A few hours before gametime, several Mets players jogged onto the field, only to quickly retreat to the clubhouse for pullovers and warmer clothes.
Damp air, temperatures in the low 50s, a stiff wind. Hardly a day to swing for the fences. Or so it seemed.
Rod Barajas and Jeff Francoeur became the first Mets hitters to homer twice out of Citi Field in the same game, powering New York past the Washington Nationals 8-2 Friday night.
Despite gusts well over 20 mph that knocked down fly balls and littered the field with hot dog wrappers, the Mets posted their first four-homer performance at the ballpark that opened in 2009. They totaled just 49 home runs last season in their new, spacious home.
"From what I've heard, this is something that you didn't see at all last year,'' said Barajas, who came over from Toronto in the offseason. "It's playing like a true ballpark.''
Barajas and Francoeur lined their shots to left field. Until they connected, the only Mets player to homer twice in a game at Citi Field was Angel Pagan -- he did it Aug. 23, and one of them was an inside-the-park job. St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols is among a handful of visiting players to do it.
The Mets nearly homered a fifth time, but David Wright's deep drive in the seventh hit high off the left-field wall. He took his time trotting to first and needed to speed up for a double. Back on the bench later, his teammates needled him.
"They got on him pretty good,'' Manuel said.
Wright was able to laugh about it postgame, especially after Francoeur homered later in the inning.
"I think I just hit it a little too high,'' Wright said. "I'm glad Jeff was able to go deep right after that and show me up.''
Said Francoeur: "David, by far, hit the furthest ball tonight. He smoked that ball.''
"He got it up above the stadium and we hit line drives,'' he said. "Wright's look on his face was priceless.''
The Mets' rare power display came a day before All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes was set to rejoin the lineup. The speedy leadoff man missed most of last season with a hamstring injury and has not played this year because of a thyroid condition.
Washington led the majors with 103 losses last season, and dropped to 1-3.
"I love this ballclub. I love the way they compete. That being said,'' Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said, "I want to see us execute better.''
Mike Pelfrey (1-0) pitched four-hit ball for six innings and left with a 3-2 lead. Along with the hits he allowed, he got tagged two other times.
Pelfrey stuck out his pitching hand to grab a hard comebacker by Nyjer Morgan in the third, and a trainer checked him. The next inning, Pelfrey was nicked on the right forearm while trying to bunt.
A trio of Mets relievers each finished up with a hitless inning as New York pulled away.
Ian Desmond lined a two-run triple past diving left fielder Jason Bay to put the Nationals ahead 2-0 in the second.
Francoeur homered in the second and Barajas hit a tying shot in the fourth off Garrett Mock.
Barajas hit a go-ahead homer off Miguel Batista (0-1) in the sixth. Francoeur connected on Tyler Walker's first pitch in the seventh for a two-run drive.
Both Mock and Pelfrey blew on their hands to keep warm. The wind was a problem for most everyone -- Pelfrey's hat blew off during a pitch, and a cleanup crew of a half-dozen was dispatched onto the field a couple of times to corral the whipping debris.
"No room for excuses,'' Mock said. "I'm not going to say it's the baseball's fault. I couldn't get a grip.''
NOTES: The Mets said they will activate Reyes off the disabled list before Saturday's game and option rookie SS Ruben Tejada to Triple-A Buffalo. Tejada singled in the eighth for his first major league hit. ... The crowd of 28,055 was the second-lowest at Citi Field, ahead of only the record low 25,982 set a night earlier. ... The last time a pair of Mets hitters both homered twice in a game was June 9, 2006, at Arizona when Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado did it. ... Barajas had his eighth career multihomer game, Francoeur had his seventh. ... Desmond has 26 career hits in the majors, 16 for extra bases. ... Mets 2B Luis Castillo didn't play because of a sore right calf.