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Bisons' Valdespin becomes Mets' hero with first HR

Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Terry Collins continues to do a terrific job with the Mets -- and continues to get plenty of contributions from players mined in his old stomping grounds.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis, the Bisons' Opening Day center fielder, was nearly the National League's Rookie of the Month in April. Jordany Valdespin, the Opening Day second baseman for the Herd who moved to the outfield for most of the season's first month, made a huge impact with his first big-league hit Monday night.

Valdespin rocked Phillies' closer Jonathan Papelbon for a three-run homer in the top of the ninth (click link for video--MLB doesn't allow embeds), to give the Mets a dramatic 5-2 victory in Citizens Bank Park. Valdespin hit 17 homers last year between Binghamton and Buffalo and had two this year, including a three-run shot in the home-opening romp past Scranton.

Here's Valdespin and Collins chatting postgame with SNY:

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Valdespin had been sent back to the Bisons and called up a day later when Ruben Tejada was injured Sunday against Arizona. Tejada will be out a couple of weeks and Valdespin is scheduled to start at short for the Mets tonight.

The Bisons, meanwhile, opened a new series with a 4-3 win at Gwinnett. The Herd is 18-13, one game out of first place, while the Mets are 16-13 and currently hold the second National League wild-card.

---Mike Harrington

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