Binghamton's Daniel Muno hit .224 in April and .179 in May, mostly because of struggles with the inside fastball. The story was radically different Thursday night.
Muno hit a grand slam and a three-run homer on back-to-back inside fastballs in the Double-A Mets' 7-6 win over the Fisher Cats at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.
"I got off to a little bit of a slow start. I was trying to press too much, trying to do too much," Muno said. "I've been working with our hitting coach, Luis Natera, to shorten everything up and not try to do too much.
"I was pressing, struggling, and in turn, that was making my swing longer," he said.
The adjustment paid off when Muno hit a 1-0 inside fastball out to right-center field with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth to tie the game, 4-4. The 24-year-old second baseman then sent a first-pitch inside fastball to the same destination with two outs and two on in the seventh to put his team ahead for good.
"I kind of knew it was gone, so it was a good feeling," he said. "It was nice to get the head out and get a good piece on it."
The switch-hitting Muno has hit all six of his home runs from the left side of the plate and had never before hit two homers in a single game as a pro. The 2011 eighth-round pick's career-high seven RBIs came one short of tying the Mets' franchise record, set by Jorge Toca against Reading on June 25, 1999. Muno's previous high was three.
Muno entered Thursday's contest with a .632 OPS with the bases clear and an .837 OPS with runners on. With runners in scoring position he had a .937 mark, and that trend continued against New Hampshire.
"[My approach] is still pretty much the same [with runners on], but maybe just trying to hit the runners in is changing my focus a little bit," he said. "I've just got confidence when runners are on, because I've been hitting them in."
Jim Fuller (2-0) picked up the win with six strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings. Fuller came in with two outs and a runner on second in the third inning and retired all 11 batters he faced after New Hampshire plated four runs off Binghamton starter Logan Verrett.
"[Fuller] pitched excellent. After we scored those runs and got ahead, he shut them down -- they were kind of on a roll. He did what we needed," Muno said. "He did an awesome job."
Jeff Walters allowed a run in the ninth, but picked up his Eastern League-leading 22nd save.
Walters got a little help from Mets' No. 14 prospect Cesar Puello, who threw a strike from right field for his team-leading sixth outfield assist to end the game. Catcher Blake Forsythe grabbed the one-hopper and tagged out Kevin Ahrens at home as he tried to tie the game on a single by Andy Burns.
"[Burns] smoked a line drive to right. Puello had to back up and field it and throw off his back foot, but he hosed a one-hopper to [Forsythe], and he stuck their guy pretty good," Muno said.
Forsythe and Wilfredo Tovar both collected a pair of hits and scored twice. Travis Taijeron added two hits and plated the Mets' other run.