Izzy does it again; Beato to close Thursday

Talk about turning back the clock. Jason Isringhausen improved to 2-0 by tossing a pair of scoreless innings, including striking out Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman consecutively spanning the ninth and 10th.

“I’d much rather face the bottom of the order -- nothing against those guys,” Isringhausen said about the challenge of facing St. Louis' vaunted hitters after the Mets' 6-5 victory. “But it’s fun facing guys like that. It’s fun facing Albert and Holliday and Berkman. Those are probably the best 3-4-5 guys in baseball in my mind. I just wanted to go out there and make good pitches. I made good pitches and I got people out.”

Said Terry Collins about the strikeouts: “How about that?”

Isringhausen did begin to wilt toward the end of the 34-pitch appearance, which came a night after he notched his first save in three years. With two out in the 10th, Isringhausen walked David Freese and surrendered a single to Colby Rasmus before retiring Gerald Laird to set up Angel Pagan’s first career walk-off homer in the bottom half of the inning.

“I was getting old,” Izzy said about his stamina fading in the 10th. “I started feeling my age a little bit. We got through it. I didn’t want to walk a guy. I walked Freese. I didn’t want to do that. I threw like a rolling curveball to Rasmus and got Laird to ground out. I’ll take it for what it’s worth.”

Said Collins: “He was getting tired. As a matter of fact, to be honest, Laird was his last guy. We probably have got to give him one if not two days (off) now. But in our particular situation, which we said when we lost Frankie (Rodriguez), we’re going to have to shake it up down there a little and give other people some opportunities.”

If the Mets have a save opportunity in Thursday’s matinee finale, Collins indicated Pedro Beato would handle the responsibility. Beato came on in the seventh inning Wednesday night and retired Pujols on a pop foul to first base to strand the would-be go-ahead run at third base. Collins said Beato had a look on his face as he entered the game that the manager had not seen for some time.

“It’s just that demeanor of aggressiveness,” Beato explained about the look. “Just pounding the strike zone. That’s what I did at the beginning of the year when I had the success. I probably got away from it a little bit, trying to get myself mechanically right, I guess. I couldn’t tell you myself what it was. It’s just being aggressive.”