June 09, 2014

As concern over Lucas Duda's lingering back injury continues to mount, the New York Mets hope other players can keep stepping up like they did in Saturday's thrilling walk-off win.

Noah Syndergaard will try to take some of the pressure off a short-handed offense Sunday when the Mets look to complete their first three-game home sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers in 14 years.

Duda, who has seven home runs and 19 RBIs, seems likely to miss some time after sitting for the third time in five games Saturday because of a bad back. Manager Terry Collins said the first baseman was examined by a doctor, had an MRI and will also sit out Sunday's series finale.

''When you take a big bat like Lucas' out of the lineup, that's a big hole because that's some power,'' Collins added. ''Hey, these are opportunities, somebody's got to step up and do the job."

That happened Saturday when Eric Campbell went 2 for 4 while filling in for Duda, Yoenis Cespedes added his 14th home run and Curtis Granderson hit his eighth. David Wright singled on a 3-0 pitch with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to give New York a 5-4 victory.

Cespedes has gone 9 for 23 with three home runs over his last seven games, while Wright had been in a 5-for-42 slump before coming through to complete the Mets' rally from a three-run deficit.

"I don't think it's relief, it's excitement,'' the third baseman said. ''To see the way the guys reacted, the coaches reacted, obviously made me feel good because I've been struggling."

New York hopes to complete its first home sweep of Milwaukee since April 2002 after the club had dropped six of its previous seven games. The Mets (24-18) have averaged 2.5 runs and batted .214 over their last 11 games, but might not need much scoring with Syndergaard on the mound.

The hard-throwing Syndergaard (4-2, 2.19 ERA) will try to win his third straight start after allowing five hits and striking out 10 over seven innings in Tuesday's 2-0 home victory over Washington. He ranks among the major league leaders in strikeouts (65) and ERA.

In his only career start against the Brewers (18-25), Syndergaard surrendered one run and three hits with five strikeouts over six innings in a 5-1 win at Citi Field on May 17, 2015.

He'll get another look at a Milwaukee team that has averaged 2.9 runs and batted .220 over its last 10 games. Jonathan Villar, however, had three hits and Ramon Flores homered Saturday.

''We've been in a lot of close games,'' manager Craig Counsell said.

It certainly hasn't helped that star slugger Ryan Braun has missed the past four games with a stiff back. Braun, hitting a team-high .364, is day to day after feeling better on Saturday.

Chase Anderson hopes to build on his last outing Tuesday when he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs. The right-hander went on to snap a personal five-start losing streak, allowing two runs and three hits over 8 2/3 innings in a 4-2 home win.

Anderson (2-5, 5.32) went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two starts versus the Mets last season while with Arizona. Juan Lagares has gone 3 for 5 with a home run lifetime in their matchups.

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