Terry Collins set the franchise record for games managed when he passed Davey Johnson with his 1,013th on Saturday night in the Mets’ 7-5 win over the Angels at Citi Field. But if Collins really wanted headlines, he would have followed through on something he said he “absolutely” considered in the ninth inning — intentionally walking Mike Trout with the bases loaded.
The Mets, who entered the ninth with a five-run lead, were ahead 7-4 with the sacks full and none out when Trout, the consensus best player on the planet, stepped in against Addison Reed.
“The first thought is, ‘I’d rather almost walk this guy than give him a pitch to hit,’ ” Collins said. “Fortunately, Addy made some good pitches on him. That’s the kind of situation where you look back on the time when Buck Showalter walked [Barry] Bonds with the bases loaded rather than pitch to him and I had . . . the same feeling.”
Reed retired Trout on a sacrifice fly before pitching out of a hairy inning for his sixth save. Reed did not think walking Trout would have been right.
“No,” he said. “I mean, I feel confident no matter who I’m facing. I don’t care who’s in the box. Obviously, he’s one of the best players in baseball right now, but as a pitcher, you’ve got to have all the confidence in yourself, and I felt good out there.”
Zack Wheeler (3-2) pitched into the sixth inning and Jose Reyes had three hits — including the 2,000th of his career — and two RBIs as the Mets built leads of 4-0 after five innings and 7-2 after eight.
Collins’ 499th victory as Mets manager appeared to be in the bag as the ninth inning opened. But Neil Ramirez walked the leadoff man and Reed later walked the first man he faced to force in a run to make it 7-3. Kole Calhoun singled in another run to bring up Trout.
After Trout’s sacrifice fly made it 7-5, Reed got Luis Valbuena to foul out before walking Andrelton Simmons to load the bases. Finally, Reed struck out pinch hitter Danny Espinosa on a 3-and-2 pitch to end the game.
“After seven years of watching games like that,” Collins said, “I guess we might as well have that one be exciting. And it was. I told [a reporter] before the game today I felt like I’m 50. I’m back to being 67 again.”
The Mets acknowledged Collins’ milestone with a brief mention on the scoreboard before the game. Collins said the most important congratulation he got was from injured Mets captain David Wright.
“David this afternoon said, ‘Try to make it through the whole game, will you?’ ” Collins said. “He just said, ‘Hey, look, it’s been fun to have you here and you deserve this.’ And I thought, when it comes from a player, that means a lot.”
Collins managed against Mike Scioscia, the man who replaced Collins after he was fired by the Angels following the 1999 season. Collins spent three years at the helm with the Angels after three years as the Astros’ manager. It took him until 2011 to get another managing job.
That he’s still with the Mets probably is a surprise to anyone who reads Twitter. But Collins is still here, and now he’s No. 1 on the all-time franchise list, if not No. 1 in all Mets fans’ hearts.
“To do this job, to have this job, is a tremendous privilege,” Collins said. “It’s extremely humbling. I mean, there’s only 30 of these jobs. To be in one spot for seven years, it’s unbelievable to think I’ve been here that long . . . It keeps you alert, and when you get to be my age, you’ve got to worry about staying alert. It’s been a great experience.”