NEW YORK -- They were impressed. They were very impressed.
The Mets had plenty of compliments for the New York Yankees pitcher who shut them out on four hits in the Yankees' 4-0 win Wednesday night at Citi Field. But they were also very impressed with their own starting pitcher, 23-year-old Rafael Montero, who went six innings in his big-league debut.
"I thought he threw the ball well," Daniel Murphy said. "I almost threw up in my first big-league game, and I didn't have to face the Yankee lineup. I'm excited about him. I think he's going to be just fine."
Montero allowed three runs, but the first one scored only because of a poor defensive decision by left fielder Eric Young Jr. He also allowed solo home runs to Yangervis Solarte and Mark Teixeira. He needed 69 pitches to get through the first three innings, but then found a way to be efficient enough to finish six innings.
"I was calm from the first inning until I finished up," Montero said through an interpreter. "I just kept trying to throw strikes. That's the most important part."
Asked if he felt he showed he can pitch in the big leagues, Montero answered simply: "Claro."
In other words, absolutely.
The Mets would agree.
"I couldn't have asked for anything better," manager Terry Collins said. "I really liked him. I can see why everybody has been raving about him. I was very impressed.
"This guy's going to be good."
As for Tanaka, he's already good, a point proven well before Wednesday night.
The Mets advanced just two runners to second base, and no one to third. But they did have three sharply hit fly balls that were caught well shy of Citi Field's distant fences.
"Those are home runs [at Yankee Stadium]," Collins said. "We hit three home runs. We were just in the wrong part of town."
This is their part of town, and the Mets players know this is their ballpark.
"All you can do is keep barreling the ball," Murphy said.
All Montero can do is keep pitching well, and count on facing pitchers other than Masahiro Tanaka from here on out.
"He's a good pitcher," Montero said. "That's the truth. You've just got to admit it."
And Montero isn't too bad, either.