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Duda hits 2 HRs, Mejia pitches Mets past Reds 4-3
Question of the Day
Duda hit a pair of two-run homers only hours after the team gave him the starting job at first base, and New York beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 Friday behind Jenrry Mejia for its first victory of the season.
“I’m just glad to play and contribute any way I can,” said the soft-spoken Duda. “It’s just one day.”
The 24-year-old Mejia (1-0), who beat out Daisuke Matsuzaka for the final spot in the rotation, struck out a career-high eight in six innings. Flashing a sharp breaking ball, he allowed one run and four hits in a steady rain and mist.
“It was a good game for us tonight. We needed it bad,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “We’re a better team than we’ve played.”
Mets left fielder Eric Young Jr. robbed Brandon Phillips of a home run, and backup catcher Anthony Recker threw out speedy pinch-runner Billy Hamilton trying to steal second for a big out in the eighth.
New York’s maligned bullpen, which compiled a 10.61 ERA during Washington’s three-game sweep to start the season, held on this time behind Valverde and fellow veteran Kyle Farnsworth, who got four outs.
The excitable Valverde worked the ninth for his first save with the Mets. He took over as closer when Bobby Parnell went on the disabled list with a partially torn ligament in his right elbow after blowing a save on opening day.
“I remember Valverde back in 2009 when he was throwing 99 mph,” Bruce said. “He came right at me tonight. I just missed the one pitch and then he finished me off with the splitter. Pretty typical Valverde.”
Mejia struck out five of his first eight batters and overcame five walks, which matched a career high. His right ankle was wrapped after the game - Phillips‘ third-inning grounder hit him just above the outside part of his foot - but he said he was fine.
Mejia pounded his glove and pointed to left field when Young robbed Phillips of a first-inning homer.
“I was just pumped up,” Young said. “It ended up being the difference in the game because it was one run, so it was huge.”
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