Carlos Beltran heard the boos, as he always does when he steps to the plate at Citi Field.
Though clearly among the best outfielders in franchise history, one called third strike on an Adam Wainwright curveball to end Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, will always define the veteran outfielder's time as a Met for many fans.
Beltran got the last word Saturday afternoon in the best way he could imagine -- the Yankees picked up an important 5-0 victory and the rightfielder jump-started it, whacking a first-inning three-run homer into the second deck to spot Michael Pineda a 3-0 lead.
Beltran, not surprisingly, didn't revel in besting his former team for one afternoon.
"Not really," Beltran said of the home run holding any extra meaning to him. "Right now my job is to help the team win ballgames. Doesn't matter against who."
Beltran went 2-for-4 Saturday, picking up two of the Yankees seven hits against Mets righthander Noah Syndergaard, including his 16th homer of the season, which came on a 0-and-2 fastball that came across the plate at 100 mph.
The 38-year-old Beltran has hit safely in 37 of his last 42 games, going 47-for-149 (.315) in that stretch with eight homers and 23 RBI.
Saturday was the continuation of a turnaround that started in May, a month that followed the worst start to a season of his career.
Beltran appeared done at the plate in the season's opening month, putting together a .162/ .216/.265 slash line with no homers in 17 games.
Entering Saturday, Beltran, who received his share of days off in the early part of the season and also spent time on the DL in July with an oblique strain, had posted a .299/.358/.499 slash line since then, with 15 homers and 46 RBI.
"I think you look at his age, No. 1," Girardi said of his usage of Beltran before referencing the veteran's injury-riddled 2014 in which, playing most of the season with a bone spur in his right elbow, posted a .233/.301/.402 slash line in 103 games. "You look at some of the things that he went through last year. And I know what happened last year was kind of a freak thing that happened with his elbow, but I know that when you really want these guys is down the stretch, so there are times you're going to have to give them some days off early in the season and I think it's helped him."
Beltran said he feels "great," unusual for any player at this time of the season.
"Last year was a tough year, for me personally and the team," he said. "It's a great feeling I'm capable of being able to turn the season around after a tough April, but that's baseball. I wasn't going to judge my season one month."
Nor were his teammates.
"You take a minute and check out the back of his baseball card, he's done things and is doing things that . . . you don't count guys like that out," said Brian McCann, whose two-run homer in the sixth Saturday made it 5-0. "He got off to a little bit of a slow start but he's going to be there, his numbers are going to be there at the end."