Familia records crucial five-out save for Mets
Closer whiffs Stanton, gets out of jam in 8th before closing it out in 9th
NEW YORK -- Before Sunday's game, an eventual 4-3 win over the Marlins, Mets right-hander Jeurys Familia went to his manager with a request.
"Just get me in the game," Familia told Terry Collins.
He hadn't pitched in three days, and he was getting antsy.
Collins indeed put him on the mound, but a little earlier than the closer is used to. With one out in the eighth inning and Giancarlo Stanton -- who Collins called the most dangerous hitter in baseball -- coming to the plate, the Mets' manager had to get his shutdown closer into the game.
"He was going to face Stanton," Collins said. "What I was hoping was we could get a couple guys out, get into a four-out kind of situation, but he was facing Stanton."
Familia struck out the Major Leagues' RBI leader on four pitches, ending with an 89-mph slider that had Stanton's bat and body moving in different directions. Familia allowed a single to Justin Bour before retiring Jeff Baker to get out of the inning.
He came out again for the ninth inning, allowing one more single on his way to a five-out save. It wasn't easy -- five-out saves never are -- but Familia got it done, collecting his 15th save of the season in 16 chances.
"He comes in and gets a five-out save there, that's so big," said Mets catcher Anthony Recker.
It was just the second time this season that Familia has exceeded 25 pitches or thrown more than one inning, the other being Tuesday against the Phillies.
The five-out save added to what is shaping up to be a career season for the 25-year-old. In 25 innings, Familia holds a 1.44 ERA and has blown just one save.
A handful of adjustments, both mental and physical, have contributed to Familia's rapid progress. His teammates have noticed a more mature version of the pitcher who blew as many saves as he completed last season. Familia said it's just a product of focus.
"I just try to keep my ball down, try to attack," Familia said. "Maybe throw my slider over the plate and make quality pitches. I know I can get hitters out."
Collins put it more simply.
"He believes he's the closer here," Collins said. "Which he is."