NEW YORK (AP)—David Wright made his new manager look like a master tactician.
Forced to take a night off Tuesday for the first time this season by Jerry Manuel, Wright proved the move smart with one quick swing Wednesday—and then another.
“Just trying to freshen him up,” Manuel said. “I think I have to be cognizant of when he’s getting fatigued. If we’re to get a good year out of David and he’s to be somewhat fresh down the stretch, we have to sit him a day here and there to relax.”
Wright might not have agreed with the decision but he homered in his first two at-bats, helping John Maine and the New York Mets rebound from two lackluster losses to the lowly Seattle Mariners with an 8-2 victory.
“The bat feels a little lighter,” Wright said after his second multihomer game this season and 11th of his career, adding he knows he’ll probably have to sit again this season.
“I don’t have any say with Jerry,” he said. “He tells me when I’m going to have a day off. It’s not debatable.”
Jose Reyes added a three-run homer and Maine didn’t allow a hit until Jeremy Reed singled leading off the fifth inning. The Mets took advantage of five early walks by Miguel Batista and won the finale of a three-game set between underachieving $100 million teams with interim managers even though they were outhit 6-5.
New York scored just two runs in the first game of the series and lost 11-0 in the second.
The win comes at a crucial period for the Mets, who start a rigorous, 12-game stretch Friday with a two-stadium doubleheader against the Yankees. The first game, at Yankee Stadium, is a makeup of a rainout May 16. After hosting the Yankees, the Mets face St. Louis and NL East-leading Philadelphia on the road.
“This is going to be a big week for us,” Wright said. “We’re fortunate to have played as mediocre as we have but are this close to the top. … We can solidify ourselves as a contender over the next two weeks.”
The Mets trailed the Phillies by four games entering Wednesday.
New York improved to 4-4 under Manuel, who promised to make changes to the lineup after the drubbing Tuesday—but there were no major adjustments Wednesday. He did have the team on the field early for defensive drills and Wright looked loose, playfully adjusting Manuel’s hat on his head while the manager talked to him and Reyes at deep shortstop.
“That’s what Jerry’s about,” Wright said after the Mets gave Manuel his first home win. “He likes to have fun.”
It carried over into the first inning as Wright homered for the first time since June 10, a span of 50 at-bats. He then hit a two-run shot for his 14th of the season off Batista (3-10) in the second, just yards from the spot in the left-field bleachers where his first one landed.
“He just wasn’t really throwing strikes. He was throwing a lot of pitches and bouncing a lot of them,” Mariners manager Jim Riggleman said. “Maybe his moving back and forth from the bullpen has affected him. I don’t know. He just didn’t have it tonight.”
Maine (8-5) breezed into the fifth, issuing a walk to Willie Bloomquist in the third for his only base runner. But Reed and Richie Sexson singled to start the fifth and Bloomquist hit an RBI single. Ichiro Suzuki had a sacrifice fly to make it 8-2.
Maine gave up two runs and five hits in six innings overall.
“I felt mechanically I was OK today,” Maine said. “My whole problem is I get mechanically out of whack. It’s something I’ve got to work on between starts.”
Reyes led off the first with a walk, stole his 27th base and advanced on a wild pitch before scoring on Luis Castillo’s groundout ahead of Wright’s solo homer.
The Mets scored four runs off Batista in the third on one hit, Reyes’ three-run homer. All four runs were unearned thanks to third baseman Adrian Beltre’s throwing error to second base that allowed Carlos Delgado, who was hit by a pitch, to advance to third. He scored on Marlon Anderson’s sacrifice fly. Reyes homered after a walk and an out.
Riggleman removed Batista in the third rather than let him face Wright again. Batista was making his first start since June 7—he had made four relief appearances. He walked five, the fourth time this season he reached that number, and gave up eight runs—four earned—in 2 1-3 innings.
“Once I got loose it was OK, and I had a great warmup. I go out there in the first inning and my back is bothering me again,” Batista said. “I’m supposed to be helping this team to win, but it’s embarrassing. I need to be able to pitch the way I know I can.”
The Mets claimed INF Andy Phillips off waivers from Cincinnati, four days after the Reds designated him for assignment. Phillips was hitting .143 (3-for-21) with four RBIs for the Reds. He’ll join the team Friday. After the game, the Mets optioned C Robinson Cancel to Triple-A New Orleans. … Mets RF Ryan Church, out with a concussion since June 6, will make his first rehab start Thursday for Class-A Brooklyn. … Suzuki was 2-for-10 in the series. … Seattle’s Erik Bedard, scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday after leaving Friday’s outing with back spasms, had a bullpen session. Riggleman said he expects the left-hander to start Sunday, giving Felix Hernandez an extra day of rest. Hernandez hurt his ankle Monday on a play at the plate.