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Alonso joins Rundown to talk about 2012 success

Just as one young player in the heart of San Diego's lineup has helped carry the Padres' offensive load this season, the Mets are hoping to get the same type of production out of one of their young sluggers as the two teams wrap up a four-game series at Citi Field on Sunday.

Yonder Alonso has been a tremendous bright spot for the Padres during this young season, hitting .302 with a homer and 14 RBIs through 46 games. He has hit safely in 25 of his last 28 games and owns a nine-game hitting streak.

For New York, it's the production of right fielder Lucas Duda that manager Terry Collins has keyed in on.

Collins pointed out that Duda, who played 100 games for the Mets last year, is starting to look more comfortable on defense, and the skipper hopes Duda's bat will follow suit. He has five homers and 23 RBIs this year.

"I think a lot of power hitters are streaky," Collins said. "They get in that zone where they're seeing the ball and they're getting the backspin on some balls. They hit them in bunches. Hopefully, this is Lucas' turn to start this. We need some power in the middle of the lineup, for sure."

San Diego will send right-hander Edinson Volquez to the mound, as he hopes to bounce back from his last outing against the Cardinals, in which he struck out just one batter (a season low) in the loss.

"I think I did the best I could, I was battling the whole time," Volquez said afterward. "I threw a lot of good pitches."

Volquez, 0-2 with a 6.06 ERA in his career against the Mets, did throw four successive shutout innings in the outing.

Padres: During the day
• The Padres are in the midst of a stretch of five consecutive day games. The club is 7-8 in afternoon contests.

• Alonso is hitting .363 (12-for-33) during his hit streak.

Mets: Knuckleballer takes the mound
New York right-hander R.A. Dickey will get the ball Sunday, looking to build off his last start, which was his most dominant performance of the year. He struck out a career-high 11 hitters against the Pirates, over seven innings of one-run ball, and needed just 88 pitches to do so.

"It's the best I've ever seen it in a game," catcher Mike Nickeas said of Dickey's knuckleball that night. "It was ridiculous."

Dickey was 0-1 with a 4.38 ERA in two starts against the Padres last season.

Worth noting
• The Mets, who are 14-9 at home this year, have won nine of their last 13 games at Citi Field.

• Nickeas' grand slam on Saturday was the first by a Mets catcher since Omir Santos hit one in 2009.

• The Mets current active roster features four former Padres -- Rob Johnson, Mike Baxter, Scott Hairston and Jeremy Hefner. On the other side, Dale Thayer is the only member of the Padres to have played for New York.

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