Bruce swats go-ahead HR in return to Busch

Mets outfielder and former Red hits 11th homer in St. Louis

Bruce swats go-ahead HR in return to Busch

ST. LOUIS -- Mets outfielder Jay Bruce has played 60 games at Busch Stadium over the years, thanks to his time with the Reds, and he carried over some of that success in his return on Friday night.

Bruce had three hits, including a home run and a double, to lead the Mets' offensive attack in their 6-5 victory. The home run was his 22nd of the season and his 11th at Busch Stadium, the fourth-most for any opposing player who has never played for the Cardinals.

"There's definitely a familiarity, for sure," Bruce said. "I don't know if I've fared too too well here though as far as overall. I've hit some homers, but I enjoy playing here."

Bruce carried a .218 career average over 229 at-bats in his 60 games at Busch Stadium before Friday's return. He pushed his tally to .226 with his three hits.

The big hit was his fifth-inning blast off Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez that gave the Mets a 5-4 lead. He'd struck out with the bases loaded and no outs in the top of the first. Then he doubled in the third.

Bruce said he was looking for something up from Martinez in the fifth.

"I knew he got me on the first at-bat, a frustrating at-bat for me with the bases loaded right there," Bruce said. "And when I got two strikes there I knew he could get it up to 100 [mph] or whatever, but I wanted to get something with some height and make sure not to go after anything that was in the dirt."

Bruce jumped on an 86-mph slider and deposited it in the seats beyond the fence in right-center field, projected at 401 feet away per Statcast™.

It was his 263rd career home run but one of six on the night between the two teams.

"It was carrying for sure," Bruce said. "When it gets hot in here, it plays pretty well for the hitters."

Over the years, Busch Stadium has played pretty well for Bruce -- who spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Reds. Only Ryan Howard (13), Aramis Ramirez (12) and Bruce's old teammate Joey Votto (12) have hit more home runs here as opposing players.

Nate Latsch is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis and covered the Mets on Friday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.