I never thought I’d be writing that headline, what with many, many relief pitchers ahead of him in the pecking order of closers, and with Byrdak recording only three previous saves in his 10-year career. But here we are.
The game against the Reds Tuesday night was a wild one. The Mets scored two runs in the first and third innings, courtesy of some timely hitting and shoddy fielding by the Reds.
They were up 4-1 in the fifth when the lead disappeared in what seemed like the blink of an eye, topped off by a Joey Votto two-run shot to give the Reds the lead, 5-4.
But the Mets came right back just as suddenly in the sixth — a walk, another error and a Jason Pridie (below) tw0-run double gave the Mets the lead 6-5.
It was 8-6 in the ninth, two outs, runner on second with Jay Bruce coming up to the plate as the tying run. Terry Collins pulled Pedro Beato and brought in Byrdak — a move that frightened me (Jason Isringhausen was not available after throwing 29 pitches in Monday’s save). But Byrdak struck out Bruce Monday on three pitches, and the lefty-lefty move worked again — he struck him out yet again. It was Byrdak’s first save in four years.
Jonathon Niese got the win despite giving up those five runs. Johnny Cueto was the hard-luck loser — the six runs he gave up were all unearned.
David Wright had two more hits. Daniel Murphy was three-for-four. He is now hitting .313 — fifth in the league.
The Mets go for three in a row Wednesday.