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After career-high 3 RBIs, Thole exhales

Josh Thole said this about his career-high three-RBI game Tuesday in the Mets’ 6-4 win against the Washington Nationals: “I needed it bad.”

Josh Thole

Catcher
New York Mets

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Thole had hit .156 (7-for-45) since April 9 before delivering a tiebreaking two-run double in the sixth off left-hander Doug Slaten.

Thole actually said he could somewhat exhale earlier, after an RBI groundout to shortstop in the second inning.

“Just picking up the RBI in the [second] inning was a little bit of a confidence booster for myself,” Thole said. “To be able to get the big hit, and for Terry [Collins] to stay with me, felt huge.”

Thole has always been a low-strikeout player, who chokes up on the bat and makes contact. This season he had struck out 16 times in 62 at-bats entering Tuesday, compared with 25 times in 202 at-bats in the majors last season.

Thole explained that he was hitting so many weak tappers of late, he started to drift away from his conservative approach at the plate. Now, he needs to get back to that. Or at least find middle ground.

“I’m striking out more than I want to,” Thole said. “That’s the thing that I’m battling right now. But by the same token, I’m trying to give and take a little bit. … Now I’ve got to bring it down a little bit. I’m chasing balls out of the zone.”

Said Collins: “His whole career he’s had to overachieve. Now he’s in a spot where there’s expectations. … We even talked before the game about, ‘Hey, look, just play your game.’”