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Hot-hitting Reyes showing surprising power

Veteran passes Strawberry for second place on Mets' all-time extra-base-hit list
MLB.com

ATLANTA -- Jose Reyes has been a consistent force in the Mets' lineup for 11 seasons. He has always been known as one of baseball's most dynamic leadoff hitters, but this season, he has taken a different approach.

Reyes has started to use his power to drive the ball more into the gaps. He is taking advantage of mistake pitches and has started to heat up in his last 14 games, hitting .296 with six extra-base hits, including four home runs, over that span. He also has driven in 13 runs while posting a .574 slugging percentage.

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ATLANTA -- Jose Reyes has been a consistent force in the Mets' lineup for 11 seasons. He has always been known as one of baseball's most dynamic leadoff hitters, but this season, he has taken a different approach.

Reyes has started to use his power to drive the ball more into the gaps. He is taking advantage of mistake pitches and has started to heat up in his last 14 games, hitting .296 with six extra-base hits, including four home runs, over that span. He also has driven in 13 runs while posting a .574 slugging percentage.

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"I am going up there looking for my pitch," Reyes said. "When I get a good pitch, I am putting a good swing on the ball. The good thing is that I have been taking walks to help me see the ball really good."

On Sunday against the Braves, Reyes continued his hot streak with a RBI triple in the first inning to help the Mets ride to a 5-1 victory at SunTrust Park. He finished 1-for-4 and moved past Darryl Strawberry into second place on the club's all-time extra-base-hit list, with 470.

"It feels good, but I got one job to do here and it's to continue to play baseball and continue to put this team in a position to win every night," Reyes said. "It is always good when you break a record, especially one of Darryl Strawberry's, as he is a legend with this ball club."

Reyes has added protection to his teammates in the lineup. He has been able to set up opportunities for guys like left fielder Brandon Nimmo and first baseman Dominic Smith to drive in runs. Nimmo said Reyes has been influential in helping him adjust each game.

"Having a guy like that, with 14 years' Major League experience, is huge," Nimmo said. "That guy is going to get on base a lot and play the game hard. To have a guy in front of you that lets you see some pitches, and to get into the rhythm of the game is great. He is really an asset to have hitting in front of you."

This season, Reyes has 26 hits with runners in scoring position. He has also driven in 37 runs and taken 14 walks with runners on base. His ability to move the lineup forward has stuck out to Mets manager Terry Collins.

Collins is appreciative of Reyes and praised his ability to find ways to help the team win.

"[Reyes] is an exceptional player and his foot speed helps," Collins said. "He is a guy that can hit a single and turn it into a double. He has had a great career here and I am extremely happy that he is back on the club. He brings energy and competitiveness that you need every day."

Reyes said he doesn't mind where he hits in the lineup -- he just wants to do his best to put the team in a good position moving forward.

"Today was the first time I hit second in a little while," Reyes said. "It is fine with me, as I want to get on base, do my job and try to make something happen."

Jaylon Thompson is a reporter for MLB.com based in Atlanta who covered the Mets on Sunday.

New York Mets, Jose Reyes