PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Give hitting coach Kevin Long an extension!
The Mets produced a double-digit scoring output for the third straight day and prospect Tyler Pill tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in place of the scratched Zack Wheeler as the Mets beat the Nationals, 13-4, Saturday at Tradition Field.
David Wright hit a three-run homer against Nats starter Tanner Roark, and Michael Cuddyer and John Mayberry Jr. went deep later on. The Mets (6-6) have scored 11, 13 and 13 runs in their past three games.
“Just like our pitching staff, I’m sure [with] a lot of pitching staffs, guys are starting to get a little ‘dead arm’ at this stage,” manager Terry Collins said about the offensive surge. “But our guys have worked hard. I think Kevin and [assistant hitting coach] Pat [Roessler] have done a tremendous job with the hitters. Guys like what they’re doing. They’re doing a lot of drills that try to see the ball better, make better pitch selections. And you’re seeing some results because of it.
“We’ve always liked our team anyway. Everybody gets hot at some time. And we’re swinging good.”
Lucas Duda went 1-for-4 as the DH in his first Grapefruit League action.
Pill -- a Cal State Fullerton product whose older brother Brett is a former first baseman with the Giants -- allowed one hit and one walk before departing. The 24-year-old right-hander has now logged 3 2/3 scoreless Grapefruit League innings. He pitched for Double-A Binghamton last season.
Brett Pill, 30, is playing this season with the Kia Tigers in South Korea. The brothers train together in the offseason in California.
Tyler said that it had been an asset while younger to have an older brother who played in the majors.
“I would pick his brain a little bit,” Tyler said. “And then without me even trying to, he would put knowledge on me, like, ‘Hey, this is a good way to set somebody up.’ Or, ‘In this count I’m looking for this pitch.’ Stuff like that.”
Despite the time difference between the East Coast and South Korea, the brothers text back and forth every other day or so.
What’s next: The Mets make a rare overnight trip across the state, playing the Rays in Port Charlotte on Sunday and the Red Sox in Fort Myers the following day. Bartolo Colon starts against the Rays, with Matt Harvey Day slated for Monday. See the full travel roster for both games here. Both games begin at 1:05 p.m. and will be on WOR 710 AM.