NEW YORK (AP) — Not a bad way to bust out of a slump.
Ike Davis finally snapped his prolonged funk at the plate with a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning, and the New York Mets rallied past the Atlanta Braves 4-2 on Sunday night to end an eight-game losing streak at home.
Before the game, Davis had a meeting with manager Terry Collins and GM Sandy Alderson, who also spoke to reporters and addressed weeks of speculation about whether the first baseman should be demoted to the minors.
Alderson said there was no deadline for such a decision, and hours later Davis delivered his biggest hit of an agonizing season.
"They wanted me to have fun again. Smile more, laugh on the field. I know that the fans may hate that, but I won't perform any better by being miserable," Davis said. "And I am now 1 for 1 with the new approach. The meeting today helped."
Shaun Marcum struck out a career-high 12 and Lucas Duda homered for the Mets, who stopped Atlanta's eight-game winning streak and avoided a three-game sweep. The Braves had won 15 of 18 against New York and five in a row at Citi Field.
Pinch-hitter Justin Turner led off the eighth with a single against Cory Gearrin (1-1). David Wright struck out but Duda punched a ground-rule double to left for his third hit, and John Buck's run-scoring single tied it at 2.
Pinch-hitter Mike Baxter was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Davis.
"The first thing I thought of was, get a hit," Collins said. "I said to the baseball gods that this kid needs a base hit."
He got one, pulling a two-run single through the right side for a 4-2 Mets lead.
"I went up wanting a sacrifice fly and not to ground into a double play," Davis said. "He's a nasty pitcher with sinking movement and I wanted to stay through and hit right through the sinker."
After the game, the affable Davis cracked a smile when he found a crowd of reporters waiting at his locker.
"I'm popular," he said, with more than a touch of New York sarcasm. "Greeaaaat."
Davis began the night batting .148 with nine RBIs. He finished 2 for 3 with a walk after entering in a 2-for-44 slide that included 19 strikeouts. It was his first hit in his last 27 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
"Just a sinker. He got under it enough and got it out there," Gearrin said. "You've got to tip your hat a little bit to those guys. They put the bat on the ball and made something happen."
LaTroy Hawkins (1-0) worked a scoreless inning and Bobby Parnell struck out two in the ninth for his seventh save. It was a spirited and heartening win for the Mets heading into their Subway Series against the crosstown-rival New York Yankees beginning Monday night.
Marcum, still winless with the Mets, went seven innings for his longest outing in six starts with New York. His only costly mistake came on Dan Uggla's two-run homer in the seventh that put Atlanta ahead 2-1.