Terry Collins spent a couple of minutes yesterday afternoon backtracking on the candid critique he voiced the previous day of the Mets’ inexperienced roster. The four-game sweep at the hands of Washington was ugly but the Nationals are streaking through September he reminded those in the room. He reiterated the discouraging results were not due to a lack of effort. He emphasized his faith in Mets talent evaluators.

But the disappointment was obvious and the final two weeks of the season should be rocky as the Mets continue with their third baseman first baseman ace and closer on the disabled list. Last night the Mets’ motley crew confronted one of the few clubs with a comparable lack of star power in the Marlins and finally one of the several players auditioning for a role on the 2014 Mets broke through at Citi Field.

Lucas Duda whacked a hanging curveball from left-hander Brad Hand over the right-field wall for a three-run home run in the sixth to give the Mets a lead they would not relinquish in a 4-3 win that snapped a four-game losing streak.

A natural first baseman now playing first base every day because Ike Davis is injured the burly Duda’s blast is an example of the power the Mets have been lacking of late. "I’m just glad we won" said Duda the Mets’ Opening Day left fielder. "That’s the main thing."

It was Duda’s 13th home run of the season but just the second with a runner on base the second since he rejoined the Mets from Triple-A
Aug. 24 and the third off a left-handed pitcher. He is two home runs shy of tying his career high set last season.

"He’s a big strong guy" Collins said. "Everybody expects him to hit homers. I just expect him to drive runs in and I think that swing tonight might get him really started in the last couple weeks."

Duda’s effort offset Giancarlo Stanton’s latest power display. Often rumored as a trade chip Stanton twice showed the raw strength the Mets and the other 28 major league clubs covet.

First the 23-year-old right fielder smashed a flat 90-mph cutter from Jon Niese in his wheelhouse knee-high and over the heart of the plate off the facing of the second deck beyond the left-field wall to begin the second.