Byrd leads Mets to win over Rockies
He throws more accurately, too, especially since he can feel his fingers.
Byrd hit a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning and threw out a runner from right field in the ninth to lead the New York Mets past the Colorado Rockies 3-2 on Thursday in a makeup game for the one that was snowed out on April 17.
Give him heat any day, whether it's a fastball or the weather. Byrd didn't much care for his last trip to Denver, when the temperature was hovering around 28 degrees and the area was blanketed in snow.
A 95-degree day with hardly a cloud in the sky? Now that was much more to his liking.
''The cold has never been good for me,'' Byrd said. ''This was nice. Had a real good day to play baseball. To come out with the win was even better.''
His bat gave the Mets the lead, and his arm protected it.
With the Mets trailing 2-1 and a runner on, Byrd drove a fastball from reliever Matt Belisle (4-5) into the left-center seats. One inning later, the right fielder threw out Michael Cuddyer when he tried to stretch a leadoff single into a double.
''That's that old-school Minnesota Twins baseball,'' Byrd said of Cuddyer, who began his career with the Twins. ''Cuddyer knows how to play the game. He was trying to put pressure on the defense, which I know that he does. I came up and made a decent throw.''
Byrd practices throwing to the bases all the time. It's really a lost art around the majors, but Byrd makes a point to work on it, just in case of days like Thursday.
''He made a good throw,'' Cuddyer said. ''It took a perfect throw to get me and kudos to him, he made it.''
That was a downer on an otherwise big day for Cuddyer, who had three singles to extend his hitting streak to a franchise-record 24 games. Cuddyer entered the game tied with Dante Bichette before breaking the Rockies mark with a single to center off Jeremy Hefner on a scorching afternoon.
''Anytime you can put your name in any type of record book for a good thing is a good thing,'' Cuddyer said. ''I'd trade it for a win, though.''
The homer by Byrd was about the extent of the offense for New York with star slugger David Wright receiving a rare rest. Hefner drove in the team's other run on a groundout.
''Without D-Wright in the lineup, you wonder if we're going to score runs,'' Byrd said. ''But we got enough today. That's the big thing.''
LaTroy Hawkins (3-1) earned the win with a scoreless seventh and Bobby Parnell closed for his 14th save in 17 chances. The fourth-place Mets finished 7-4 on a four-city road trip that took them to three time zones. They have won eight of 12 overall.
The weather was drastically different from the Mets' trip to town in mid-April, when the temperatures were bitterly cold. The series opener was postponed, forcing a frosty doubleheader the next day. The game on April 17 was called off, too, leading to New York's quick detour to Denver on Thursday after a two-game series in Chicago with the White Sox.
This time, the weather was more suitable for baseball. It was tied for the seventh-hottest home game in Rockies history.
Colorado was cruising along until the eighth, when shortstop Jonathan Herrera and second baseman Josh Rutledge collided while trying to field Daniel Murphy's single up the middle. Murphy stole second and Byrd followed with his 12th homer.
It was yet another strong outing from Hefner. He went six innings, giving up two runs - one earned - and five hits.
''My performances are finally matching up to the expectations,'' Hefner said. ''This doesn't surprise me.''
Tyler Chatwood took a no-hit bid into the fifth before it was broken up by Zach Lutz, one of four hits the Mets managed off Chatwood.
The righty threw a season-high 103 pitches, and his best may have been his last when he struck out Juan Lagares looking on a 92 mph fastball with the bases loaded in the sixth.
Earlier in that inning, Chatwood took a line drive off his right leg. After a few warmup pitches, he remained in the game.
New York loaded the bases with none out in the fifth, but Chatwood was able to work out of the sticky situation, giving up only one run on a fielder's choice by Hefner. Left fielder Carlos Gonzalez ended the threat with a sliding catch in foul territory.
''I really didn't have very good command at all today but I was able to keep our team in the game,'' Chatwood said. ''I was happy with it.''
The Rockies scored twice in the second, when Cuddyer led off with a single and went to third on Wilin Rosario's double. Todd Helton hit a sacrifice fly, and Rosario later scored on a throwing error by first baseman Josh Satin.
New York had two former Rockies batting 1-2 in the order in Eric Young Jr. and Omar Quintanilla. Young was acquired by the Mets last week from Colorado after he was designated for assignment.
Young received a round of applause from the crowd in his first plate appearance. He's long been a fan favorite, especially since his dad played in the Mile High City.
''I'm excited to get a chance to play back here so soon,'' Young said.
NOTES: Mets manager Terry Collins said SS Ruben Tejada (strained quadriceps) might be ready to play in some Gulf Coast League games this weekend. Tejada could head to either Double-A or Triple-A on a rehab assignment after that. ... The Rockies signed INF Reid Brignac to a minor league deal. ... Rockies SS Troy Tulowitzki (broken rib) has started some light throwing.