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Slumping Davis comes through for Mets

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- With the bases loaded, the score tied, the New York Mets in desperate need of a win and the horrifically slumping Ike Davis stepping to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning Sunday night, Mets manager Terry Collins found religion.

"I said, 'If there's anybody watching that's a baseball God, this kid needs to get a base hit,'" Collins said.

The baseball God -- and Davis -- delivered.

Davis ended a bunch of negative streaks for the Mets by lacing a two-run single that lifted New York to a 4-2 win over the Atlanta Braves in front of 27,296 at Citi Field.

Davis' second hit of the night equaled the number of hits he had in his previous 44 at-bats entering Sunday. The eighth-inning single snapped an 0-for-26 skid with runners in scoring position and gave him more RBI in a single at-bat than he had in his previous 23 games combined (one).

The win ended a five-game overall losing streak as well as an eight-game home losing streak for the Mets (18-29), who host the cross-town Yankees on Monday and Tuesday night before heading to the Bronx for the final two games of this year's "Subway Series."

"We needed this game bad going into the next four days," Collins said. "The way things have gone, this is huge for us, And for (Davis to) get the big hit is (big)."

Nobody needed a boost more than Davis, who appeared to be on the verge of a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas for weeks. However, after bottoming out earlier in the week -- Davis made two fielding miscues during a series against the Reds and struck out four times on just 16 pitches during Friday night's suspended game against the Braves -- Davis said he made a renewed commitment Sunday to try to have fun again.

"It's not going to help me perform better by being miserable and not having fun," Davis said. "So the new thought process now is to have fun."

Davis grinned.

"Today was fun," he said. "One-for-one on the new approach of having fun."

Davis was actually beginning to stir before his big hit Sunday night. He had a hit in the 10th inning once Friday's game resumed Saturday night, struck out as a pinch hitter later Saturday and went 2-for-3 with a walk Sunday.

It's not much, but it's something.

"I just felt like finally I did something productive," Davis said, "That's the best feeling, especially in the later innings when we're losing like we have been. It just definitely feels great.

"I'll probably soak this one in for a couple more hours," Davis said as he gazed at a wall clock in the Mets' locker room. "A (few) more smiles and then wake up tomorrow (and) try to be happy again."

The Mets collected four hits in the eighth off the Braves' Cory Gearrin (1-1). Davis' hit made a winner out of LaTroy Hawkins (1-0), who threw a scoreless eighth.

"I don't think there's anybody in here that's down on Ike," said Mets starter Shaun Marcum, who struck out a career-high 12 in seven innings but was in line for the loss before the three-run eighth. "Everybody's pulling hard for him. Great guy, great teammate. It was awful nice for him to get that hit for us."

Pinch hitter Justin Turner led off the eighth with a single. After David Wright struck out, Lucas Duda hit a ground-rule double -- his third hit of the night -- to send Turner to third.

John Buck singled on Gearrin's next pitch to bring home Turner with the tying run. Pinch hitter Mike Baxter was hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Davis hit a 2-1 pitch from Gearrin past diving first baseman Freddie Freeman to score Duda and Buck.

"You've got to tip your hat a little bit to those guys," Gearrin said. "They put the bat on the ball and made something happen."

Bobby Parnell earned his seventh save with a perfect ninth inning.

Duda went 3-for-4 with a fourth-inning homer, extending his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games.

Dan Uggla hit a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning for the Braves, who saw their eight-game losing streak snapped. Andrelton Simmons went 2-for-4 for Atlanta.

Uggla's homer spoiled a gem by Marcum, who allowed just the two runs on four hits and walked none. Of his dozen strikeouts, six were looking.

Marcum had allowed just two hits -- both by Simmons -- before Justin Upton legged out an infield hit leading off the seventh. Upton stole second as Freeman struck out, and Uggla followed by crushing a 2-1 pitch into the second deck in left field.

Atlanta starter Julio Teheran overcame some early command troubles to last 6 2/3 innings. Teheran allowed one run on five hits and three walks -- all three walks were issued within the first 10 batters of the game -- while striking out five.

NOTES: Wright lost a stolen base in the first inning when Duda was called for batter's interference. Wright had to go back to first, and Duda struck out to end the inning. ... Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said before the game that RHP Zack Wheeler, the team's top prospect, likely will be limited to 180-185 innings this year. Wheeler has thrown 49 1/3 innings at Las Vegas thus far. ... The Braves head to Toronto for two games against the Blue Jays on Monday and Tuesday before returning home to host Toronto on Wednesday and Thursday. ... Atlanta has played just 20 games at home, the fewest in the majors, but will play 19 of its next 28 games at Turner Field.
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