Mets win finale, finish with same record (74-88) as 2012

David Wright celebrates with his team after defeating

David Wright celebrates with his team after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field. (Sept. 29, 2013) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

The winning run scored from third base on Eric Young Jr.'s trickling grounder down the first-base line. It came in the eighth inning after the Brewers failed to properly handle a pair of bunts.

More often than not this season, victory has escaped the Mets. And when the wins came, they looked much like Sunday's 3-2 win over the Brewers, with the Mets needing every break to come out on top.

But as the Mets wrapped up their fifth straight losing season, the focus shifted quickly to 2014, long expected to be the turning point in what has been a laborious rebuilding project.

"The talk's pretty much over now," said Mets manager Terry Collins, whose two-year contract extension will be announced Monday. "It's time to get it done on the field."

The third sellout crowd of the season jammed into Citi Field for Mike Piazza's emotional induction into the team's Hall of Fame. The ceremony was attended by Dwight Gooden and other stars from the franchise's past, though the Mets departed for the offseason focused on the future.

"I'm expecting us to get better quickly," Mets captain David Wright said. "That's my goal. I don't think that's too far-fetched."

The Mets finished at 74-88, exactly the same mark they posted last season. They ended up in third place in the National League East, only marginally better than the fourth-place finishes that have been commonplace. Indeed, improvement should be within reach.

Even before the conclusion of game No. 162, the Mets began laying some groundwork for the 2014 season. Collins will be joined by the rest of his coaching staff next season, a source said Sunday.

The Mets also have started talks with representatives for veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins, according to sources. After signing a minor-league deal, the 40-year-old righthander posted a 2.93 ERA in 72 appearances.

His return might be the first offseason move for the Mets, who expect a return to respectability in 2014 with a roster that includes young talent such as Zack Wheeler, Travis d'Arnaud and Matt Harvey.

"We've got a different frame of mind going into spring training," Collins said. "It's no longer money issues hanging over our head, it's no longer where are we going to get this guy. They're going to be here."

Notes & quotes: Harvey has yet to begin a throwing program, Collins said. The righthander continues an intense rehab on his right elbow. Harvey still hopes to avoid surgery on his partially torn elbow ligament, though first he must pitch in a competitive setting during the offseason. The Mets have not put a timeline on when his throwing program will begin . . . Young won the NL stolen-base title by swiping two, bringing his total to 46. He began the day tied with the Brewers' Jean Segura . . . Frank Francisco recorded his first save of the season in what likely will be his final appearance with the Mets. He signed a two-year, $12-million deal before the 2012 season.

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