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Collins apologizes to Mets for criticism

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NEW YORK (AP)

A day after criticizing his players following an embarrassing 16-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, Mets manager Terry Collins went around the clubhouse apologizing.

''I don't ever want to challenge anybody's integrity. That's wrong,'' Collins said Friday. ''My players are professionals, and they didn't get here without being guys that played their hearts out all the time. Sometimes you say, what can I say to maybe make them mad enough to say, you know, I'll show that (guy). So that was maybe the way I tried to approach it last night, and I don't ever do that. So it might have been the wrong way.''

New York allowed eight runs in the first inning and seven in the ninth before the smallest crowd in the 4-year history of Citi Field.

''I saw some things tonight that were unacceptable,'' Collins said after the game. Asked whether he thought his players had quit, Collins responded: ''You have to ask them. I have my own opinion. And I'm not going to express it publicly.''

New York began Friday with nine straight losses at home and 25 in their last 29 games at Citi Field. The Mets responded with a 7-3 win over the Miami Marlins.

''We know we're going through a tough time,'' Collins said after taking a night to think about it. ''I'm very proud of this team, the way they've played all year. The one thing I will never ever talk about is their effort. Their effort has always been there.''

New York was 46-40 at the All-Star break, a half-game out for the NL's second-wild card berth. The Mets are 21-43 since.

''As a manager, you sit here and you try to fix it,'' Collins said before the Mets opened a weekend series against the Marlins. ''You try to figure out how to fix it, and you pull out all your stops, no matter what you've done in the past, you try to find an answer to it. And when you don't have the answers anymore, it's frustrating.''

He said he made his Thursday night statements to be provocative.

''I felt maybe they need to know everybody's frustrated. Let's just see who is willing to rise up again, give it another shot,'' he said. ''I probably did it the wrong way.''

''I talked to each and every guy today, and I know they care,'' he added. ''There's a lot of guys playing for a lot of things in there, be it contracts, be it jobs, be it just pride alone. Everybody plays for something, and I know they are. We've just got to continue to battle through one of the worst times that any of us have ever been in in the game.''

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