|N.Y. Mets (35-29) «||1||1||2||4||0||0||0||0||1||9||12||1|
|Tampa Bay (35-28)||0||3||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||6||8||0|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The New York Mets have rebounded nicely after an unsuccessful Subway Series.
"Hopefully we can keep that momentum going," Nieuwenhuis said.
"You've got to be able to forget what the last series was and go play," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Continue to grind it out."
The Mets outscored Tampa Bay 29-9 in this series.
"I thought it was tremendous by our guys," Collins said. "You come in and face the best pitching in the American League and put up runs like we did."
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"I think we caught this team on fire," Zobrist said.
Nieuwenhuis began the afternoon with a home run off Jeremy Hellickson (4-3). Nieuwenhuis homered again during a four-run fourth, helping the Mets take an 8-4 lead. It was his first career multihomer game.
Hellickson gave up a career-high eight runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. The reigning AL Rookie of the Year, 0-3 over his last five starts, has allowed more than three earned runs in just five of 46 career starts.
"They didn't miss too many mistakes," Hellickson said. "I left some changeups up and they just didn't miss bad pitches. I just made too many mistakes."
Jon Rauch replaced Santana with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth and worked out of the jam by striking out Sean Rodriguez and pinch-hitter Jose Labaton, and then getting a grounder from Elliot Johnson.
"The bullpen deserves all the credit," Santana said. "They did a great job. For all of us, you don't want to come here and lose games. I think this is good for everybody to get three wins in a row, especially after losing three to the Yankees. We're just building up our confidence. We played pretty good."
Santana made his second start since the left-hander held St. Louis hitless on June 1, the first no-hitter in the Mets' 51-year history. He allowed six runs and seven hits -- including four homers -- in a 9-1 loss to the Yankees last Friday.
"He's behind in the count a lot, which he normally doesn't do," Collins said. "The biggest thing [Thursday], the mistakes he made weren't hit out of the ballpark."
Francisco got the final two outs for his 16th save. After allowing a run-scoring grounder to Carlos Pena, the Mets' closer fanned Zobrist.
Duda had a sacrifice fly and Ike Davis drove in a run with a single as the Mets went up 4-3 in the third. Duda also had a two-run double that chased Hellickson in the fourth.
Tampa Bay took a 3-2 lead during the second when Matt Joyce hit a two-run double and Johnson had an RBI single. Zobrist's RBI double in the third tied it at 4.
Bay, who had been 1 for 21 since returning from a rib injury, gave New York a 2-0 advantage on a solo home run in the second.
Davis added a run-scoring single in the ninth, giving him seven RBI over his last four games.
"They just beat us up for three days ... that happens," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "It's happened here before. We've been able to recover from that in the past and I anticipate we'll be able to do it again."
|Kirk Nieuwenhuis leads off the game with a homer, then belts a two-run shot in the fourth to help Mets finish off the Rays. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|New York Mets|
|Kirk Nieuwenhuis, CF-RF||5||2||2||3||0||0||2||.298|
|Jordany Valdespin, DH||4||2||1||0||0||0||1||.190|
|David Wright, 3B||4||3||3||0||1||0||0||.358|
|Lucas Duda, RF||4||0||1||3||0||2||2||.264|
|Andres Torres, CF||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.221|
|Ike Davis, 1B||4||0||2||2||1||1||1||.188|
|Daniel Murphy, 2B||5||0||0||0||0||0||4||.279|
|Jason Bay, LF||4||1||1||1||1||2||1||.187|
|Josh Thole, C||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.268|
|Omar Quintanilla, SS||3||1||1||0||1||0||1||.326|
|2B - David Wright (21, Hellickson), Lucas Duda (9, Hellickson), Josh Thole (5, Peralta)|
|HR - Kirk Nieuwenhuis 2 (5, Hellickson, Hellickson), Jason Bay (4, Hellickson)|
|SF - Lucas Duda (3)|
|RBI - Kirk Nieuwenhuis 3 (23), Lucas Duda 3 (40), Ike Davis 2 (28), Jason Bay (6)|
|2-OUT RBI - Kirk Nieuwenhuis 2 (12), Lucas Duda 2 (22), Ike Davis (12)|
|SB - Jordany Valdespin (3, 2nd base off Hellickson/Molina), Jason Bay (2, 2nd base off Ramos/Molina)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Wright-Murphy-Davis|
|E - Kirk Nieuwenhuis (4, Misplayed grounder)|
|New York Mets|
|Johan Santana (W,4-3)||5||6||4||4||4||6||0||3.23|
|Jon Rauch (H,7)||1||0||0||0||0||2||0||4.62|
|Frank Francisco (S,16)||0.2||0||0||0||1||2||0||5.19|
|Pitches-Strikes - Johan Santana 96-51, Jon Rauch 14-12, Bobby Parnell 12-6, Tim Byrdak 12-7, Miguel Batista 15-9, Frank Francisco 15-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Johan Santana 2-6, Jon Rauch 1-0, Tim Byrdak 1-2, Miguel Batista 1-0, Frank Francisco 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Johan Santana 24, Jon Rauch 3, Bobby Parnell 3, Tim Byrdak 3, Miguel Batista 4, Frank Francisco 4|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Desmond Jennings, LF||5||0||1||1||0||2||1||.248|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||4||0||0||1||1||1||0||.188|
|B.J. Upton, CF||4||1||0||0||1||2||3||.280|
|Hideki Matsui, DH||4||1||2||0||1||1||1||.200|
|Will Rhymes, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.232|
|Ben Zobrist, 2B||4||1||2||1||1||1||3||.229|
|Matt Joyce, RF||3||1||1||2||1||0||1||.289|
|Sean Rodriguez, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||4||.217|
|Jose Molina, C||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||.184|
|a- Jose Lobaton, PH-C||1||1||0||0||1||1||3||.235|
|Elliot Johnson, SS||4||1||2||1||0||0||3||.270|
|a-struck out for Molina in the 6th|
|2B - Ben Zobrist 2 (12, Santana, Santana), Matt Joyce (8, Santana)|
|RBI - Desmond Jennings (14), Carlos Pena (27), Ben Zobrist (26), Matt Joyce 2 (33), Elliot Johnson (17)|
|2-OUT RBI - Ben Zobrist (3), Elliot Johnson (1)|
|SB - B.J. Upton (12, 2nd base off Santana/Thole)|
|Team LOB - 8|
|DP - Zobrist-Johnson-Pena|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Jeremy Hellickson (L,4-3)||3.2||9||8||8||1||0||3||3.45|
|HBP - Valdespin (by Jeremy Hellickson)|
|WP - Fernando Rodney (1)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 93-60, Cesar Ramos 33-19, J.P. Howell 12-8, Joel Peralta 16-8, Fernando Rodney 18-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hellickson 4-7, Cesar Ramos 4-1, J.P. Howell 1-0, Joel Peralta 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 22, Cesar Ramos 9, J.P. Howell 3, Joel Peralta 4, Fernando Rodney 5|
|Attendance - 21947|
|Game Time - 3:33|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Paul Schrieber, Third Base - Lance Barrett|