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Flores proves himself after returning to lineup

Shortstop flawless in field, scores run in first game back vs. O's
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores was back at shortstop for the Mets on Tuesday. Pigs didn't fly. The sky didn't fall. The Mets won, 3-2, and Flores added a run scored and a flawless night in the field.

"I feel good out there," said Flores, who returned to the starting lineup after sitting the final two games of last weekend's series against the Nationals. "I've said it before. Everyone needs a day off."

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NEW YORK -- Wilmer Flores was back at shortstop for the Mets on Tuesday. Pigs didn't fly. The sky didn't fall. The Mets won, 3-2, and Flores added a run scored and a flawless night in the field.

"I feel good out there," said Flores, who returned to the starting lineup after sitting the final two games of last weekend's series against the Nationals. "I've said it before. Everyone needs a day off."

Full Game Coverage

Flores got two, which manager Terry Collins insists were meant to relax his young shortstop, not punish him. Despite his productive game Tuesday, Flores still owns seven errors in 23 games, and questions continue to swirl about his expected time at the position.

Collins reaffirmed his confidence in Flores, who doubled and scored a run during the Mets' three-run fourth.

"He's got a long way to go, and he's going to be a big part of this," Collins said. "If we can get him just to relax and get him to play like we know he can, he's going to put up some big numbers offensively. He's going to be a part of the lineup. We're going to need some big hits out of that six and seven hole."

Flores is now hitting .244 in 78 at-bats, but he is tied for the team lead with three homers. His is considered to possess a potential impact bat that the Mets will desperately need to hold their first-place position. They entered play Tuesday 24th in the Majors in slugging percentage, 22nd in on-base and 21st in batting average.

They also entered mired in a team-wide mini-slump that resulted in being shut out in consecutive games.

In his first game back, Flores found himself in the middle of the Mets' first rally in more than 21 innings.

"I'm pretty sure I'm going to hit," Flores said. "There's no doubt about that. Just trying to relax and get my confidence back. I have no doubt."

Collins sat Flores the entire weekend in an attempt to "clear his head," Collins said, and inserted light-hitting, sure-gloved Ruben Tejada at short. The irony was that when the Mets lost 1-0 on Sunday, the lone run they allowed came when Tejada was unable to turn a double play.

Flores handled all three chances at shortstop on Tuesday without trouble. He knows every game from here on out will continue to be a test.

"This game, I say its 70 percent mental. Everyone has the talent, but it's how you control yourself out there."

Joe Trezza is an associate reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New York Mets, Wilmer Flores