Jeurys Familia showing he can be trusted in relief role

Jeurys Familia of the Mets pitches against the

Jeurys Familia of the Mets pitches against the Oakland Athletics at Citi Field on Wednesday, June 25, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

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PITTSBURGH - Jeurys Familia proved once again why he's earned the trust of Mets manager Terry Collins, who has increasingly called upon the righthander late in games.

In Saturday's 5-3 win over the Pirates, Familia entered in the seventh and tossed two scoreless frames, setting the stage for Jenrry Mejia to nail down his eighth save. "I've been around a lot of guys, a lot of young pitchers," Collins said. "I don't think I've ever seen that big a step forward."

Familia has conquered the command issues he's shown in the past. He has pitched nine consecutive scoreless innings and hasn't allowed a run since June 10. In that span, he has lowered his ERA from 2.67 to 2.18.

"If you have confidence in your stuff, you can throw strikes," Familia said.

In the winter, Familia played in the Dominican Republic, where he said he benefited from spending time with veteran relievers Antonio Bastardo of the Phillies and Joel Peralta of the Rays.

Those lessons have translated into a breakout season for the 24-year-old.

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"There was a time in April you wanted to know if he was going to be able to stick here," Collins said. "All he's done now is put himself in a position where every close game, he's got to be in the game."

Fourth fireworks

The Mets will host a fireworks show after their July 4 game against the Rangers. The fireworks will be launched from the roof of Citi Field. The club is offering discounted tickets for current and former military personnel along with police, fire, government and emergency medical services employees.

Extra bases

Anthony Recker said X-rays of his right hand, taken after the game, came back negative . . . The Mets swiped five bases, equaling a season high established on April 10 in Atlanta. Eric Young Jr. stole three bags on his own, which included a fourth-inning double steal that set up Daniel Murphy's two-run single. "I just wanted to be aggressive," Young said . . . Travis d'Arnaud has wasted little time re-establishing himself with the Mets, hitting .375 (6-for-16) since his promotion from Triple-A Las Vegas last Monday.

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