The atmosphere at Citi Field yesterday as Jose Reyes strode to the plate for his first at-bat was one of total appreciation.
That quickly changed after Reyes was pulled from the Mets’ 3-0 win following his bunt single to lead off the inning. As Reyes walked to the dugout — replaced by pinch runner Justin Turner — the decision was heavily booed by those in attendance and became a hot button topic on social media networks.
“We talked this morning, Jose, when he came in [and] I asked him how he wanted to go about this. I wanted to take him out at the appropriate time. He said if he got a hit his first time up, he’d like to come out,” Collins said.
Reyes’s .337 average led Ryan Braun by two one-thousandths of a point in the NL?batting race. Braun had entered last night’s game against the Pirates needing three hits to pass Reyes. No Met player had ever won a batting title.
“I heard some comments from the stands. I don’t blame them. People pay a good price to come to these games and they have to understand I ask these players to do a lot. We worked hard to get their respect and they deserve ours,” said Collins, who explained that he did not want their relationship ruined if he overruled Reyes’ decision.
Reyes is a free agent after the season. If yesterday’s game was Reyes’s last with the Mets, he goes down in the franchise’s record books with 1,300 hits in 4,453 plate appearances The four-time All-Star has one Silver Slugger award and 222 doubles, 99 triples, 370 stolen bases and 735 runs scored. Reyes ended the season with a .337 batting average, 101 runs scored, 44 RBI, 31 doubles, 16 triples and seven home runs in 124 games.
“I understand what’s going on. I’m going to be a free agent, so we’re going to see what happens. We’re going to see what’s going on,” Reyes said. “[It’s] too soon to say [if] it’s my last game. Like I always say, I appreciate all the love the fans give me. They are always going to be in my heart.”
Miguel Batista (5-2) threw his first complete game shutout since July 2006. He held the Reds to a first-inning Edgar Renteria single and Chris Heisey’s second-inning leadoff double. Nick Evans’ RBI single in the fourth was the game-winning run. Queens-native Mike Baxter slugged his first Major League home run, a two-run shot off of Edison Volquez (5-7) in the sixth.
The Mets finished the year with a 77-85 record.
Follow Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.