Mickey Callaway knew he'd have to rely on the Mets' bullpen on Tuesday night, and the group answered the call and then some against a potent Twins lineup, leading to a 3-2 win.
Before the game, Callaway set a 75-80 pitch limit for Steven Matz, making his return to the rotation after a brief stint in the pen. After 68 pitches over four innings from the lefty, Callaway turned the ball over to the bullpen, where six relievers combined to hold the Twins scoreless over the course of five innings.
Robert Gsellman, Luis Avilan, Jeurys Familia, Justin Wilson, Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz combined to keep the Twins' bats at bay, allowing a Michael Conforto fifth-inning RBI single to decide the game. Callaway said after the game that he believed this was the bullpen's best overall performance of the season.
"To throw up five scoreless innings against that group over there, that says a lot," Callaway said after the game. "You knew they weren't going to make every inning on you, and they came back, there was a lot of energy in the stadium, especially when [Luis Arraez] came up to bat 0-2. They tried to do their best, but Diaz did a good job to hold them right there."
Entering the game with a one-run lead, Diaz did allow things to get a little dicey. He walked a batter and allowed two hits, eventually loading the bases for Nelson Cruz, who's smashed 377 home runs in his big league career.
Diaz locked in, forcing Cruz to pop up in foul territory to Todd Frazier, ending the game and earning his 21st save of the season.
"I felt great today," Diaz said via a translator after the game. "Today was one of those days where I felt like I was able to execute all of my pitches, the fastball, the slider.
"[Cruz] came in with his strength, which is his power, and my strength is my fastball, so all I wanted to do was elevate my fastball there to get him out."
Though things got interesting late in the ninth, Diaz was able to shut the door, helping the Mets earn their third win in four road games to start the second half.
"He kept on pumping the fastball, especially to the guys he's supposed to, and he got through it," Callaway said about his closer. "I really thought tonight he threw the ball pretty well."