- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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NEW YORK -- Marlon Byrd set a new career high by blasting his 21st homer on Tuesday in the Mets' 5-3 win over Atlanta. Byrd smashed a two-run shot to left in the sixth to put the Mets up 4-0.
Byrd, who leads the Mets with the 21 homers and 70 RBIs, broke his previous plateau set in 2009 with Texas. Byrd's revival comes one season after perhaps the worst year of his career, as he played in just 47 games with the Cubs and Red Sox, and was suspended 50 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
New York Mets
"Hard work pays off," Byrd said. "Last year, after everything I went through, the suspension, going home, working hard, not sure what was going to go on, going down to Mexico, coming back, and getting a chance to be with the Mets and trying to make the team. To sit here now and say I have a career high in homers is just a blessing.
"The big thing is appreciating the Mets organization for giving me a chance to come here and show what I can do. Taking a chance on me. I'm just glad I can come out and help the team and hit big homers, not just like selfish homers, like ninth inning, down by 10. Home runs that help the team win."
Mets manager Terry Collins praised Byrd for his preparation each day.
"What happened to him last year, he was bound and determined to put that behind him and try to move forward," Collins said. "We brought him to spring training and he's truly, absolutely saved us. I say every good team has to have a great story and a surprise, and he's it."