Dillon Gee pleaded his case.
With two outs in the seventh inning Wednesday night, Terry Collins emerged from the dugout to fetch the righthander, who enjoyed another stellar outing. Collins even waited until Gee finished speaking before making the call to the bullpen.
Under typical circumstances, Collins might have taken Gee's appeal to stay in the game more seriously. But the pitcher complained of elbow tendinitis in spring training. And lately, the cramping sensation has gotten worse, cropping up again during the second inning.
"Hopefully, it's nothing,'' Gee said after the Mets' 5-1 victory over the Cardinals. "I've had it looked at. It's just if we can manage it or not.''
In the team's first public disclosure of the condition, Gee and Collins insisted that tests revealed no structural damage in the elbow. However, Gee admitted that had it not been for back-to-back rain delays that bought him two more days, he might have not have been able to make his start.
"Hopefully, it doesn't knock me out at all, because I'm feeling good right now and I want to keep going out there every five days,'' said Gee, who won his third consecutive decision by allowing only one run and six hits in 62/3 innings. The only damage against Gee came in the sixth when Allen Craig hit his second homer of the series, a solo shot with one out.
Otherwise, Gee short-circuited an offense that began the day leading all of baseball with a .341 average with runners in scoring position.
The Mets delivered run support, taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning against 22-year-old sensation Shelby Miller (7-4, 2.21). The second run came on Daniel Murphy's hustle play, scoring from first base on a single by Lucas Duda, one of his two run-scoring hits. The Mets also got solo homers from Duda, Marlon Byrd and David Wright.
"It's good to win,'' Wright said. "We haven't experienced it in a while.''
For the first time since Sunday's roster overhaul, and for just the second time in the month of June, the Mets emerged as victors. They snapped a three-game losing streak and put themselves in position to win a series against the Cardinals Thursday -- weather permitting But even the good news came with a morsel of the bad.
"It's gotten a little worse lately,'' Gee said of his elbow tendinitis.
"Those last couple of rainouts really helped me. But it kind of flared up a little bit during the game, but it's something hopefully we can keep managing.''
In each of his last three starts, Gee pitched at least 62/3 innings, posting a 1.33 ERA while going 3-0 with 26 strikeouts and just three walks. Perhaps most important to his future in the rotation, Gee's hot streak has lowered his overall ERA to 4.84.
Gee's name often has been the first invoked in discussions about which Mets starting pitcher will give way to top prospect Zack Wheeler once he's promoted.
No decision has been made. But Collins said Wednesday night that the Mets may go to a six-man rotation, at least one more turn through, even with Wheeler in the rotation. It's an adjustment that may help keep Gee in the rotation despite Wheeler's arrival.
"Our job's the same no matter what,'' Gee said. "No matter who's coming or not coming, or anything like that, our job is to go out there to give the team a chance to win.''