Journeyman Marlon Byrd was asked how we felt immediately following yesterday’s walk-off win.
“Feels great. Feels great, man,” Byrd said, minutes after his two-run single in the bottom of the ninth gave the Mets a 4-3 come-from-behind win over the Marlins at Citi Field.
With the win, the Mets ended the six-game, season-opening homestand with a 4-2 record.
“I think 4-2 is a pretty good start,” Ike Davis said. “You want to win series at home.”
Byrd slapped a 1-0 sinker from Steve Cishek up the third base line to plate Ruben Tejada and Kirk Nieuwenhuis with the game-tying and game-winning runs before being mobbed by his teammates.
Byrd’s game-winner was his only hit in three at-bats. He came into the game in the fifth inning as part of a double switch when starter Aaron Laffey was pulled.
“Nice to come through,” Byrd said. “This is the first big one of many.”
Byrd played winter ball in Mexico in an attempt to rebuild his career, and was signed by the Mets to a minor-league deal in February. Byrd said his role is to be a “veteran presence” snd help the team’s young outfield of Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter and Lucas Duda.
“[It’s] got to be amazing for him. Stuff like that changes your life,” Davis said of Byrd. “He’s fun to be around. He’s got a youthful thing about him. Good energy.”
While Byrd’s game-winner took center stage, it was the opening act that had the Mets tipping their caps as Jose Fernandez, the 14th overall pick in the 2011 draft, made his major-league debut.
Fernandez struck out eight in five innings, the most ever in Marlins history for a starter making his first career start. He threw 80 pitches, 53 for strikes. He allowed one run — Anthony Recker’s RBI double in the fifth — on three hits and walked one.
Before the game, manager Terry Collins offered a prescient scouting report.
“I know this kid’s got electric stuff. We’ve heard all about it,” Collins said. “All of the tape and stuff we’ve seen on him, he’s legit. Ninety-five to 97 [mph fastball]. Good curveball. Changeup is a little bit a work in progress but it looks like it’s plus stuff.
“We better have some patience today. When you face a young pitcher who’s amped up, the one thing you can’t do is make the game easy for him. Make him work.”
Fernandez’s performance earned rave reviews from Collins.
“Strikes,” Collins said when asked what was most impressive about the right-hander. “Strike one on almost everybody. [He] threw his breaking ball behind in some counts. [He] wasn’t behind very much. [I] looked up and it was the sixth inning, he had 58 pitches. That’s pretty impressive for a young guy with a power arm. You saw the same thing you see in a lot of good young up-and-coming guys. We didn’t get any hits and all of a sudden somebody got to second base, and he went from 94 [mph] to 96 [mph]. When they have that ability to step it up, that’s pretty special.
“He’s pretty impressive.”
Follow Mets beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.