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Saturday, August 16, 2014
Vic Black bails out Mets in seventh

By Adam Rubin

NEW YORK -- Vic Black had plenty of practice trying to escape bases-loaded, no-out jams before Saturday.

The reliever noted that he put himself in those situations many times while pitching at Dallas Baptist, including in the 11th inning at TCU in his third-ever college game.

“Being a starter in college was not the easiest thing for me due to walks and things like that,” Black said.

With the Chicago Cubs having clawed back to within four runs in the seventh inning at Citi Field, Black took over with the bases loaded and none out from Jonathon Niese.

Black coaxed a fly out to left field from Chris Coghlan as the runners held. Black then got Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo to pop out in the infield to preserve a 7-3 lead. That ended up being the final score.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Black has now stranded 19 straight inherited baserunners. (That's defined as completing an inning in which he entered with another pitcher’s runners on base and none of them scored.) That’s the longest streak by a Mets reliever this season. David Aardsma finished last season stranding 19 straight.

Terry Collins was going to leave Black in for the eighth inning as well, but Black told the manager he was tired after the eight-pitch frame. Black also had pitched in the series opener.

“The job he’s done to come in with men on base is truly amazing,” Collins said. “He has not flinched. His command, it’s 10 times better when there’s guys on. I don’t know if he’s so focused that he’s got to get outs, but he’s pitched brilliantly.”

Said Black: “Overall, the biggest deal is going into it knowing you’ve done it before.”

Asked if his mentality is to limit the damage when entering with the bases loaded and none out and a four-run lead, Black replied: “No. ... No damage.”

Added Black: “Terry said, ‘Get a groundball.’ I was thinking, ‘A groundball is, at best, a double play. And if it’s not to home, that’s a run scored.’ I know what I would want if that’s my run.”