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OAK@NYM: Capuano tosses a strong game against Oakland

NEW YORK -- The Mets arrived at Citi Field on Thursday morning with some fatigue after Wednesday's rain-delayed, 13-inning win kept them up past midnight before the finale of a three-games series against the A's at Citi Field.

Another rain delay, this one a whopping two hours and 15 minutes, led manager Terry Collins to say after the game he felt like going back to sleep before the game started.

Starting pitcher Chris Capuano made sure Collins was glad he didn't.

The southpaw would leave the game with a minor cramp in his abdomen, but not before hurling six shutout innings, striking out seven without a walk and giving the Mets a 4-1 win and a 3-3 record over their homestand.

"Those guys hung in there last night. I was very, very proud of them," Collins said. "They show up today late, because we got home late, and then to sit around for two hours, anyways, that takes a toll.

"It brightens it a lot."

Capuano was stellar from the beginning, striking out the first two batters he faced, both with his trademark changeup. He took advantage of the A's philosophy of taking pitches early in the count by throwing first-pitch strikes to get ahead in the count. Of the 24 batters Capuano faced, 16 were dealt first-pitch strikes.

The only time he found himself in significant trouble came during the fourth. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Capuano gave up a pair of singles and hit a batter to load the bases for Landon Powell.

After a pair of called strikes, Powell fouled off a changeup to stay alive. Capuano tried to put a fastball past him, only for Powell to foul that pitch back out of play, as well. Capuano reached back for a 91-mph heater, his fastest pitch of the night, and placed it on the inside corner at Powell's knees for a called strike three, erasing Oakland's most serious threat of the evening.

In all, Capuano allowed just one extra-base hit, a double that sneaked under the glove of center fielder Angel Pagan, and he stranded five runners in scoring position.

"I had decent separation between my changeup and fastball today, which I was able to get some strikeouts in early," Capuano said. "They adjusted to it later in the game, but early I was able to get some swings."

"He had a good changeup early on, and guys that normally don't strike out were striking out," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "He pitched inside enough just to get us off away, and it just wasn't our best game.

The Mets broke through in the second off starter Graham Godfrey with help from Jason Bay, who rebounded from his 0-for-5 Wednesday night by leading off the inning with a hard single through the left side of the infield. Lucas Duda and Josh Thole followed with singles before Capuano brought Bay home by grounding into a double play with the bases loaded.

The Mets added a second run when Jose Reyes hit a bouncing ball that just slipped past Godfrey and into center field for a base hit.

Reyes would use his speed to cause further damage in the fifth on a slow grounder to second base. Though Jemile Weeks fielded the ball cleanly, he threw the ball past a sprinting Godfrey, allowing Reyes to reach on an error. Reyes moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on a groundout before Daniel Murphy, back in the cleanup spot after a day off Wednesday, singled up the middle to give the Mets a 3-0 lead. It was the first of three hits on the day for Murphy.

Reyes capitalized on another A's miscue in the sixth, when a dropped popup by substitute first baseman Chris Carter gave him a chance to single to center field to score Thole with the Mets' final run of the day.

"I know I point to it a lot, but you watch the shortstop take the field, and he sprints out there at full speed. It just brings energy to the team," Collins said. "Everybody picks themselves up."

After reliever Pedro Beato gave up a run in two innings, the Mets received a scoreless inning from Francisco Rodriguez, who had blown saves in his past two appearances. Rodriguez tossed a perfect ninth inning to nail down his 20th save of the season.

As happy as the Mets were to take the series,they might have gotten the best news of the day after the game. That's when they found out injured third baseman David Wright was cleared for baseball activities and is expected back in the lineup in about three weeks, a relief for a team that found out just a day before that first baseman Ike Davis could miss the remainder of the season with an ankle injury.

To recount: Since June 22 turned into June 23, the Mets won a 13-inning game on a walk-off hit-by-pitch, then won the series with relative ease, then received Flushing's first good piece of injury news in a while. Not a bad day at the ballpark.

"With all the blows we've taken in the last six weeks, this is finally a positive," Collins said. Comments