Flores busts out at dish in second Major League game
Mets third baseman logs first career hit, then breaks game open with three-run double
NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores clapped his hands as he rumbled into second base. It was a three-run double -- his first extra-base hit in the big leagues and his first RBIs -- but most importantly, on just his second day in the Majors, he had provided a potentially decisive hit for his team.
"You want to help the team," Flores said. "I helped the team today, so just keep doing it."
The eighth-inning double gave the Mets their ultimate run total in a 5-0 win over the Rockies on Wednesday night at Citi Field. A day after going 0-for-4 in his debut -- and on his birthday -- the rookie went 2-for-4 with the double and three RBIs. New York has made the third baseman its No. 6 hitter in each of his first two days in the Majors because of his apparent offensive gifts.
"We talked about his offensive ceiling, and I thought tonight he showed some much better discipline at the plate than he did last night," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Obviously, his first game in the big leagues you can understand the jitters."
Apparently, it only took until Day 2 for those jitters to subside. A day after his first Major League game, first Major League error and first Major League oh-fer, Flores looked completely comfortable all over the field.
In the first inning, a line drive to center gave him his first Major League hit. Omar Quintanilla's single two batters later drove Flores home for the rookie's first Major League run.
"That's what I was looking for last night," Flores said of his hit. "I think I was a little bit more relaxed and just tried to calm down a little bit, and it worked."
Six innings later, his double down the left-field line gave him his first Major League extra-base hit.
He admitted to perhaps being overanxious in his big league debut, chasing pitches out of the zone. On Day 2, hitting coach Dave Hudgens outlined a plan for him.
Facing Manny Corpas in the eighth inning, Flores needed to force him to pitch up in the zone. But Flores was familiar with the relief pitcher.
The two met each other in Triple-A a couple of months ago. That time, Corpas got Flores out by relying on his signature pitch: the slider. At Citi Field, Flores knew it was coming and ripped one into left field.
"He got a ball up and he hit it hard," Collins said. "But Wilmer Flores can hit. That's why we've got to find a spot for him to play."
"I kind of knew what he had, so he tried to do the same thing he did to me in Triple-A," Flores added. "I was just trying to look for a good pitch, because last night I was swinging at a lot of balls out of the strike zone, so I tried to calm down a little bit, and it worked."
In the field, Flores was flawless. Defensive struggles have been the knock against the third baseman -- ranked by MLB.com as the Mets' No. 4 prospect -- and that became immediately evident when he committed an error in his debut.
But a day later the jitters were gone. A strong day in the field complemented an even better day at the plate. He's still a work in progress, but on Wednesday he was just what New York hoped it was getting.
"I feel great," Flores said. "I couldn't be happier."