Harvey Jay Bruce Jersey handles Phils, Doc as Mets cruise to victory

There was no ceremony at Citizens Bank Park, no official changing of the guard. But the juxtaposition was nonetheless stark in a 7-2 Mets victory over the Phillies on Monday, reflecting what the Mets hope might be a permanent shift.Jay Bruce Authentic Jersey.

Roy Halladay, a New York nemesis for more than a decade, labored through four-plus ineffective innings in losing to the Mets for the first time since 2001. Meanwhile, Matt Harvey, a rising Mets star, continued his assault on the National League.

The result was a lopsided victory that encapsulated one team’s struggles and another’s bright future.

“Anytime you face Doc, it’s something special,” said Harvey, who admitted to feeling a bit star-struck. “We put up runs against him, and fortunately I was able to put up zeros for us.”Jay Bruce Jerseys Sale.

Halladay’s trouble began when Marlon Byrd, who authored Sunday’s walk-off victory against the Marlins, punched a one-out double into center field in the second inning. Halladay plunked the next batter, Lucas Duda, bringing the NL’s RBI leader to the plate.

Once again, John Buck converted, crushing a Halladay cutter to the opposite field for a three-run homer.

“It feels like I’m doing what I’m capable of doing,” said Buck, whose 12 RBIs are the most by any player in franchise history over the first seven games of a season. “I’m not trying too hard to do too much. I’m just letting it come to me, and the results have been good.”

The Mets plated another run off Halladay on Duda’s single in the third inning, then knocked the two-time Cy Young Award winner out of the game with three consecutive hits to open the fifth.

The Mets Jay Bruce Jersey were not completely done with their rout of Phillies pitching, breaking the game open on Ruben Tejada’s two-run single off reliever Chad Durbin. That officially closed the book on Halladay, who allowed seven runs on six hits and three walks. He recorded a dozen outs.

“That’s not Doc,” said Terry Collins, who had never previously beaten Halladay in two-plus years as manager of the Mets. “I don’t want to face him all that much, but if you’re going to get him, you’d better get him when things aren’t right.”

No such trouble awaited Harvey, who struck out nine batters in his second start of the season. The Phillies scored their only run off him when Jimmy Rollins doubled to open the fourth inning, moved to third on Chase Utley’s single and scored on Ryan Howard’s sacrifice fly. Otherwise, Harvey was brilliant, allowing three hits and two walks.

He lowered his career ERA to 2.33 in 12 starts, striking out nearly 11 batters per nine innings.

“He’s a top-of-the-rotation guy,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.Jay Bruce Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

Though Harvey did allow his first run of the season, his second outing was in some ways more impressive than the first. Lacking the same type of fastball command that defined his season debut, Harvey relied more heavily on his offspeed pitches — his second-, third- and fourth-best offerings. But the results were nearly identical. Several Phillies hitters looked overmatched vs. Harvey, the same way the Mets have against Halladay for a decade.

Not since the days of Mike Piazza and Benny Agbayani had the Mets beaten Halladay, who lorded over them with an 8-0 record and 2.12 ERA from 2002-12. Halladay walked a total of six batters in his nine most recent starts against the Mets, allowing a total of 16 runs.

So it was almost jarring to see him continually falling behind hitters Tuesday, walking three and giving up seven runs — the equivalent of half a decade’s worth of offense. His struggles were even more pronounced because they came on the same Citizens Bank Park mound that Harvey dominated, reaching 98 mph with his fastball.

Mets Jay Bruce Jersey hitters cautioned afterward that it will not always be like this. At age 35, even with eroding abilities, Halladay is still respected by the opposition.Cheap Jay Bruce Jersey.

“People can say he’s struggling or whatever you want, but he’s still Roy Halladay,” Buck said. “He still throws good.”

It’s just that on this night, on this mound, Harvey threw better. And it probably won’t be the last time that happens.

Nathan Jay Bruce Jersey gets 300th save with wild ending

It wasn’t the way Joe Nathan Jay Bruce Jersey had envisioned getting his 300th save, the milestone that places him among baseball’s elite closers, but take this to the bank: he’s not throwing it back.

Instant replay showed Nathan’s ninth-inning, two-out, runner-at-first, 3-2 curveball to Ben Zobrist darting outside of the strike zone. What it also showed was home plate umpire Marty Foster, taking a deliberate step back as he yanked his right fist backwards.

Strike three. Game over.Jay Bruce Jerseys Sale.

On the mound, Nathan wiped the ‘I can’t believe I got that call’ expression off his face and breathed a sigh of relief. He mouthed one word: “Wow!”

“I think I might have been the last guy on the field to realize the game was over,” Nathan said.

It was. Nathan’s 300th save allowed the Rangers to escape with a 5-4 victory over the Rays in the opener of a three-game series Monday night at The Ballpark in Arlington.

The ninth-inning drama threatened to erase the memory of a game the Rangers had seemed to have well in hand after back-to-back solo home runs by A.J. Pierzynski and Mitch Moreland had given them a 3-1 lead back in the fourth. When Elvis Andrus provided extra padding with a two-run single in the seventh, Texas manager Ron Washington felt confident his bullpen could wrap things up.

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Or not.Jay Bruce Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

The Rays rallied for two runs in the eighth off relievers Michael Kirkman and Derek Lowe and had cut the Texas lead to 5-4 on Sean Rodriguez’s sharp two-out ninth-inning single up the middle off Nathan.

That was not how Nathan had things planned.

“They have a lot of guys on that team that have given me tough at-bats and tonight was no different,” Nathan said. “It was the tough part of their lineup and they’ve seen me a lot in my career.

“Zobrist has a pretty good history against me, so I was just trying to be careful with him and they had another pretty good hitter in Longoria behind him.”

A pretty good history? You might say so. Zobrist came to the plate 4-for-5 with two homers and a walk in six plate appearances against Nathan.Cheap Jay Bruce Jersey.

“That’s why the Rodriguez at-bat was so huge,” Nathan Jay Bruce Jersey said. “I thought I made a good pitch on 3-2. I thought it was going to be enough to get him out and he hits a bullet that almost goes off my elbow.

“Now I’m thinking, ‘Crap!’ I know what’s coming up and I know the numbers. I’m just trying to be careful and make pitches. On 3-1 [to Zobrist] we went backdoor slider [for strike two] and then tried to get him to fish at the backdoor curveball and got the call.”

The Rays couldn’t believe it. Manager Joe Maddon followed Foster and crew chief Tim Welke off the field, arguing the call all the way.

The Rangers simply got off the field as fast as they could.

“I threw the pitch where I wanted to, he just didn’t offer at it like I thought he would,” Nathan said. “I think it’s safe to say we got a very fortunate call there, but we’ll take it. We’ve had plenty go against us, so we’ll take ’em when we get ’em for us.

“Did I draw it up like this for my 300th? No, but like I said, we’ll take it.”

Marlins Jay Bruce Jersey: Lots of new faces

With plenty of young faces in the rebuilding Marlins’ lineup, there isn’t much history for Mike Redmond to exploit when it comes to matchups.

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“We get all this information and we look at all these matchups,” Redmond said. “If you look, most of our hitters have two or three at-bats maybe against the pitcher on the other team. It’s just they are very young in the Major Leagues. There is going to be some growing pains. Just have to get some at-bats under their belts.”

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• The Marlins Jay Bruce Jersey are opening up a nine-game, 10-day homestand after a six-game road trip to begin the year. Each of Miami’s three opponents will be from the National League East.

Justin and B.J. Upton have already shown why they could be so important to the Braves after coming over this offseason. In the series opener in Miami on Monday, Justin scored both of the game’s runs while hitting his sixth homer of the year. B.J. delivered his lone homer of the young season in Atlanta’s dramatic walk-off win over Chicago on Saturday.Jay Bruce Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

Justin Upton hit five homers, scored seven runs and drove in seven runs (including three game-winning RBIs) to earn a National League Player of the Week nomination last week, while establishing a franchise record with the five homers in the team’s first five games.

• With this series, Atlanta opens a stretch of 18 games from April 8-28, with 16 of them coming on the road. The Braves’ only home games in the upcoming three-week stretch will be two contests against the Royals on April 16-17.

• The Braves are 6-1 to start the season for the first time since 2007, when they opened at 7-1.Cheap Jay Bruce Jersey.

Marlins Jay Bruce Jersey infielder Placido Polanco is a .310 (96-for-310) career hitter against Atlanta, while Donovan Solano has 13 hits in 15 career games against the Braves.

• The Braves won 14 of the 18 meetings between the two teams last year, including seven of nine at Marlins Park. Miami hasn’t had a winning season against Atlanta since 2009, when the Marlins went 10-8.

Medlen Jay Bruce Jersey, LeBlanc look to take momentum into Miami

The Marlins Jay Bruce Jersey and Braves are headed in different directions early into the 2013 season. But they’ll send two pitchers with an even early slate to the hill on Tuesday night in the second game of this week’s series.

After the Braves took the series opener on Monday, 2-0, they improved to 6-1. The Marlins dropped to 1-6, falling in their home opener. Jay Bruce Jerseys Sale.

But both starting pitchers in Tuesday’s game — Atlanta’s Kris Medlen and Miami’s Wade LeBlanc — enter the tilt with identical 0-1 records and 3.60 ERAs after their season debuts. Each gave up two earned runs in five innings — LeBlanc against the Nationals, and Medlen against the Phillies.

“The last two innings were really good, really efficient, really aggressive,” LeBlanc said of his previous outing. “My stuff sharpened up, and I felt I got into a rhythm. I’ll try to roll that up into the bullpen between starts, and try to carry it over into tomorrow.”

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The Miami lefty has never beaten the Braves, clocking in with an 0-3 record and 6.62 ERA in six appearances (three starts). He faced Atlanta twice during Grapefruit League play this spring, both on the Braves’ turf in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

“I think when you’re in the same division, you end up facing them several times anyway,” LeBlanc said. “Whether it is the Braves, the Nationals or Mets, it doesn’t matter. It just ends up that’s the way the Spring Training rotation fell. My stuff and my approach is going to be a little different. Their approach is going to be a little bit different because we’re not working on things.”

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The young Marlins will surely have their hands full against Medlen, who broke onto the scene last year when he went 10-1 with a 1.57 ERA. He walked four and struck out three in his first start of the year. He struck out two hitters in a perfect, nine-pitch fifth inning, with hopes to take that momentum into Tuesday’s start.

“The last two or three innings, I felt more comfortable,” Medlen Jay Bruce Jersey said. “I made the adjustments I needed to make. I will just build off that and go from there.”Jay Bruce Authentic Jersey.

Pena Jay Bruce Jersey proving he can thrive off bench in NL

There was not much fanfare when the Braves signed Ramiro Pena in December. But while filling in for injured shortstop Andrelton Simmons on Saturday and Sunday, Pena delivered a couple of crucial hits and provided a glimpse of the value he can provide as a bench player in the National League. Jay Bruce Jerseys Sale. 

“Pena Jay Bruce Jersey does a [heck of a] job,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “I watched him play in Spring Training and I told him — and it’s not his fault — ‘You’ve missed a lot of money by playing in the American League.’ He’s so valuable in the National League game.”

While serving as a backup infielder for the Yankees during portions of the past four seasons, Pena did not get frequent chances to pinch-hit or enter a game as a defensive replacement during a double-switch. With the designated hitter in place, these opportunities are few and far between for AL bench players.

As a switch-hitter, Pena will likely get plenty of pinch-hit opportunities with the Braves. In addition, his solid glove will put him in position to play any of the infield positions in a late-inning double-switch situation.

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Or as he showed while playing shortstop this past weekend, Pena has the ability to deliver in a starting role. His two-run, eighth-inning single fueled the comeback in Saturday’s win over the Cubs. He delivered another two-run single that gave the Braves a lead they would not relinquish in Sunday’s victory.

When he learned Freddie Freeman would miss at least the next two weeks with a strained right oblique muscle, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez asked club officials about how much Evan Gattis had played first base in the Minor League level.Cheap Jay Bruce Jersey.

But it appears Chris Johnson will serve as the everyday first baseman while Freeman is sidelined. While Johnson draws this assignment, Juan Francisco will play third base on an everyday basis.

“I think Chris Johnson will serve that purpose and serve it well,” Gonzalez said.

Gattis Jay Bruce Jersey made his second straight start at catcher on Monday, and he is expected to play the position more frequently than Gerald Laird over the next couple a weeks. Six-time All-Star catcher Brian McCann is expected to be sidelined until at least the latter part of this month while recovering from right shoulder surgery. Jay Bruce Authentic Jersey.

If pressed into an emergency situation, Gonzalez said either of his two current catchers — Gattis or Laird — could play first base. But he said Laird would likely be the first option.

Simmons returns, but B.J. leads off again.Jay Bruce Jersey

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez was happy to put Andrelton Simmons back in his lineup for Monday night’s game against the Marlins. But Gonzalez opted to keep B.J. Upton in the leadoff role that Simmons had manned before missing Saturday and Sunday’s games with a sore right thumb.

Gonzalez Jay Bruce Jersey was encouraged to see Upton break out of his early-season skid by recording three hits and drawing three walks in the nine plate appearances he tallied while hitting leadoff on Saturday and Sunday.

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But along with wanting to stick with the hot hand at the top of his lineup, the manager’s decision was also influenced by the fact Evan Gattis is expected to fill the cleanup spot on a regular basis while Freddie Freeman spends the next two weeks on the disabled list with a strained right oblique muscle.

Gattis made his second straight start at catcher on Monday, and he is expected to get more playing time than Gerald Laird over the next couple of weeks.

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“I did a couple lineups and it just seems right when you put B.J. there, especially now that Freeman is not in the middle of the lineup,” Gonzalez said. “If you lead Simmons off, the bottom third of that lineup gets clogged up a little bit. Then you’ve got to either hit Chris Johnson or [Juan] Francisco [eighth].”

Gonzalez moved Simmons to the eighth spot with the hope that his ability to consistently put the ball in play would help turn the lineup over.

“I like hitting leadoff,” Simmons said. “But it’s not an issue.”Jay Bruce Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

Simmons Jay Bruce Jersey said that his thumb, which he hurt sliding into second base on Friday night, also will not be an issue. He will wear a wrap on his hand to keep the thumb stable until it completely heals.

Upton has hit .249 with a .331 on-base percentage in 167 career games in the leadoff spot. After going hitless in his first 16 at-bats of this season, he entered Monday having reached safely with a hit or a walk in five of his last six plate appearances.

While there was some discussion about entering the season with Upton in the leadoff spot, Simmons was essentially given the role by default. The slick-fielding shortstop hit .289 with a .335 on-base percentage while compiling just 182 plate appearances after making his Major League debut last year.

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“It’s fine,” Simmons said. “Whatever works. If we keep winning, that’s fine with me.”

J-Up Jay Bruce Jersey stays hot as Maholm, Braves two-hit Marlins

Justin Upton Jay Bruce Jersey is eventually going to go through consecutive games without a home run, and Paul Maholm is destined to surrender a run at some point. But the Braves have had some fun watching these two players look invincible during the first week of the season.

Upton continued to add to the splendor of his early-season success, as he highlighted a four-hit performance with his sixth home run of the season and provided a masterful Maholm all the support he needed in Monday night’s 2-0 win over the Marlins at Marlins Park.

“I told [Upton] to just keep doing it when I pitch,” Maholm said. “He’s obviously one of the top players in the league. It’s awesome that we were able to trade for him and get him in this lineup. It’s fun to watch. Not having to face him, it’s a lot better.”

Craig Kimbrel stranded two runners in a rocky ninth inning that preserved a two-hit shutout and the contributions of Maholm, who surrendered one hit over seven scoreless innings. The veteran left-hander has not allowed a run in 12 2/3 innings through his first two starts.

“He’s going out there and mixing his pitches well and getting outs,” Upton said. “We have fun playing behind that, and that gives us confidence at the plate.”

Confidence is certainly not an issue right now for Upton, who highlighted the eighth four-hit game of his career with a sixth-inning leadoff home run that was headed for downtown Miami before it hit a pole behind a 401-foot sign located beyond the left-field wall.

Jay Bruce Jerseys Sale.The solo shot gave Upton his sixth home run in just his 25th at-bat of the season. He hit his sixth home run last year on June 20, in his 228th at-bat of the season.

Upton has positioned himself to break the franchise record for homers (10) in April. It is currently shared by Andres Galarraga, who did it twice (1998 and 2000) and Ryan Klesko (1996).

“You definitely notice it,” Upton said of his impressive early-season success. “You can’t ignore it. But you’ve got to try to not get too high on it.”

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While hitting .423 with six home runs and a 1.192 slugging percentage through his first seven games with the Braves, Upton has supported the belief that he is on a mission to prove the D-backs were wrong to give up on him and diligently attempt to trade him before dealing him to the Braves.

But Upton Jay Bruce Jersey  said he is just having fun with his new team, which has won six of this season’s first seven games.

“You can’t live like that,” Upton said. “You can’t live hoping other people fail. I’m just not that type of person. I’m with a new team now and I’m having fun. This is a great clubhouse and a great place to play. I’m just enjoying myself.”

Upton finished a triple shy of the cycle and displayed some gritty hustle when he went from first base to third base on Evan Gattis’ eighth-inning single.Cheap Jay Bruce Jersey.

Along with the monstrous homer he hit off Kevin Slowey in the sixth inning, Upton provided a pair of singles and a fourth-inning leadoff double that put him in position to score the game’s first run on Dan Uggla’s groundout.

“There are times you tip your hat and say this guy is hitting really well, and hope you don’t have to face him in a key situation,” Slowey said. “He did a wonderful job tonight.”

Jay Bruce Cincinnati Reds Jersey.With Upton providing all of the necessary damage on the offensive end, Maholm cruised through his seven scoreless innings with comfort. He issued two of his three walks to Giancarlo Stanton, and surrendered his only hit when Placido Polanco singled to center with two outs in the third inning.

After walking Stanton to put runners at first and second base in the third inning, Maholm retired 13 of the final 14 batters that he faced. The only blemish during this stretch came when he grazed Juan Pierre with a 0-2 fastball in the fifth inning.

“Obviously I’m going to eventually give up runs,” Maholm said. “But I’m going to try to ride this as long as possible. Every time out, I’m going to try to do the same thing. I’m going to try to be aggressive, get some quick outs, mix speeds and get some ground balls. Some days it’s going to work and some days it’s not.”

CC restores order as Yanks Brandon Phillips Jersey blank Tigers

They never schedule elimination games in the first week of April, as CC Sabathia dutifully reminded a questioning voice in the visiting clubhouse at Comerica Park, but there are always important ones that teams need to win.

In a contest that didn’t feel as lopsided as the score indicated, Sabathia permitted just four hits and did not allow a runner to touch third base over seven scoreless innings, leading the Yankees to a 7-0 victory over the Tigers on Sunday.

“I think you always want to try to avoid a sweep, finish a series well and play well,” Sabathia said. “It was good to get a win today. That’s an unbelievable lineup. We definitely worked harder than the final number indicates.”

Jayson Nix slugged a two-run homer and Francisco Cervelli drove in two runs as the Yankees Brandon Phillips Jersey touched up Justin Verlander, picking up their second victory of the young campaign and completing their only regular-season trip to the Motor City this season.

“The only must-win you need is when you can be eliminated,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “But wins are important, there’s no doubt about it. Wins in April are extremely important, just like May, June and the rest of the year. It feels good to win a game, and hopefully we can carry it over into tomorrow.”

Brandon Phillips Shirt.Sabathia is known for a history of slow starts in April, and he did not appear dominant on Opening Day, sparking some concerns about his velocity. He may still be building to midseason form, sitting mostly 88-91 mph on Sunday, but showed good command of his fastball and changeup in a 114-pitch performance.

“Today almost seemed like a little bit of a blah,” Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. “I don’t know exactly why. I think the biggest key was Sabathia. He pitched really good. He threw other stuff in fastball counts, made good pitches, 3-2 changeups, backdoor breaking balls. He pitched really good.”

Sabathia walked three and struck out four in the start. He pumped his fist and let out a roar after striking out Austin Jackson to end the seventh, a sequence that ended his afternoon, but said that his outburst was not one of celebration.

“I was really upset with myself,” Sabathia said. “It’s the seventh inning, we have a 3-0 lead and I went 3-2 with every hitter. I was just upset with myself for not making better pitches and maybe being able to go back out for the eighth.”

Verlander entered the eighth inning but never appeared razor-sharp in his second start of the season. The Yankees touched him only in the second inning, when they scored three runs.

Cervelli doubled home Ichiro Suzuki with a well-struck blast to left-center field to put the Yankees on the board, and Nix barreled a changeup for a two-out blast — his first home run of the season — clearing the wall in left field.

“It’s great. It feels really good,” Nix said. “I haven’t had a whole lot of success off him. He is who he is, you know? But every time you play, you always have a plan and a way you think you can have some success, and we were able to do that today.”

Girardi said that he was pleased with the at-bats he saw all day from Nix, who finished 3-for-4.

“We’ve talked about, everyone needs to pitch in around here,” Girardi said. “And that’s what he’s doing.”Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

Verlander completed 7 1/3 innings, scattering seven hits, walking two and striking out four in a 111-pitch outing, before yielding to left-hander Phil Coke. Verlander said that even with a depleted lineup, the Yanks provided a tough challenge.

“I don’t care who they got missing, that’s the Yankees Brandon Phillips Jersey ,” Verlander said. “They have a winning mentality about them and they’re going to find a way to win this year. You don’t ever take anything for granted. As you saw, it was the bottom of the lineup that did the damage.”

New York extended the lead in the eighth off Coke as Ichiro lifted a deep sacrifice fly to right field and Cervelli banged a run-scoring single to center field.Cheap Brandon Phillips Jersey.

Kevin Youkilis ripped a two-run single off Octavio Dotel in the ninth to increase the lead to seven runs, and Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth inning in a non-save situation.

“CC came back and gave us seven strong innings,” Rivera said. “It was real good, and we did the rest. At the same time, we needed to win today.”

As the Yankees dressed for their flight to Cleveland, Cervelli said that he sees reasons to believe that the Yankees’ fortunes are about to improve.

“We need days like that,” Cervelli said. “When they can pitch like that, I know everybody can support the guys — like Andy [Pettitte] the other day, CC right now. I believe this next week, everything is going to change.”

Byrd Brandon Phillips Jersey’s walk-off hit hands Mets second series win

It is only natural for Marlon Byrd to accept his part-time job with the Mets, considering how desperate he once was for any job at all. Stuck in Ciudad Obregón, Mexico this winter, wondering “if any organization was going to take a flyer on me,” Byrd signed with the Mets late in the offseason despite no clearly defined role.

In Queens, he has settled in as part of Terry Collins’ mad outfield experiment, seeking harmony and playing time alongside five others. The motley family has somehow succeeded. Byrd hit a walk-off, two-run single in the ninth inning Sunday, giving the Mets a 4-3 win over the Marlins and further justifying this unorthodox outfield mix.

“We have no egos, no selfishness,” Byrd Brandon Phillips Jersey said. “It’s about getting better.”

The Mets appear to be doing just that, opening the season with consecutive series wins for the first time since 2006. It all seemed unlikely until Marlins closer Steve Cishek plunked Ruben Tejada with a pitch in the ninth, giving the Mets some one-out life.

The next batter, pinch-hitter (and fellow part-time outfielder) Kirk Nieuwenhuis, poked a single in front of a no-doubles defense. Seeking to stay aggressive, Tejada scampered to third base, allowing Nieuwenhuis to advance to second as the potential winning run.

“He don’t have a great arm,” Tejada said of Marlins left fielder Juan Pierre. “That’s why I took the chance.”

His aggression proved critical. Byrd, who struck out in twice in key situations earlier in the game, stranding multiple runners in scoring position, grounded a Cishek sinker past a drawn-in infield, squirting it just inside the third-base bag for the game-winner.

“It was nice to finally come through in the end,” Byrd said.Brandon Phillips Shirt.

For most of the three-hour, 38-minute marathon, frustration was the prevailing emotion. Making his Major League debut at age 20, Marlins starter Jose Fernandez was electric, striking out six of the first 12 batters he faced. Though Fernandez remained perfect into the fourth, the Marlins pulled him after five innings and 80 pitches, having allowed nothing more than Anthony Recker’s RBI double. In Marlins manager Mike Redmond’s eyes, Fernandez “deserved to win the game.”

Trouble surfaced immediately when Daniel Murphy greeted Miami’s first reliever, A.J. Ramos, with a leadoff homer in the sixth. But despite putting the potential tying run in scoring position two innings in a row, the Mets could not convert until Byrd’s hit in the ninth.

Credit the bullpen for creating all those chances. After spot starter Aaron Laffey coughed up 10 hits and three runs over 4 1/3 innings, Greg Burke wriggled out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth. Burke and four others combined on 4 2/3 scoreless innings, keeping the Mets close all afternoon.

“Fantastic job, everybody through and through,” said Burke, who threw more breaking balls in an attempt to generate strikeouts, rather than relying always on ground balls. “We picked each other up.”Cheap Brandon Phillips Jersey.

That might as well be the mantra for New York’s outfield, which absorbed criticism all winter from fans, the media, and even the club’s own general manager. After the Mets missed out on acquiring veteran Michael Bourn early in February, they resigned themselves to an unimproved outfield alignment.

The only new face was Byrd Brandon Phillips Jersey , who shined in Mexico before reporting to Spring Training. In a daily jigsaw puzzle, Collins has mixed and matched Byrd with Nieuwenhuis, Mike Baxter, Collin Cowgill and Jordany Valdespin; the only constant has been Lucas Duda in left.

Collins believes that distributing starts among those outfielders has served to keep them all sharp, better preparing them for pinch-hit opportunities. Remember Nieuwenhuis’ big hit in the ninth? That’s the type of thing that Collins has envisioned.

“If you’re on the bench one game, it doesn’t have any meaning,” Nieuwenhuis said. “As long as we’re all contributing … that’s all that matters.”

Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds Jersey.It helps that all six players provide different skills, from Nieuwenhuis’ defense to Baxter’s patience to Valdespin’s electricity to Cowgill’s right-handed pop. It also helps that Byrd, the lone veteran of the group, has accepted his part-time role in Flushing. What’s more, he seems to have embraced it, serving as a resource for his younger teammates

“I can answer any questions,” Byrd said. “I’ve been everything from a multi-year deal, to a suspension, to outrighted, to designated for assignment, to traded. I ended up living in a lot of cities. I’m just a guy who can come in here and help.”

Of course, nothing helps more than winning baseball, particularly early in the season while the team’s schedule is soft. The Mets could have escaped their first homestand with a .500 record, winning three of their first six against the Padres and Marlins.

Instead, they took four of six in a late turn of events.

“If we hang around long enough,” said Byrd, remnants of a whip-cream pie still in his hair, “we always have a fighting chance.”

Fernandez Brandon Phillips Jersey cool and collected in history-making debut

No matter the level, batters don’t unnerve Jose Fernandez. Actually, very little makes him nervous at all.

“The only thing I’m scared of are roller coasters and snakes,” the Marlins’ right-hander said. “Everything else, after that, I’m good about. Those two things, I don’t like.”

To Fernandez Brandon Phillips Jersey, facing big league hitters is a dream come true. For the opportunity to play baseball and enjoy a better quality of life, the 20-year-old risked everything when he defected from Cuba five years ago.

If Sunday is any indication of what is to come, Fernandez has the makings of a future MLB star. His big league debut against the Mets at Citi Field was inspiring, although it ended in disappointment after the Mets rallied with two runs off Steve Cishek in the ninth inning for a 4-3 win.

“He did great. He deserved to win that game,” Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. “That one hurts. We talked about what he can do. He showed it. He has a great fastball. For a 20-year-old kid, he’s got some great secondary pitches.”

Fernandez, the youngest Marlins pitcher ever to make his MLB debut, struck out eight while allowing one run on three hits over five innings.

The eight strikeouts, including freezing David Wright on three pitches in the fourth inning, are the most ever by a Marlin in a big league debut.

On Saturday, Fernandez put his path to the big leagues into perspective.Cheap Brandon Phillips Jersey.

“Baseball, it is important,” he said the day before taking the mound. “This is one of the biggest things. But I’m not scared to face David Wright.”

After the Marlins’ disheartening loss, Fernandez claimed he didn’t have any jitters.

“I don’t think I was nervous at all,” he said. “I was actually more nervous when I was warming up in the bullpen. It was fun.”

Pressure has a completely different meaning for Fernandez because his journey to the Majors was anything but conventional.

As a player, he’s made the leap to the big leagues without pitching higher than Class A. But it’s his personal plight that is so incredible.

On March 20, 2008, Fernandez Brandon Phillips Jersey was part of a small group that defected from Cuba.

As their boat sped away, he spent about 90 heart-racing seconds ducking as the craft was shot at by Cuban authorities. Eventually, he was safely out of reach, and on April 5, 2008, he set foot on United States soil.Brandon Phillips Cincinnati Reds Jersey.

Five years and two days later, the righty made his Major League debut. He is making the leap from Class A to the big leagues as the Marlins’ fifth starter.

Fernandez’s first pitch Sunday came 1:26 p.m. ET — a 93-mph called strike to Collin Cowgill.

“After the first pitch, I got that in, I was like, ‘All right,'” Fernandez said. “I wasn’t trying to think it was a big deal. I tried to do the best that I can.”

Considering all Fernandez has gone through, playing baseball is easy — even if it is at the big league level under the bright lights of New York City.

Fear is something he has learned to dismiss.

“The only thing I was scared about was getting in that boat, getting shot at,” Fernandez said. “Sometimes jumping in the water. After that, I’m not scared about anything else. I’ve been in jail. I’ve been shot at. I’ve been in the water. What am I going to do?

“That’s why, when people say to me, ‘Are you nervous, are you scared?’ I’m not scared to do anything.”

Brandon Phillips Shirt.From his first pitch, Fernandez was a picture of complete composure. He had an eight-pitch first inning with seven strikes. In the second inning, he struck out the side in order.

“I wasn’t surprised,” Redmond said. “I saw him in Spring Training. That’s what everybody talked about. The difference between him and some of the other pitchers was the way he handled himself. The way he works on the mound, and his confidence. I think we all saw that today.”

Since 1916, Fernandez is just the seventh starter under age 21 to strike out eight or more in his MLB debut. The last to do so was David Clyde, who fanned eight with Texas in 1973.

A power pitcher who reached 97 mph on Sunday, Fernandez’s first big league strikeout was Ike Davis, caught looking at an 80-mph breaking ball.

Rated seventh on MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospect List, Fernandez retired the first 10 batters he faced. He surrendered his first hit to Daniel Murphy, who lined a single to center in the fourth inning. It came on the rookie’s 40th pitch.

The lone run Fernandez allowed came in the fifth on Anthony Recker’s double.

With just 138 1/3 Minor League innings under his belt, Fernandez is on an innings limit between 150-170 this year. So after 80 pitches, the right-hander was lifted.

“Fernandez, obviously, his path is different,” Redmond said. “Everybody has a different appreciation when they hit that field. I know how special it is for him to walk out on that field. I can’t even imagine the emotions. It’s our job to hopefully put it in perspective for him, and just focus on the baseball.”