Cuddyer, Duda lead 'contagious' hitting for Mets
Duo combines for three homers in series finale against Phillies
NEW YORK -- Lucas Duda and Michael Cuddyer each said the same thing after finishing a sweep of the Phillies: "Hitting is contagious."
They proved that in Wednesday's series finale, a 7-0 Mets win.
Duda started it when Phillies right-hander Sean O'Sullivan grooved a fastball in the first inning. Then O'Sullivan hung a slider against Cuddyer in the third, tossed a sinker with no sink against Noah Syndergaard in the fourth and left another fastball up in the zone for Duda in the fifth.
Each pitch ended up as a home run for the Mets. It was the first time the Mets have hit four home runs in a game since Aug. 26, 2014.
"That's what offenses do," Cuddyer said. "When you go through a hot streak as an offense, everybody seems to be hitting the ball well."
The Mets have started to build their way out of a slump that lasted nearly two weeks. A return to form by their first baseman and left fielder has been at the center of that.
Wednesday was Duda's second multihomer game in six days, and he added a third-inning double for good measure. He's gone deep five times in that span and raised his average back over .300.
Cuddyer has seen his batting average climb up to .262, almost 30 points higher than it was two weeks ago. The two-time All-Star has yet to find the performance that netted him a batting title two seasons ago, but he's getting closer -- Mets manager Terry Collins said Cuddyer has been more patient at the plate and is starting to see the ball like he's used to.
"When he's swinging that bat well, he's pretty special," Duda said. "We could ride him for a week, week and a half."
Collins said the pair in the middle of the order, along with second baseman Daniel Murphy, have provided stability in an ever-shifting lineup. The Mets have four position players on the disabled list, including key offensive pieces David Wright and Travis d'Arnaud.
In the Mets' three-game sweep of the Phillies, Duda, Murphy and Cuddyer combined to bat .500, adding five home runs and 11 RBIs.
"They're in the middle of our lineup," Collins said. "And in the middle of any lineup, those are the guys that have got to get it done."
Now the task becomes to extend that production to the rest of the lineup. The Mets continue to receive little production from third base and catcher -- two positions affected by injury -- and center fielder Juan Lagares has struggled each time he's moved up in the lineup.
But the signs are there.
"It tends to [be a] snowball effect," Cuddyer said. "Mentality-wise, I think you can definitely feed off each other, no question."