Parnell, not Rivera, finishes the game

Mariano Rivera was the star of the show at the start of the day, meeting with a group of Mets fans and employees as part of his farewell tour.

But in the end it was Bobby Parnell on the mound, not Rivera, closing out a 2-1 Mets victory.

Parnell gave up a one-out walk to Ichiro Suzuki, but struck out David Adams and Lyle Overbay, and got Travis Hafner to pop up to shortstop to end the game.

"If you're gonna pitch in this city, and you're gonna be a closer in this city, you've gotta pitch in big-time situations," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "This isn't a playoff game, but this is the Subway Series, and it means a lot to a lot of people. And you go out there and pitch like Bobby did in the ninth inning against some tough left-hand hitters, I think he's coming of age, for sure."

Parnell earned his eighth save of the season and saw his ERA drop to 1.93.

"Ever since I got called up in '08, I've enjoyed pitching in this series," Parnell said. "To be able to close a game now is kind of a dream come true."

The Mets' bullpen as a whole has struggled thus far this season, pitching to an NL-worst 4.77 ERA. But Parnell has thrived for the most part in his limited opportunities, after being anointed as the full-time closer at the start of the year.

"Knowing I was the closer from Day 1, I had time to mentally prepare myself to know that I was gonna be in these situations and I was gonna fail at times," Parnell said. "I think that helps me pitch better."

His manager is thrilled with his progress.

"He's handled himself so well, you kind of say you expect it tonight. But he hasn't pitched in a game like tonight," Collins said. "I think this is another big step for him to move forward in this role, which I think he's obviously taken, I think he's gonna keep it, and I think he's gonna be a good one for a long time."