The fans were on their feet with anticipation. The bullpen gate swung open.
Edwin Diaz emerged and began his trot toward the mound with his catchy “Narco” soundtrack along for the ride.
There was an electric current running through sold-out Citi Field again on Saturday night. The trumpets were blaring and the fans were clapping.
“I enjoy everything,” Diaz said. “When they open that gate, everybody got crazy. I can feel it. I can feel it when I’m running to the mound. Every time when I make a pitch, I can feel the fans supporting me. I feel really good.”
His Mets appearances have become even more of a Queens event this season with Diaz’s dominance. His road act has been great, too. His struggles of 2019 seem forever ago.
The closer had a rare sweaty ninth this time, walking two, but he stranded both in scoring position to finish off a 1-0 win over Philadelphia for Jacob deGrom. “You’re comfortable any time he’s in the game,” deGrom said.
And this was a milestone save — No. 200. “It means a lot,” said Diaz, the sixth active pitcher to hit 200. “I was reading the other day not too many pitchers reached 200 saves in the first couple of years in the big leagues. I feel blessed I reached that mark.”
Bryson Stott led off the ninth by bouncing Diaz’s 100.4-mph fastball to third. Then Diaz walked Rhys Hoskins, his first free pass allowed since July 3, a span of 50 batters without one.
Pinch runner Edmundo Sosa swiped second, but Alec Bohm flied to right for the second out. Then J.T. Realmuto walked, the first time Diaz had walked two since May 19. “I think it’s a reminder of the level that he’s doing it at, almost unheard of,” Buck Showalter said.
With Nick Castellanos up, the Phillies pulled off a double steal. But Castellanos ultimately swung at a 2-and-2 slider and hit nothing but air.
Diaz extended his career-high scoreless streak to 20 innings and dropped his ERA to 1.33. He earned his 27th save in 30 tries and continued to show he has learned how to handle adversity when it comes his way.
“I think I was rushing myself a little bit to home plate,” he said. “But I made that adjustment and I got the outs.”