came at an opportune time as Jacob deGrom righted himself following two rough outings. The Mets righthander upped his record to 3-3 by holding the Orioles to just one run and six hits in seven strong innings.
DeGrom struck out nine and walked only one, all after posting a 7.84 ERA in his previous two outings.
"We played a good game tonight, all the way around," said deGrom, who was buoyed by a first-inning double play after Alejandro De Aza reached on a wild pitch despite striking out.
In the fifth, deGrom enjoyed his greatest escape. The Orioles had already scored a run on Jimmy Paredes' RBI single when a walk to Adam Jones loaded the bases.
With the dangerous slugger Chris Davis at the plate, deGrom fell behind in the count 3-and-1. But the righthander battled back, eventually striking out Davis on a slider.
As Davis tossed his bat and helmet aside in disgust, deGrom hopped off the pitcher's mound. He had survived the most harrowing moment of his outing.
The Mets took consecutive games for the first time since April 22-23 -- the final two victories of the 11-game winning streak. Before a crowd of 21,667, the Mets (18-10) improved to 13-3 at Citi Field and salvaged a split in their six-game homestand.
Herrera gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the second when he sneaked a grounder through the middle of the infield to score Michael Cuddyer. But his best work came in the sixth, when he bashed a Brad Brach two-seamer to give the Mets a four-run cushion.
Umpires initially ruled it a double. But Collins successfully challenged the call. A 33-second review showed that Herrera's drive had indeed struck the railing behind the fence, giving him his first big-league homer since Sept. 20, 2014.
Herrera, who at 21 is the youngest position player in the big leagues, was hitting .077 at the start of the night. By the end of it, he was hitting .250.
"You can't figure everybody out, you really can't," Collins said. "That's why when they get up here, you've got to play them to see what's going to happen, to let them figure out some stuff on their own."