By MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) — If this was their Citi Field farewell, Terry Collins and Jose Reyes went out winners together.READ MORE: Pasco, First FL County To Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines Via Walgreens
Collins guided his team to victory in perhaps his final home game as manager of the New York Mets, who beat the Atlanta Braves 7-1 on Wednesday night behind Reyes and rookie pitcher Robert Gsellman.
“At the end of the year is when I kind of sit down and take a look at things,” Collins said. “This past week, only because of all the questions, has it been hard to deal with, because my focus is trying to get the team ready. Every day it’s something else about me not being here.”
Travis d’Arnaud drove in three runs and pinch-hitter Dominic Smith launched a three-run homer for the Mets, who won their third straight and finished 37-44 at Citi Field this year. They wrap up the season with three games in Philadelphia this weekend.
Reyes, possibly playing his last home game for the Mets as well, had an RBI double and a single. He also scored a run.
Fans chanted Reyes’ name on several occasions, and a brief chant went up for Collins late in the game.
“A lot of stuff went through my head,” said Reyes, a potential free agent who wants to finish his career with the Mets. “That was an unbelievable feeling.”
Before the game, Collins joked that this night would feel like any ordinary one in July because of all the unavailable arms in his banged-up bullpen. But he appeared to get a little emotional when asked to recall his most memorable home games with the Mets — his first one, in 2011, and Game 5 of the 2015 World Series, when he left Matt Harvey in to start the ninth inning only to see Kansas City rally and win the championship.
“Those will probably stay with me forever,” Collins said.
The 68-year-old Collins, oldest manager in the majors, has said he has no plans to retire and would like to keep working until age 70 — even if that means somewhere else in baseball. His contract expires after this season, and the Mets (69-90) are expected to make changes following a hugely disappointing season derailed by injuries and underperformance.
The New York Post reported Wednesday that longtime pitching coach Dan Warthen, who precedes even Collins on the staff, is likely to be let go.READ MORE: Board Of Health To Transition Appointments To New State System
Collins led New York to a second consecutive playoff appearance last year and is 550-581 in seven seasons with the club. He has managed more games than anyone else in Mets history and ranks second to Davey Johnson (595) in wins.
After bringing his lineup card to home plate, Collins jogged back to the dugout and quickly waved to a few fans in the crowd of 28,617.
“He’s like my second father. That’s how much love that I have for him and he has for me,” Reyes said. “I don’t know what the future holds for him, but I wish all the best.”
Gsellman (8-7) capped his inconsistent season by throwing six steady innings to beat Atlanta for the fourth time, twice in the past 11 days. He struck out slugger Freddie Freeman with the bases loaded to end the fifth.
New York went ahead 3-1 in the bottom half when d’Arnaud hit a two-run single off rookie starter Sean Newcomb (4-9).
Smith connected off Jim Johnson in the seventh, sending a drive into the second deck in right field for his eighth home run since getting promoted from the minors Aug. 11.
Touted prospect Ozzie Albies had three hits and two steals for the Braves, including an RBI single off Gsellman.
Newcomb struck out seven and walked four in five innings.
“I like what I see. The upside is really good with this kid,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “I think he should go away from this season that he belongs here.”
New York took the final three of a four-game set and won the season series 12-7, its most wins against Atlanta in one year. The Braves have dropped eight of 10 to the Mets.
Braves: Freeman, who also committed a costly error at first base, said he lost nine pounds over the last 4 1/2 days due to illness. “I was able to get my first real meal down last night,” he said. “I don’t feel the best, but that’s not an excuse. I need to play better than I did tonight.”
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard said his bullpen session was “stellar” and he hopes to make a brief pitching appearance this weekend in Philadelphia. “I’m sure they’re just coming up with a game plan,” he said. Syndergaard missed most of the season with a torn lat muscle. … RHP A.J. Ramos (biceps tendinitis) said he felt better but was unavailable out of the bullpen.
Braves outfielder Nick Markakis went home to Maryland to tend to a family matter. The team hopes to have him back during its season-ending series at Miami, which begins Thursday night. … RHP R.A. Dickey will start the season finale Sunday in Miami if he wants, Snitker said. Otherwise, the Braves will go with LHP Max Fried. The 42-year-old Dickey pitched Tuesday and has hinted at possibly retiring after the season.
Braves: RHP Julio Teheran (11-12, 4.39 ERA) starts Thursday night at Miami in the opener of a four-game set.
Mets: Following a day off, Harvey (5-6, 6.60) makes his final start of a dreadful season Friday night in Philadelphia.