- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Closer Frank Francisco was unavailable with a sore elbow on Saturday and Mets manager Terry Collins doubts that he will have Francisco for the series finale against the Marlins on Sunday. Francisco has elbow tendinitis and has not pitched since Sept. 16 against Milwaukee.
"He was pretty sore today and said he could not throw today," Collins said.
Before the Mets' 4-3 win over the Marlins, Collins said Francisco was "fine" and was available to pitch Friday night, but the team wanted to use him in a save situation. He added that he hoped the team would have a chance to use Francisco during Saturday's action.
After Collins pulled starter R.A. Dickey with the Mets up 4-0 with two men on and no outs in the ninth, which is a save situation, he instead had to bring in Jon Rauch with Francisco sidelined. Rauch promptly served up a three-run homer off the foul pole and would allow the tying run to second before striking out Gorkys Hernandez to secure the Mets win and give Dickey his 19th victory on the year.
"What I like about (Rauch) is that he throws strikes. He throws all of his pitches for strikes and he's not afraid," Collins said. "He gave up a home run to a guy who is a fly ball hitter and he throws the ball over the plate. If you're going to beat us, beat us swinging the bat. That's why he's been pitching. He said he was surprised he got in there today. But he came through when we needed him to."
New York Mets
BAY DAY: Jason Bay's two-run shot in the second inning gave the Mets a lead they never relinquished, but also reaffirmed Collins' belief that there's some life in the left fielder's bat.
"You see that so you know it's still there. It's not like this guy has lost his strength. It's not like he's lost his bat speed. He's not. That's why we continue to search for the answers," Collins said. "Great defender. Good base runner. Great power. All the things that he came here with he still has. We just got to figure out what's causing the issue with some hits."
Bay was placed in the lineup for two reasons Saturday: his defense and his grand slam against Mark Buehrle the last time they faced. Both reasons proved to be helpful. He played solid defense in left as usual and he gave the Mets a 2-0 lead with his eighth homer of the year.
"It's been a very frustrating year for me but still trying to go out there and salvage some things and work on some things," Bay said. "Obviously when Dickey's pitching it feels a little bit different and you can tell just by the crowd, kind of getting some runs early was huge, especially hitting a home run. Still working on things, by no means giving up. Going out there and still battle and get some results."