Marlon Anderson was asked to man right field for a day, allowing Mike Cameron – in the midst of a 1-for-13 skid – a mental time-out to re-collect himself at the plate.
Anderson did far more than that, homering in his first two at-bats Wednesday and enjoying his first career multi-homer game as the Mets defeated the Colorado Rockies, 9-3, avoiding a series sweep.
After struggling in the first two games of the series, the Mets finally came alive in the finale, collecting 13 hits and batting around in a six-run fifth inning. Ramon Castro also homered and had three RBI, while David Wright contributed a two-run double to extend his hitting streak to 14 games.
The Mets got the benefit of a strong start from Victor Zambrano (5-9), who took the mound at the same stadium where his 2004 season ended with an elbow injury, last Aug. 17.
Zambrano rebounded from that painful memory and his poor six-run effort against the Dodgers last Friday, twirling seven innings of two-run, five-hit ball, striking out five and walking three.
In fact, everything went right top to bottom for the Mets except for the ejection of first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, who was tossed for arguing balls and strikes after the top of the fifth inning.
Soriano rumors swirl: The talk has continued linking the Mets to Texas Rangers 2B Alfonso Soriano, although it appears to be much more hype than substance at this point.
In fact, according to reports, Rangers manager Buck Showalter had to call Soriano into his office Wednesday to address a false rumor that an agreement had been reached with New York.
According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Rangers are looking for SS Jose Reyes and two prospects from a pool that includes CF Lastings Milledge, RHP Yusmeiro Petit and RHP Aaron Heilman. The newspaper notes the Mets are instead offering OF Mike Cameron.
Meanwhile, Mets manager Willie Randolph told reporters in Colorado Wednesday that he'd welcome Soriano aboard. Randolph was a Yankees coach during Soriano's stay in the Bronx.
"I had Soriano when he was a baby, so there is a relationship there," Randolph told reporters. "I feel like we have a communication with each other, not unlike some coach-player relationships. We worked together a lot. I worked with Sori for a lot of years. We'll talk every once in a while."
Minor League Report
TRIPLE-A NORFOLK: The Tides pulled off a doubleheader sweep of Toledo Wednesday, punishing the Mud Hens for missing a connecting flight to Virginia from Detroit on Tuesday and wiping out a regularly scheduled contest. Brian Daubach (.355) hit a three-run homer and Jae Seo allowed five runs and nine hits over 6-1/3 innings in the first game, a 6-5 Tides victory, while Anderson Hernandez (.314) and Ron Calloway (.261) hit three-run homers in the nightcap, a 7-2 win.
DOUBLE-A BINGHAMTON: Yusmeiro Petit (5-3, 3.53) tossed up a rare clunker on Wednesday, allowing eight runs and seven hits in four innings in a 14-8 loss to Altoona. Corey Ragsdale (.148) and Zac Clements (.232) had three hits each for Binghamton.
SINGLE-A ST. LUCIE: Gaby Hernandez didn't have his best stuff Wednesday, allowing five runs – including a two-run homer – and eight hits in 3-1/3 innings as St. Lucie fell to Tampa, 8-7. Andy Wilson clubbed his 22nd home run, a two-run shot off Brett Gardner, with one out in the fifth.
SINGLE-A HAGERSTOWN: The Suns and Delmarva were suspended after six innings with a 2-2 tie. Jose Sanchez started for Hagerstown and held Delmarva to two hits over five shutout innings, lowering his ERA to 3.36. Mike Carp and Joe Mihalics drove in runs for the Suns.
SINGLE-A BROOKLYN: Jonel Pacheco had four hits and Caleb Stewart and Josh Petersen drove in three runs each as the Cyclones rolled over Batavia Wednesday, 7-2. Waner Mateo (4-1) picked up the win with five innings of one-run, three-hit relief, striking out four and lowering his ERA to 1.87.
ROOKIE-LEAGUE KINGSPORT: Jose Mateo homered and had three RBI, while Greg Gonzalez added two hits and two RBI, leading the K-Mets past Greeneville Wednesday, 11-9. Daniel Arizmendi (2-0) picked up the win with 2-1/3 innings of scoreless relief, striking out four, and German Marte tossed the ninth for his first save.
GULF COAST LEAGUE: Leivi Ventura cracked a solo homer in the top of the 10th inning, leading the GCL Mets past the GCL Nationals Wednesday, 5-4. Grady Hinchman (1-1) picked up the win with 3-2/3 innings of scoreless relief, while Yasmil Bucce added three hits for the Mets.
VENEZUELAN SUMMER LEAGUE: The VSL Mets were held to a run on six hits Wednesday, falling to the VSL Reds 2-1. Angel Calero (2-3) suffered the loss despite allowing two runs over five innings.