WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets avoided being swept by the Phillies and finished their road trip to Washington and Philadelphia at 3-3. Chris Young outpitched Cliff Lee in the series finale for seven innings, but the game took another seven innings after that to be decided.
Catcher Ronny Paulino made his first Mets start, and went 5-for-7. He produced the go-ahead RBI on a 14th-inning double. The five hits set a career high and were the most ever by a player making his first Mets start. Paulino, who pinch-hit Friday, passed Xavier Nady (2006), Ty Wigginton (2002), Bill Almon (1980) and Richie Hebner (1979) -- who had four apiece in their first Mets starts, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Pedro Beato, who had watched the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks from the roof of Xaverian High School in Brooklyn, tossed three scoreless innings of relief.
In the stands with Daniel Murphy batting in the ninth against Ryan Madson, a “U-S-A, U-S-A” chant broke out at Citizens Bank Park as news of Osama bin Laden’s death spread.
THE BIRD: Tim Byrdak, the lefty specialist in the Mets’ bullpen, was summoned to face lefty-htting Ryan Howard with two out and two inherited runners from Jason Isringhausen on base in the eighth, trying to protect a 1-0 lead, rather than Terry Collins going directly to Francisco Rodriguez at that point for a four-out save attempt. Byrdak surrendered a game-tying single.
Rodriguez then entered. After a walk loaded the bases, he retired Raul Ibanez on a ground ball to halt the threat there and drop Ibanez to 0-for-his-last-34. K-Rod then pitched a scoreless ninth, but did not get credited with a game finished as the game continued. He remained stuck at eight.
Rodriguez needs 47 more games finished in the Mets’ remaining 134 games for his contract to vest at $17.5 million for 2012. K-Rod is on pace for 46 games finished, nine shy of reaching the contract trigger.
YOUNG & RESTLESS ENDING: Young tossed seven scoreless innings, his longest scoreless outing since blanking the San Francisco Giants as a member of the San Diego Padres, also for seven innings, on April 22, 2009.
He allowed only two hits while striking out seven, but there was no shortage of late drama. After issuing two walks and hitting a batter to load the bases, Young faced ex-Met Brian Schneider with two out in the eighth. The count went to 2-2, when Schneider attempted a check swing. After a delay and at David Wright’s urging, the Mets finally appealed to third base ump Lance Barksdale. He ruled Schneider offered at the pitch, resulting in a strikeout and ending the threat. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel came onto the field to argue, and immediately was ejected because balls and strikes rulings are not disputable.
Young tied former Padres teammate Jake Peavy for the most starts of seven-plus scoreless innings while allowing two or fewer hits since 2005, according to ESPN Stats & Information. They each now have nine. Four pitchers have seven: Jered Weaver, Felix Hernandez, CC Sabathia and Matt Cain.
CARLOS/LEE: The opening run came when Carlos Beltran’s two-out double to the right-center gap off Lee in the fifth inning scored Wright from first base. Jose Reyes and Justin Turner had consecutively reached base to open the game, and the Mets loaded the bases in the first inning with two out, but Ike Davis grounded out to second base and that threat went for naught. Lee required 34 pitches to get through the first inning, but nonetheless completed seven innings.
WHAT’S NEXT: After a team off-day, the Mets return to Citi Field to face the San Francisco Giants. R.A. Dickey faces right-hander Ryan Vogelsong in Tuesday’s opener, followed by Chris Capuano versus Tim Lincecum on Wednesday and Mike Pelfrey versus left-hander Jonathan Sanchez on Thursday.