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Unlikely offensive sources help Mets split with D-backs

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Getting run-scoring hits from a pitcher who began the year in the minors, a 40-year-old outfielder who didn't play in the majors in 2013 and a pinch-hitting shortstop with a sub-.200 average isn't how the New York Mets imagined they would be winning games on Memorial Day weekend.

However, desperate last-place teams can't be picky, so nobody on the Mets was complaining Sunday night about the fashion with which they beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 in the nightcap of a doubleheader at Citi Field.

The win salvaged a split for the Mets and ensured they would not be swept in the three-game series in which the teams combined for just 14 runs (seven apiece).

Arizona won Sunday's opener, 2-1, when center fielder A.J. Pollock scored the decisive run on a two-out, ninth-inning error by Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy

"We wish we could have and would have won at least one or both the other games," said Mets catcher Anthony Recker, who had a career-high four hits while batting in the eighth spot. "With one, you feel a little bit cheated, but at least you got the last one."

Sunday's second game was tied 2-2 in the sixth when Recker -- who entered the evening with six hits in 35 at-bats this month -- hit a leadoff double off Diamondbacks right-hander Zeke Spruill.

Recker scored six pitches later on a single to left by pinch hitter Ruben Tejada, who is in the midst of a 6-for-42 slump that cost him his starting job.

The Mets, who moved into a tie for fourth place in the NL East, improved to 8-24 when scoring four runs or fewer. The win snapped a 14-game losing streak in such contests dating back to May 1.

"We realize we're not hitting, we're not scoring runs and we're not driving in runs," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "When you can win a game and you get a big hit -- Ruben got a tremendously big hit for us -- it's a lift. Anytime it's a lift."

The Mets came back from a 2-0 deficit via right-handed pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka's RBI single in the second and right fielder Bobby Abreu's RBI double in the fifth. Matsuzaka and Abreu began the season as teammates at Triple-A Las Vegas.

Abreu had the lone RBI and two of the three hits collected by the Mets' Nos. 4-5-6 hitters in 21 at-bats Sunday.

"It helps anytime any part of the order's getting a bunch of knocks," Recker said. "Just glad we were able to get them down there in the bottom of the order."

Matsuzaka also impressed on the mound in his first start of the year. The 33-year-old veteran, who entered the game with a 2.14 ERA and one save in 14 relief appearances, improved to 2-0. He allowed two runs -- both of which scored in the second -- on three hits and one walk while striking out six.

"I wanted to go in and pitch as deep into the game as I could today," Matsuzaka said. "That was the least I could have done, and I'm glad I was able to help out the team."

Four Mets relievers combined to allow two hits over the final three innings. Right-hander Jenrry Mejia, who took the loss in the opener, earned his third save by working around a two-out single in the ninth.

The Diamondbacks (20-32) were aiming for their first series sweep of the season. Arizona has scored just 11 runs in its past five games.

"We're not swinging the bats well at all," Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. "The pitching was pretty decent. You can't expect to win every game 2-1."

Diamondbacks third baseman Martin Prado had an RBI triple in the second and scored on left fielder Cody Ross' grounder to short. Shortstop Chris Owings, who homered in the opener, was the only Arizona player with a hit in both games.

Spruill, who was promoted from Triple-A Reno to serve as the 26th man in the doubleheader, gave up three runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings. He issued two walks while striking out three in his first major league appearance of the season.

NOTES: The doubleheader was the 462nd in the history of the Mets, who were founded in 1962, but just the 15th for the Diamondbacks, who began play in 1998. ... A replay review took 4:08 in the second inning, when Arizona manager Kirk Gibson challenged the ruling that 2B Aaron Hill's foot came off the bag on a potential force play. The call was upheld. ... The Mets are expected to place LF Eric Young (right hamstring) on the disabled list prior to Monday's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. OF Matt den Dekker will be recalled. Young was hurt stealing a base during the Mets' 3-2 loss Saturday. ... Diamondbacks RHP Bronson Arroyo left after six innings in the opener due to a tender elbow. He said he expected to make his next start.
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