Murph downplays end of long-ball drought

June, 27, 2012

Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press
Jeff Samardzija reacts as Daniel Murphy delivered the first of his two homers Wednesday.
CHICAGO -- Daniel Murphy had the most at-bats in the majors this season without a homer. Then he slugged a pair of long balls Wednesday at Wrigley Field, in consecutive at-bats, in a 17-1 rout of the Cubs.

Afterward, though, Murphy insisted that ending the drought at 273 at-bats this season -- and 352 at-bats since his last home run overall -- was not that big a deal.

“The biggest thing I was happy about in the first one was a two-out RBI in a 2-1 ballgame,” Murphy maintained about a two-run shot against right-hander Jeff Samardzija in the fourth inning. “It’s a relief to help the team win. Other than that, if we win ballgames, and we make the playoffs, I don’t need to hit another one all year.”

Said Ike Davis about Murphy: “That was awesome, just to get it out of the way. Now, hopefully, he can hit a couple of more and help us win some more games.”

Murphy -- whose playing time had begun to diminish -- went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBIs before Omar Quintanilla replaced him at second base in the lopsided game. Murphy had been 4-for-21 in the Mets’ last 10 games.

Overall, the Mets had 10 extra-base hits, marking the sixth time in franchise history they reached double-digits, and the first time since Aug. 24, 2005 against Arizona. The last time the Mets won by 16-plus runs came in a 17-1 win at Houston on Aug. 30, 1999.

David Wright, Scott Hairston, Davis and Murphy combined for the 17 RBIs, evenly distributing them except for Wright, who finished with five.

“We haven’t had a lot of days where we’ve had multiple guys in the lineup come up big,” manager Terry Collins said. “We kind of thought going into spring training that we would have more of those. I’m hoping it’s something that continues, for sure.”

As for Murphy, Collins added: “In the last four games he’s played, I thought he’s taken much better swings. His balance has been better at the plate. You haven’t seen that one-handed swing that he’s been caught doing. You know he’s going to break out. I mean, Dan Murphy is way too good a hitter. Hopefully this is a good sign as we head toward the second half.”

Said Murphy: “I feel like I’m swinging the bat better. It was nice to get rewarded for that today. But it’s still a long season. I’ve got a long way to go. ... Today, to tell you the truth, I just tried to relax and hit the ball hard. The fact that the wind was blowing out didn’t hurt. I centered both of them. The first one wasn’t unbelievable. I kind of hit it with one hand. Again, the wind was blowing out, so that really helped. But the second ball I hit pretty well.”

Adam Rubin

ESPN Staff Writer
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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