Mets morning briefing 6.16.11

A 71-minute rain delay with the Mets holding a three-run lead knocked out Dillon Gee short of qualifying for the victory, but the Mets nonetheless moved to .500 for the first time since May 20 with a 4-0 win against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday. D.J. Carrasco, Bobby Parnell and Francisco Rodriguez combined to toss five scoreless relief innings.

Thursday's news reports:

Terry Collins said Jason Bay is his left fielder, despite having sat him three times since last Thursday. Bay went 2-for-4 with a steal and also ran to track down two balls in left field in the ninth to benefit K-Rod. "It’s the best I’ve felt in a long time,” Bay said. “I played the aggressor rather than being on the defensive up there.” Said Collins: “As I just told him at the end of the game, not only the two hits, I thought he swung the bat much better tonight. One of the best things about our game is you can help in so many ways. Those two plays in the ninth inning, those were good catches. He ran a long way, especially for the first one.” Read more in the Post and Newsday.

Tim Byrdak expects to return at about game time Thursday after flying to Chicago on Wednesday morning to attend a funeral. With the extraordinary bullpen performances from Carrasco and Parnell, the Mets made Byrdak's one-game absence -- and the lack of a left-hander in the bullpen -- barely noticeable. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Record and Newsday.

Scott Kazmir is being released by the Angels, who will eat $14.5 million. Like with the Mets and Ollie Perez, L.A. is picking up the tab. So essentially Kazmir would cost the major league minimum.

• Read game stories from the 4-0 win, which lifted the Mets to .500, in the Times, Record, Post, Star-Ledger, Daily News and Newsday.

• Collins closed the book on water-gate, with Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez denying any intent over over-wetting the field to try to slow down Jose Reyes. Read more in the Journal, Record and Newsday.

• Forbes reported the price for David Einhorn to up his stake from 33 to 60 percent ownership if Fred Wilpon and family don't block it by returning his $200 milllion is $1 extra. The Mets issued a statement talking in general about inaccuracies in reporting about the sale's financial terms. Read more in the Post.

BIRTHDAY: Calvin Schiraldi turns 49. Schiraldi’s career started with the Mets. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox prior to the 1986 season, in the deal that netted Bob Ojeda. Schiraldi had a chance for ultimate revenge in Game 6 of the World Series that year, but ended up the losing pitcher after the Mets scored three runs in the bottom of the 10th to send the series to a winner-take-all seventh game. -Mark Simon