In Friday's battle of cash-strapped teams, it was fitting that the hero, Jason Pridie, is making only the major-league minimum salary of $414,000 for this season. So the Mets definitely got more bang for the buck as Pridie's three-run homer off Hiroki Kuroda in the sixth delivered a 6-3 victory over the debt-ridden Dodgers at Citi Field.
Pridie's roster spot was among those in jeopardy before Angel Pagan's setback Friday postponed his return for an indefinite period. But when that decision eventually comes up again, Pridie -- called up from Triple-A Buffalo on April 22 -- has done a good job ensuring it will be a difficult one.
"Yeah," manager Terry Collins said. "Who should play or who should stay or who shouldn't -- he's making it tough. As we told all the players: In baseball, you're provided these opportunities. Here's your chance. Go show you belong here. And he's done a nice job of showing that."
The speedy Pridie is known more for his ability to cover ground in centerfield. But he added another offensive highlight in the sixth, with two outs and the Mets trailing 3-2.
With Carlos Beltran on second, Kuroda intentionally walked Ike Davis. It was an easy choice. Davis, who had 23 RBIs and a .578 slugging percentage, had drilled his seventh homer in the second. As for Pridie, he was a bench player batting .242.
"Odds are you're going to want to pitch to Jason Pridie," the Mets' centerfielder said. "But I got into competitor mode -- I'm doing this. I'm going to get a hit here."
That's what Pridie did. After taking a 92-mph sinker for a strike, Pridie crushed a splitter, sending it to the back of the Mets' bullpen in right-centerfield. It was his third homer in 13 games, and his second three-run shot of the season.
"He's one of those guys for his whole career, he's been told, you've got to bunt, you've got to hit the ball the other way," Collins said. "But he's a guy that can hit the ball out of the ballpark."
Reyes had two triples for the sixth time in his career and reached base four times. When Pridie reached the dugout after his home run, Reyes was at the top step to be the first one to congratulate him.
Jon Niese burned out after throwing 116 pitches through 52/3 innings -- seven hits, three runs -- to leave the door open for Ryota Igarashi, who earned the win by striking out Jerry Sands to finish the sixth. Francisco Rodriguez, who needed 42 pitches for four outs Thursday, earned his eighth save with a scoreless ninth.
Andre Ethier had three hits for the Dodgers, extending his hitting streak to 30.
Before the game, Collins said that Rodriguez would be unavailable and he planned to use Jason Isringhausen as the closer. But during batting practice, K-Rod convinced the manager that he could handle the ninth, so Isringhausen was used to pitch a scoreless eighth instead.
"There was a little back and forth," Rodriguez said of the pregame discussion. "I guess I won."
With the Dodgers leading 2-1, Davis tied the score with a long blast that dented the facing of the Pepsi Porch in rightfield. It was his fifth homer in his last 10 games at Citi Field.
Pridie laughed when told he could challenge Davis in a longest-drive contest. "As [hitting coach] Dave Hudgens told me, it's 378 [feet] out there. All you have to do is hit it 379. It will look 500."