WASHINGTON — After getting yanked in the ninth inning on Friday night and having to get bailed out by Josh Edgin, Mets closer Jeurys Familia picked up his first save of the season on Saturday with a 1-2-3 ninth inning in a 5-3 victory over the Nationals.
Familia, who was suspended for the first 15 games of the season for violating baseball’s domestic violence policy, went after the Nationals both days without his signature sinker.
Relying on his fastball and slider, Familia got a line out and groundout before striking out Michael Taylor to end the Mets’ second consecutive win.
Familia is still rounding into shape, which led general manager Sandy Alderson to quip before the game, “As of right now, do we have a closer? You tell me.”
But manager Terry Collins is adamant that Familia, who saved 51 games in 2016, will be his closer. Collins was happy to get Familia back on the mound one day after removing him and happier that Familia came through.
“We talked today and he went back out and pitched like we know he can,” Collins said. “Certainly we’re very, very excited to get him on the right track.”
Jose Reyes, who was hitting .095 after 18 games, went 2-for-4 with a home run to lift his average to .173. Reyes has a five-game hitting streak and is 8-for-18 (.444) in that span.
Reyes also made his fourth error of the season and has been tentative going after balls at third base, especially to his left.
“Well, he hates third base,” Collins said. “I don’t blame him. I didn’t like it all that much either.”
Said Reyes: “He said that? I feel comfortable there. It’s a process. Some plays I don’t even know how to react.”
Collins said Reyes will play shortstop on Sunday to give Asdrubal Cabrera a day off and might return to the leadoff spot.
“Him getting on base is how we’re going to win games,” Collins said, “because he scores.”
Travis d’Arnaud left after eight innings because of back stiffness he first felt after sliding into second in the fifth inning. D’Arnaud was already scheduled to have Sunday off . . . T.J. Rivera went 2-for-4 for the second straight game after joining the lineup at first base, at least until Lucas Duda returns, which could be Monday in Atlanta.