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Duda Matches Franchise Record

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 Duda Matches Franchise Record

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The face of Mets baseball.

Maybe this was the confidence boost that rookie Lucas Duda and the New York Mets offense needed.

Duda, the Mets' minor league player of the year for 2010, matched a franchise record with three doubles while going 4 for 5 with four RBIs and New York had season highs for runs and hits in a 14-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday.

"You build confidence off of it, maybe knowing that you can play with these guys on a daily basis," said Duda, who hit .173 with five RBIs in his 23 games before starting Saturday at first base.

Duda had a two-run double in the third when the Mets scored three unearned runs for a 6-0 lead. He had another two-run double during New York's highest-scoring inning of the season, eight runs in the sixth.

"Anytime you start swinging good at this level, you start building confidence," manager Terry Collins said. "This guy has a chance to be a really good hitter."

Jonathon Niese (7-6) struck out seven in 5 2-3 innings before leaving the game, which was played with temperatures in the mid-90s, for precautionary reasons because of a rapid heartbeat.

Collins knew something wasn't right when he saw Niese go to the back of the mound early in the sixth.

"I was breathing heavy. I tried to step back. I just couldn't catch my breath," Niese said. "In this heat, you have to be cautious."
 

Niese, 5-2 with a 2.36 ERA his last eight starts, was checked by Rangers physician Dr. Keith Meister to make sure everything was OK.

"I'm not going to miss a start," the right-hander said.

Carlos Beltran snapped an 0-for-14 slide with three hits for the Mets, whose 17 hits matched their season high while scoring more than nine runs for the first time in 102 games -- since an 18-5 victory at the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 5.

"It was a fun day, everything was clicking for us," Duda said.

The Mets led 3-0 after four batters against Alexi Ogando (7-3), who lost his third consecutive start without making it past the fifth inning.

Jose Reyes and Willie Harris had consecutive singles to start the game before a triple by Beltran, who then scored on Daniel Murphy's sacrifice fly.

The first eight New York batters reached to start the sixth. Dave Bush allowed four consecutive singles before Michael Kirkman replaced him.

Bush was gone after Beltran's hit, the second of three consecutive RBI singles in the frame. Daniel Murphy greeted Kirkman with a hit, followed by a walk and consecutive doubles by Duda and Josh Thole.

Angel Pagan was the only Mets starter without a hit. He walked and scored in the seventh, then was robbed of extra bases leading off the eighth when Rangers center fielder Craig Gentry made a running, reaching catch in the left-center field gap that ended with him falling hard on the warning track.

Harris opened the third when he reached on an error by third baseman Adrian Beltre. Although Harris was eventually thrown out at third on a fielder's choice, when he slid about 10 feet short of the bag into Beltre's glove, the Mets scored three times on Duda's double and Thole's single.

Ogando gave up eight hits and six runs -- three earned -- while throwing 76 pitches over three innings.

"I was falling behind in the count, so I had to come over the plate," Ogando said through an interpreter. "Not doing my job these last three outings, I've have to keep working."

Before his three-game losing streak, Ogando was 7-0 with a 2.10 ERA in his first 12 starts.

Beltre and Michael Young hit consecutive homers in the fourth for Texas. Nelson Cruz hit his 18th homer in the eighth.

Beltre's 14th homer was his second in two games after a 13-game homerless streak. Young, who has an 11-game hitting streak after going 3 for 4, hit his third homer in four games after three homers his first 72 games.

And another thing, reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton tried some tinted contact lenses to help him see better in the day. He was the DH and struck out all four at-bats, the first three with the lenses. Hamilton is hitting .113 (6 for 53) with 21 strikeouts in 15 day games this season. ... Mets OF Jason Bay, with five multihit games his last nine games, got the day off to rest a stiff neck. Manager Terry Collins expects Bay back in the lineup Sunday. ... Collins said 3B David Wright, who missed his 38th game Saturday because of a lower back stress fracture, was starting to do twisting exercises at the team's spring training facility in Florida and is scheduled to start hitting the middle of next week. ... INF Justin Turner was out of the Mets' lineup with a jammed thumb. Beltre and Young gave the Rangers their fourth set of back-to-back homers this season.
    

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