With Castillo ailing, Cora starts at second
Veteran infielder in lineup for second time on homestand
NEW YORK -- With Mets second baseman Luis Castillo nursing a nagging left foot injury, Alex Cora was in the starting lineup Wednesday for the second time this homestand.
Cora laid down a bunt single in the Mets' six-run eighth inning Tuesday and scored the go-ahead run on Chris Carter's pinch-hit double.
For the season, Cora's on-base percentage (.308) is significantly lower than Castillo's (.364), but manager Jerry Manuel is content to leave Cora in the second spot in the batting order.
"Alex is playing real well, he's doing a lot of good things," Manuel said. "I think it keeps him in a nice little rhythm also. They bring about the same, so if we can keep both of them fresh, I think it helps us a great deal."
Thole to travel with club to Florida
NEW YORK -- Mets manager Jerry Manuel announced backup catcher Josh Thole, who has yet to make an appearance since being called up from Triple-A on Monday, will travel with the team to Florida for a four-game weekend series against the Marlins.
It remains unknown when catcher Henry Blanco will make his return, but he can only stay on the bereavement list until Sunday.
"He'll go with us to Florida and then we'll find out where Henry is, and make a decision as to getting Josh back where he was," Manuel said.
Thole said Manuel was upfront with him about the possibility of not getting to play during his short stay with the team, and he's just happy to be with the Mets.
"You just try to enjoy your time here until you get that phone call to go back down," Thole said.
Davis downplays hat trick of catches
NEW YORK -- Mets first baseman Ike Davis added another element to his personal highlight video Tuesday night, a third catch-'n-tumble at the first-base dugout railing.
This one produced the final out of an 8-6 victory. And in this one, like the second one last week against the Giants, his teammates broke his fall.
"We're getting better at that," said Alex Cora, the primary spotter in tumbles 2 and 3.
"It's just luck," Davis said Wednesday morning. "You can't practice it. There's no science to it."
With foul poles, size matters
NEW YORK -- The foul poles at Citi Field are orange, as were the poles at Shea Stadium. No other foul poles in the big leagues are orange. Are any other foul poles so short?
One of the reasons Ike Davis' high fly ball down the right field in the ninth inning Tuesday became a fair-foul issue was that it appeared to pass over the pole. The poles extend up just beyond the bottom of the upper deck.
Extra-base hits aplenty for Barajas
NEW YORK -- Mets catcher Rod Barajas continues to hit for extra bases at an extraordinary clip.
He hit his fourth double of the season against the Nationals on Tuesday, and has 13 extra-base hits and 11 singles, which measures out to 54 percent of his hits going for extra bases.
"I've always been a guy who didn't trust his hands. I just didn't let myself see the ball in and let myself react," Barajas said of his recent success. "I guessed fastball and I get a breaking ball, and now I'm in a bad situation. So right now, I'm just relying on my eyes, and my hands are working pretty good."
Barajas has always been able to hit for power over his 12-year career, but his previous high for extra base hits in a season was 45 with the Rangers in 2005. That season, his 21 home runs and 24 doubles accounted for a career-high 43 percent of his hits.
This date in Mets history -- May 12
NEW YORK -- After winning merely five times in their first 22 games, the '62 Mets won twice on this date. Hobie Landrith, the first of the original Mets, hit a home run off Warren Spahn with two outs in the ninth to fuel a 3-2 victory against the Braves in the first game of a doubleheader at the Polo Grounds. Gil Hodges hit a solo home run with one out in the ninth to win the second game after the Mets had tied the score at 7 in the eighth. The Mets hadn't won a game by one run until that date. Craig Anderson was the winning pitcher in both games, pitching three total innings in relief. He had been the winning pitcher six days earlier, too. He lost his other 17 decisions that season, and he never won another game in his brief career.
Dave Kingman produced one of the nine four-hit games in his career in a 6-3 Mets victory against the Braves in Atlanta on this date in 1976. Two of the hits were bases-empty home runs against Andy Messersmith. ... Tim Teufel singled in Ray Knight with the decisive run in the Mets' 1-0 victory against the Braves at Shea Stadium on May 12, 1986. Sid Fernandez (seven innings) and Roger McDowell combined on a four-hitter, with Fernandez walking one and striking out 10.
Frank Viola gained his seventh victory in seven starts in a 7-0 victory against the Dodgers at Shea in 1990. He struck out seven. No other Mets pitcher ever has won his first seven starts in a season. ... In 2004, Tom Glavine and Braden Looper combined on a three-hitter in a 1-0 victory against the D-backs in Phoenix. Kaz Matsui's home run off Randy Johnson to lead off the game was the difference.
With Wednesday's 8-6 loss to the Nationals, the Mets are 0-6 this year in the rubber game of a series. .... Each of the Mets' nine most recent games has been decided by one or two runs. The streak is the longest for the franchise since 12 consecutive games were so decided in April 2002. The Elias Sports Bureau figured that one out. ... The Mets have 14 home wins, the most in the Majors. ... Hisanori Takahashi has pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings in his five most recent appearances, allowing two hits. He stranded one inherited runner Wednesday and has stranded five of seven inherited runners this season. He ranks third among big league relievers with 29 strikeouts. ... Ike Davis had eight hits, two of them home runs, in his first 14 at-bats against left-handed pitching. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no other big league player -- left-handed, right-handed or switch-hitter -- who debuted since 1969, has had eight hits, including two homers, in his first 14 at-bats against left-handers.
Kyle Maistri is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.