NEW YORK — Shortstop Tyler Saladino watched Yoenis’ Cespedes’ short fly ball go up in the air with two outs in the ninth. As it fell into the glove of right fielder Adam Eaton, so did the burden of a seven-game losing streak.
“You see that ball go up in the air, and you feel all that weight fall off your shoulders,” Saladino said.
Closer David Robertson, the goat in an epic ninth-inning collapse three days ago, retired the 2-3-4 hitters in the Mets lineup in order Tuesday, striking out Asdrubal Cabrera and Michael Conforto to finish off a 6-4 victory at Citi Field. Zach Putnam, Dan Jennings (2-1) and Nate Jones also pitched scoreless innings in relief of Mat Latos, a banner day for a beleaguered bullpen that needed one.
“It’s definitely a much better feeling than we’ve had the last few days,” Robertson said.
“We hit a little bump in the road, but hopefully today’s a start toward getting us back on track.”
A little bump is an understatement. The Sox had lost 15 of 19, finished May with a 11-17 record after a 17-8 April and have lost six straight series. They can win the series Wednesday but will be up against it with Miguel Gonzalez taking on Jacob deGrom.
Todd Frazier, responsible for two unearned runs charged to Latos (five innings, four runs, two earned runs) that helped stake Mets to a 4-0 lead, hit a two-run homer – his 16th — against lefty Steven Matz (7-2) to cut the lead in half. Frazier was 1-for-24 before the homer. And Saladino ripped a longer two-run homer against Hansel Robles in the eighth to give the Sox the lead.
Dioner Navarro drove in a run with a two-out single in the sixth, and Brett Lawrie’s two-out single followed Saladino’s homer and walks by pinch-hitter Jimmy Rollins and Adam Eaton.
Saladino also walked twice, singled and stole two bases.
“He had a great game,” manager Robin Ventura said. “He was having great at-bats. He continues to come up in big situations, even earlier stealing a couple bags and getting in position, you sneak one back because he’s aggressive and smart on the bases. Good job by him. Good job by everybody.”
“The easiest thing to do is to complain and not fight back and I think these guys are continuing to grind, play hard. It can look bleak. You’ve got a guy like Matz pitching the way he’s pitching and you can just lay down but they won’t do it.”
In Kansas City, where the Sox bullpen blew three late leads, Ventura stepped up in the clubhouse, and in his style, helped keep things together, Latos said.
“He came into the room and said a few words,’’ Latos said. “We took it to heart. Everyone in this room is fighting for everyone else.’’
Saladino, who said Rollins almost hurt his hand high-fiving him after the homer, has marveled at how the veterans are staying the course with a steady, level approach to their work through a tough time.
He was overjoyed to play such a big role in such a needed win.
“It’s huge. Losing, especially losing up here [in the majors], that’s tough,” he said. “It’s tough on everybody. It weighs on you a little bit. You definitely lose a little bit of sleep. But getting the win, I mean it’s a boost of morale.
“Just losing like we were, go right back after it tomorrow same exact way. Just hopefully momentum will keep going and we get right back where we were.”