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Don't count Beltran out just yet

Michael Rushton, MLB Contributing Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Carlos Beltran was already having an incredible game versus the Rockies on Thursday when he stepped to the plate in the ninth inning.

A pair of two-run homers, one from each side of the plate, had helped stake the Mets to a two-run lead as they looked to leave Colorado with a series victory. But Beltran wanted more as he stepped to the plate against Rockies reliever Matt Lindstrom.

According to fellow Mets outfielder Willie Harris, he wanted revenge.

"Before the at-bat, we were both down by the bat rack and he said there's going to be some revenge on this guy," Harris said. "I'm like, what are you talking about and he explained it to me that [the other] night the guy struck him out on three pitches."

With Harris on first base, Beltran blasted a slider over the wall for his career-high third homer of the game. He had indeed gotten his revenge.


Carlos Beltran is batting .325 with 18 RBI over his past 22 games.
"We all know what Carlos is capable of doing," said Harris following the 9-5 win.

In one game, and with the Mets shorthanded, the 34-year-old Beltran sent out a little reminder to anyone who is listening and may be worried about his nagging knee issues that he isn't done just yet. Beltran is intent on having an impact in 2011 as he finishes out his seven-year, $119 million contract, whether it is with the Mets or as a hired gun for another team come August.

As far as May goes, the Mets are the ones who need Beltran. Third baseman David Wright has been battling a sore back and was rested on Thursday even though the game was a makeup from a Wednesday postponement. Outfielder Jason Bay, meanwhile, continues to struggle at the plate to a .215 average and first baseman Ike Davis landed on the disabled list before the game due to a left ankle sprain and bone bruise.

Davis, who leads the Mets with a 25 runs batted in to go along with a solid .302 average and seven homers, has arguably been New York's most consistent hitter this year.

New York will need Beltran to take on that role now.

"He hit five homers the first month," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He's such a good hitter, he's going to hit five [homers] every month and end up with 30 homers at the end of the year and 100 RBI."

Beltran became the first Mets hitter to go deep three times in one game since Jose Reyes on Aug. 15, 2006 and is hitting .295 on the season in 36 games after hitting a mere .255 in 64 games a season ago. Knee injuries have limited the former second-round pick to 145 games in the last two season.

But Beltran is showing signs of rounding back into form. He is batting .325 with 18 RBI over his past 22 games, but most importantly he has been able to consistently stay in the lineup, including a string of 21 straight starts from April 14-May 7.

"This guy has been nothing but a pro since the day he showed up at Spring Training," said Collins. "He's stuck to the plan, he's ground it out. There were days I wanted to give him off and he said no I want to play, so I've been very impressed."

Of course, the question now is how much longer Beltran will get to impress his manager? He is a pending free agent and the Mets enter Friday last in the National League East and 7 1/2 games out of first place.

But if Beltran continues to play at this pace, and stay healthy, there will be room for the five-time All-Star on some contender's roster by the trade deadline.

Until then, he can just continue to impress his current teammates.

"He is a man amongst boys," said pitcher Jon Niese.

"I mean, those were three good at-bats," Collins said of Beltran's fence- clearers. "To hit a home run to all fields from both sides, I mean..."

Collins gave a brief pause before finishing his thought.

"I've never seen anything like it."

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Michael Rushton at mrushton@sportsnetwork.com.

Follow Michael Rushton on Twitter and Facebook.

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