Bobby Abreu went out just as he had hoped.
The Mets outfielder singled to leftfield in the fifth inning Sunday, sparking a two-out rally in an 8-3 win over the Astros. He was promptly lifted for a pinch runner, allowing the crowd at Citi Field to salute him with a warm ovation.
"Special," said Abreu, a two-time All-Star in a career that spanned 18 seasons. "The way I wanted to end it, just on the field."
Abreu, 40, waved his helmet to acknowledged the fans. Then, he received a hug from fellow Venezuelan Jose Altuve, the Astros second baseman.
Earlier in the game, Abreu drew a walk, though manager Terry Collins waited for a hit because it would be "a good way to end it." Abreu walked off the field with 2,470 hits, 288 homers, and a .291 lifetime average.
Aside from a few winter ball games in his native Venezuela this offseason, Abreu said he's done playing. He has expressed an interest in becoming a hitting coach, though it's unclear whether he'd pursue jobs for next season.
According to a source, a chance exists that the Mets will replace hitting coach Lamar Johnson this week. But the club hasn't had discussions with Abreu about a position.
Altuve made history of his own, becoming the first Astros player to win a batting title, though the honor came with a bit of controversy.
The Astros sparked a public outcry on social media by initially holding Altuve out of the lineup -- despite his desire to play. He began the day hitting .340, just ahead of the Tigers' Victor Martinez at .337.
But before the first pitch, the club reversed course and started Altuve, who went 2-for-4 to finish with a .341 average to capture the AL batting title.
"You've got to be really ready to go out there and play," Altuve said. "And if you want to win something, you've got to win it on the field."
Reaching a goal
Mets righthander Bartolo Colon improved to 15-13 after allowing three runs in six innings against the Astros.
The 41-year-old righthander finished the season with a 4.09 ERA in 31 starts, his first with the Mets after signing a two-year, $20-million deal. He logged 2021/3 innings, his highest total since 2005, when he won the Cy Young Award with the Angels.
Through a translator, Colon said it had been "a personal goal" to eclipse 200 innings.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis (infection) remained in the hospital to undergo tests . . . Despite looming staff changes, Wally Backman is expected to remain as manager of Triple-A Las Vegas.
With Colin Stephenson