<
>

Sean Gilmartin unsung hero in Mets' comeback win

PHILADELPHIA -- The New York Mets present a wrestling-style belt to the MVP of each game. Manager Terry Collins suggested left-handed reliever Sean Gilmartin merited the honor on Monday, even if he did not end up being the recipient.

Gilmartin took over for Jacob deGrom in the third inning with the Mets trailing by five runs. He went on to toss 3⅓ scoreless innings, keeping the Mets within striking distance in what became a 16-7 win against the Philadelphia Phillies.

"Anytime your starting pitcher gets knocked out early and you bring a reliever in who keeps you in the game for three or four innings and it allows you to get back in the game, you can't replace it," Collins said. "To me, they hand out an award every night for player of the game. He didn't get it, but he certainly could have had it."

Afterward, general manager Sandy Alderson noted that Matt Harvey was skipped on Sunday in Colorado and deGrom had his worst career performance on Monday in Philly and yet the Mets won both games thanks to performances by less-heralded arms. Logan Verrett preceded Gilmartin's contribution by tossing eight innings in a spot start in what became a 5-1 win against the Rockies.

After Monday's win, Collins started to call Gilmartin an "average" lefty, but stopped halfway through the word.

Gilmartin, a Rule 5 pick in December from the Minnesota Twins, improved to 3-1 with a 2.34 ERA in relief this season with the Mets.

"You know he's going to throw the ball over the plate," Collins said. "He's going to change speeds. He's going keep you in the game. He's going to make them swing the bat. He's your aver …

"He's your left-handed pitcher. He's got a great change. He's got a good curveball. And when you're on a staff with all of these power arms, you're not going to get a lot of mention. But there's a place on every team for a guy that just takes the baseball and does his job."

Gilmartin, a starter in the minors with Minnesota, threw a season-high 58 pitches on Monday.

Not that it has been in doubt for a while, but he clearly will become Mets property at season's end. As a Rule 5 pick, Gilmartin needs to stick at the major league level through the end of the regular season in order for the Twins to lose his rights.

"Honestly, I didn't think about that all year," Gilmartin said. "I haven't had that thought process at all. For me it's just always been going out and trying to get people out."