Wilmer Flores rounds the bases after the first of his two homers on Tuesday.NEW YORK – Wilmer Flores recently endured an 0-for-21 skid. Now he has 10 RBIs in his past four games. He has gone 8-for-14 with six extra-base hits since ending his hitless drought.
Flores went deep twice and drove in a career-high-matching six runs as the Mets beat the Miami Marlins, 9-1, Tuesday at Citi Field.
Flores became the first player in the majors this season with a pair of six-RBI games. The last Met to accomplish it twice in a season was Carlos Delgado in 2008. The only other Mets to do so twice in a season: Mike Piazza in 2002 and Robin Ventura in 1999.
Afterward, Terry Collins agreed September numbers need to be viewed more cautiously. Both homers Tuesday came against past-his-prime Brad Penny.
Still, Collins added: “The one thing we saw throughout the second half since he’s been here is his ability to put the ball in play, that he’ll use the field. Now, we’ve got to be a little bit careful. But he’s driven some balls against some pretty good pitching. So we know the power is there. As the confidence grows, maybe the bat even becomes more. Even though it’s September this can still help him next year.”
Collins has apprised Flores as well as Ruben Tejada that it’s open auditions for a shortstop.
“He’s been told that,” Collins said. “He’s been told the shortstop job is open. Ruben has been told that.”
Said Flores: “That’s out of my hands. I’m just trying to do my job. I can’t control what happens.”
Flores' production the past two games has come while using former Vegas teammate Kevin Plawecki’s bat. Flores had borrowed Plawecki’s bat on occasion in Triple-A. And when Plawecki visited Citi Field on Monday to receive a Sterling Award, Flores again borrowed it because he likes the feel. Flores had success and continued to use it Tuesday.
“I’m going to tip my hat to him,” Collins said about Flores. “I saw him when he was real young and gangly -- a tall, skinny guy with big feet, and trying to control those feet. One time there was concern about whether or not he was going to play the middle of the infield. And as he’s gone through the minor leagues, because his bat plays, everybody looked at him to be at another position.
“Last winter, he went to that fitness camp and got his lower body in great shape. I think he’s done fine. Again, he’s not going to be one of those big-rangy shortstops, but when he gets to the ball he catches it. And he’s got a strong enough arm. If he continues to swing the bat, he can play anywhere.”