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NYM@PIT: Hefner holds Bucs to two runs on three hits

After the Mets went 3-5 on the most recent road trip and were outscored, 6-2, in their last two losses, manager Terry Collins debuted a new lineup for the start of their series with the Royals on Friday.

He moved Ike Davis down to seventh, Daniel Murphy down to fifth and Juan Lagares up to second.

Behind a pair of two-run homers, the Mets defeated the Royals, 4-2, in walk-off fashion for Game 1 of their three-game set at Citi Field. Carlos Torres was scheduled to start Saturday, but pitched two innings in the 11-inning victory, notching the win. In his place, Jeremy Hefner will take the mound for the Mets as they look to win two straight after snapping the Royals' nine-game win streak. He will be opposed by former Mets left-hander Bruce Chen, who is making his third start of the season.

Entering Friday's game, Davis was hitting just .224 with a home run and 16 walks since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on July 5. However, he showed signs of hope going 3-for-3 with a walk in the game.

Murphy was hitting .337 in his last 24 games, with at least one hit in 20 of those contests. Lagares was hitting .404 since July 19. In their new spots Friday night, Murphy went 0-for-5 and Lagares went 1-for-5.

"What Ike said, what he's been saying, is the truth, he's looked better, he's taking pitches. But he's not driving in runs. I respect the fact that he's working on some things. He's trying to see pitches longer, he's trying to get a better ball to hit," Collins said. "Right now, we need to drive in some runs. Murph is swinging good. I always thought no matter what, if it was a different situation where Ike was out, Dan Murphy's a perfect guy to hit down in that spot. He's a guy who puts the ball in play, uses the field to hit. I just thought right now, that's the way it is. We've got four guys in a row with 50 RBIs. I kind of liked the way that looked."

Hefner is 4-8 with a 4.21 ERA this season. He's struggled since the All-Star break, allowing 16 earned runs in his last three starts. And it's come as a surprise to the Mets, considering he pitched eight straight starts of two earned runs or fewer until the break.

With Hefner, command is key since his fastball typically stays in the low-90s. His command has been inconsistent lately, and he's paid for it.

Chen, who replaced Luis Mendoza in the rotation, has been stellar for the Royals in his first three starts out of the bullpen. He's pitched six quality innings in each, allowing just three earned runs in 18 innings for a 1.50 ERA. He's 4-0 this season with a 2.09 ERA in 22 appearances.

He pitched for the Mets in 2001 and '02 where he made 12 appearances, 11 starts, including an emotional start on Sept. 21, 2001 which marked their first home game after the Sept. 11 tragedy.

Mets: Wright aggravates hamstring injury
Third baseman David Wright left Friday night's game in the bottom of the 10th inning after aggravating a sore right hamstring.

Wright singled up the middle and reached safely when second baseman Miguel Tejada overthrew to first baseman Eric Hosmer, but he crossed first base limping before clutching his right leg. Zack Wheeler pinch-ran for Wright.

Wright first experienced right hamstring tightness over the weekend in Washington, attributing the ailment to heat and dehydration. He aggravated his hamstring in the ninth inning on Wednesday after stealing second base against the Marlins.

Royals: Hot out of the break
The Royals may have snapped a season-high nine-game winning streak on Friday, but they've been pleased with their performance since the All-Star break.

They went stumbling into the break on a five-game losing streak, but jumped out with a 9-3 record and three straight series wins since then. They're 7 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the American League Central.

Worth noting
• Eric Young Jr.'s 11th-inning walk-off home run was his first homer since May 14 against the Cubs.

• Royals infielder Miguel Tejada is on a season-high six-game hitting streak.

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