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Unlikely Easley helps Mets persevere

Unlikely Easley helps Mets persevere

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NEW YORK -- Down to their final strike, the Mets were in the nastiest of holes.

It wasn't so much that a potent offense had been brought to its knees by Colorado pitching, nor that the team was a pitch away from dropping a game that any Mets hitter would say they should win.

Both were true.

Instead, it was that Damion Easley -- the man whose sole job was to give the team a sliver of hope -- couldn't even convince the most forgiving Mets fan that he would come through. There was little reason to believe so after Rockies closer Brian Fuentes dealt a fastball well above the letters, and the rarely-used utility man craned his neck and swung right through.

Hardly inspirational, and Easley was the first to admit it.

"He threw a fastball at my eyes and for whatever reason I swung at that," Easley said. "So then I had to step out and kind of just gather myself and work my way back into the at-bat."

He did just that, and it was more than enough to quiet the cynics. Easley waited on the next strike from Fuentes and drilled it into the left-field bleachers, tying the game at one and tossing Shea Stadium into hysterics.

"I put myself in a bad situation, 0-2, so I just tried to relax and work my way back into the count," Easley said. "When I hit it, I knew I hit it good, so I kind of expected it to go out."

It was just Easley's second hit of the young season -- but also the second time he's gone yard. And though he claimed it wasn't the most dramatic hit of his career -- after all, the infielder is now the proud owner of four pinch-hit homers -- it couldn't have come at a better time for the Mets.

The Mets' offense had been reeling all day, squandering each rare scoring chance it earned. Pinch-hitter Julio Franco missed in his earlier attempt, paving the way for the next right-handed bat in line. And though the homer was eventually overshadowed by Endy Chavez's walk-off drag bunt in the 12th, it acted as gunpowder for a stagnant team.

Of course with two quick outs already in the inning, Easley wasn't looking to go deep. He just wanted to reach base so that the top of the lineup -- Jose Reyes, Paul Lo Duca, Carlos Beltran -- would have a chance to tie it.

A chance, it turns out, they wouldn't need.

"I know what the situation is, and at worst, I have to try to get on base," Easley said. "The home run, that's a bonus."

Anthony DiComo is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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