Baseball is all about second chances and sometimes even third chances. A new start was what Allan Dykstra needed.
The Mets prospect went 3-for-3 with a homer, three RBIs and a pair of walks Saturday night, leading Double-A Binghamton to a 7-3 victory over Bowie.
Dykstra forged a 1-1 tie with a run-scoring single in the first inning and drilled a two-run homer, his 10th of the season, in the third to put the B-Mets ahead for good.
"They started the night keeping the ball away from me, just the way they've been pitching me," he said. "He [Bowie starter Jake Pettit] tried to run a fastball away and I got a good swing on it. [I'm] locked in and just really have been selective at what I've been swinging at."
Selected by the Padres with the 23rd overall pick in the 2008 Draft, Dykstra has revitalized his career in the Eastern League this season. The 26-year-old first baseman leads the league with a 1.066 OPS and ranks fifth with a .322 batting average. He was acquired by the Mets in the May 2011 trade that sent fellow first-round pick Eddie Kunz to San Diego.
"Being a first round pick, there was a lot of pressure on me," Dykstra said. "I have a natural uppercut swing and they were kind of trying to change things that didn't click with me. It's just one of those things that with age I believe in my talent and believe in what I can do. I think for a couple of years I lost belief in myself.
"I didn't trust myself and really didn't know exactly where I was going or what I was doing. I would just show up and I'd hope things would go well. I felt like I was getting lost with the Padres. After I got traded, it was a fresh start for me. I've been able to mature and find my swing."
June has been a particularly solid month for Dykstra, who's hitting .438 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 10 games in June. He's riding a six-game hitting streak and a five-game RBI streak.
"I just think I'm getting a lot good pitches to hit," the San Diego native said. "I've been selective. Whenever I've had success, it's by getting a pitch to hit. I've been keeping my focus on the opposite field."
With success under his belt, Dykstra understands that he needs to continue producing on a daily basis to take the next step.
"I think that would be the main word that I would say would be the next step is consistency," he said. "I'm at a point at the plate that I'm comfortable and I'd like to stay there, but that's the name of the game. Those guys at the big leagues, day-in and day-out, the great ones, they stay consistent. To get to the next level, you have to be consistent."
Travis Taijeron added a three-run homer, his third in six games since he was promoted from Class A Advanced St. Lucie. With injuries to outfielders Cory Vaughn and Cesar Puello, the 2011 18th-round pick has helped keep the B-Mets productive.
"We were kind of wondering who would fill the void in the lineup, and he's stepped right in and hit the ball really well," Dykstra said. "He stepped right into the middle of the lineup, which is hard to do sometimes, and he's swinging the bat great and hitting a lot of barrels."
Danny Muno reached base three times and scored twice out of the leadoff spot for Binghamton, which has won 10 of its last 12 and leads the Eastern Division by 6 1/2 games over second-place Portland.
Logan Verrett (8-2) recorded his league-leading eighth win after allowing three runs on five hits over seven innings. He struck out six batters and walked three.
Josh Horton homered for the Baysox.