PHOENIX -- The final score of Saturday's game was D-backs 6, Mets 3, though it might as well have been D-backs 6, Ike Davis 3. The surging first baseman hit three solo home runs at Chase Field, including two massive shots that caromed off the batter's eye in straightaway center. But starting pitcher Chris Young faltered and the rest of the Mets could not rally around him, instead sinking to their 14th loss in 16 games.
"It's bittersweet for sure," Davis said. "It's always good to feel good at the plate, but my ultimate goal is to win the game and we didn't. I take it as a positive moving forward, but obviously you'd like to win."
Thrice is nice
|Ike Davis||D-backs||July 28, 2012|
|Carlos Beltran||Rockies||May 12, 2011|
|Jose Reyes||Phillies||Aug. 15, 2006|
|Edgardo Alfonzo||Astros||Aug. 30, 1999|
|Gary Carter||Padres||Sept. 3, 1985|
|Darryl Strawberry||Cubs||Aug. 5, 1985|
|Claudell Washington||Dodgers||June 22, 1980|
|Dave Kingman||Dodgers||June 4, 1976|
|Jim Hickman||Cardinals||Sept. 3, 1965|
The Mets were already trailing by a run when Davis hit the first of his three homers off D-backs starter Ian Kennedy, clearing the 25-foot home run line painted on the batter's eye in center field during the second inning. Two innings later, Davis hit a second homer to nearly the same spot. Then he hooked his third blast around the right-field foul pole to lead off the sixth, setting a new career high with 20 on the season.
On the day the Mets and D-backs honored Davis' childhood friend Mike Lio, who died in 2009 at age 22 following a battle with Ewing's Sarcoma, Davis recorded the ninth three-homer game in franchise history and the first since Carlos Beltran hit three against the Rockies last season. The three home runs traveled an estimated 435, 445 and 394 feet, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
"I wish I could've erased him out of the lineup," Kennedy said. ""I threw everything at him. In the third at-bat, I made a joke because I hung a curveball and said, 'At least I tried something different.' It didn't make a difference."
But it was not enough. Coming off his best start of the season, Young was shaky from the start, serving up Aaron Hill's RBI double in the first inning, Ryan Wheeler's run-scoring double an inning later and Gerardo Parra's RBI single with two outs in the second. Miguel Montero then added a two-run homer in the fourth inning and Parra tacked on another two-out RBI hit.
The six runs were the most Young has allowed in a game in more than three years, spanning two dozen starts.
"It was just too inconsistent," Young said of his outing. "Physically, I felt good. That's what's disappointing, is I felt better than the way I pitched. But that's part of it. I'll keep working and hopefully I'll be better in five days."
Bidding to become the 17th player in history to hit four home runs in a game, Davis instead singled in his final at-bat in the eighth. A batter later, Daniel Murphy nearly tied things with a deep fly ball to center, which went for a long out. Then, with runners on the corners in a three-run game, Jason Bay and Kirk Nieuwenhuis both struck out to squelch the Mets' first sustained rally. Though they put two more runners on base with one out in the ninth, Scott Hairston and David Wright whiffed as well, stranding Davis in the on-deck circle.
As a team, the Mets struck out 15 times in 39 plate appearances. Bay finished 0-for-4 with two whiffs, running his personal slump to 0-for-19. Nieuwenhuis was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, extending his own funk to 0-for-11.
In other words, those two were the polar opposites of Davis. With respect to Wright, a superior overall hitter, and Murphy, a better contact hitter, Davis has been the Mets' most prolific slugger over the last seven weeks. Batting .158 on the afternoon of June 9, Davis has since hit .290 with 15 home runs, tied for second-most in the Majors over that span behind Arizona's Jason Kubel and Minnesota's Josh Willingham.
"It's still not where I want to be, but it's definitely getting better," Davis said. "I'll just go on that."
If nothing else, he now appears fully recovered from the ankle injury that destructed most of his 2011 season, the Valley Fever scare that monopolized his Spring Training and the massive slump that undermined his first nine weeks of this season.
And yet the Mets have not been able to take advantage. Though Davis leads the Majors with eight home runs since the All-Star break, his team has won just twice in that time.
"Tremendous night for Ike," manager Terry Collins said. "Huge night for him. We didn't give him any help."