MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- The New York Mets swung hot bats in the icy cold temperatures at Target Field in a 16-5 drubbing of the Minnesota Twins on Friday.
With a light snow falling when the first pitch was thrown, the Mets put together a series of hits in the early innings and buried the Twins before they had a chance to get warm.
"(The cold) didn't affect the other guys, so it's hard for us to whine about it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Their guys whacked the ball around pretty good. This is our ballpark and we let them have their way. We have to play a better ballgame and hopefully jump on them."
Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese pitched five innings, giving up five runs on five hits. The Twins made Niese work for the win, as he threw 101 pitches, but the Mets offense provided him with a big lead.
"A night like tonight, we needed it," catcher John Buck. "The balls were slippery. Normally we would go to Nieser's cutter and he couldn't even get a grip on it. So it was tough. Having those early runs definitely helped. It was a cold one."
The Mets collected 15 hits in the game, hitting the ball hard, early and often. John Buck hit a grand slam in the second inning, which was his fourth consecutive game with a home run and sixth homer in the past nine games.
"What streak," Buck responded when asked about tear he's on at the plate. "I am benefitting from last year when I tried too hard and now I am just going up there just trying to hit the ball solid and good things are happening."
Buck had some help as Daniel Murphy did even more damage at the plate, going 4-for-5, including a three-run double in the seventh. And his manager, Terry Collins, likes what he sees.
"Not since I have been here (have I seen him hit like that)," Collins said. "I know he hit some homers before I got here, but I tell you what, he's swinging great now."
After scoring 10 runs in the first two innings, the Mets went scoreless for four innings until putting four more runs on the board in the seventh off of reliever Ryan Pressly. The Mets added two more in the ninth off Glen Perkins.
Twins starter Vance Worley, in his third outing of the season, had his worst start of the year, throwing 57 pitches in one-plus innings (he faced four batters in the second). The Mets batted around in each of the first two innings.
"I didn't locate very well, the secondary stuff wasn't breaking very well and pretty much got hit," Worley said. "It's frustrating (to get taken out early). Nobody likes to have that happen to them. I need to make some adjustments. (The cold) didn't affect me at all. It was similar to opening day, just had some snowflakes."
The first five Mets batters reached base safely to open the game, with Worley giving up a single to Jordany Valdespin, followed by doubles to Murphy and David Wright. Wright knocked in Valdespin and Murphy and then scored when Buck hit a grounder off third baseman Trevor Plouffe's glove for a two-base error. Ike Davis, who had walked, moved to third and scored along with Buck on Marlon Byrd's single to right.
The Twins battled back for two runs in the bottom half of the first. Aaron Hicks walked and moved to third on Joe Mauer's double down the left-field line. Josh Willingham grounded out to short and Hicks scored. Mauer then scored on Plouffe's single to center.
The Mets continued to rough up Worley in the second inning, when hits by Valdespin, Murphy and Wright scored Valdespin. Worley gave way to reliever Pedro Hernandez after 57 pitches and seven hits rendered. Before Hernandez could get out of the inning, he surrendered the grand slam to Buck for a 10-2 Mets lead.
The Twins got three more runs back in the fifth, when Niese's pitch count hit the 90s. Hicks got on thanks to a Byrd throwing error, and Mauer followed with a walk. Hicks scored on a Justin Morneau double, and Mauer and Morneau scored on a Ryan Doumit single to right.
NOTES: The gametime temperature was 34 degrees (with a light snow falling) -- the coldest game ever at Target Field. ... The Twins have now been out-hit in 10 of 11 games this season. ... Coming into the game, the Twins allowed 11 first-inning runs, which was tied with Pittsburgh for the most in baseball. They gave up five in the first inning on Friday.