Facing his old ballclub, Redding delivered a big-time effort to halt New York's six-game losing streak and send the team into Sunday's finale with a chance to win its second series in 15 tries since the beginning of August.
"It's nice to end the streak," Redding said. "You know the guys fought hard last night and came back today and battled."
Redding -- who was alluding to another fierce ninth-inning Mets rally on Friday that came up just short -- knew he needed to come up big Saturday because the guy he was facing, John Lannan, had enjoyed great success against New York this season, compiling a 1.96 ERA over three starts. Redding responded by holding a Nationals offense with some legitimate pop to four hits and two runs (one earned) over the seven frames, which matched his longest outing of the season.
He breezed through the first six innings, permitting just two baserunners while moving at a brisk pace and protecting a slim 1-0 lead. The only run he allowed came in the seventh. Cristian Guzman led off the frame with a bleeder of a single that traveled about 20 feet up the third-base line.
The Nationals, sensing it was their only shot to inflict some damage against Redding, got aggressive, electing to hit and run with Ryan Zimmerman at the plate. Zimmerman hit a grounder to Redding, which he bobbled slightly, costing him any chance he had of turning the double play. A passed ball enabled Guzman to get to third, and an RBI single from Adam Dunn tied the game. But the Mets came right back, putting two runs on the board in the bottom half of the inning to ensure the win.
"The biggest thing was knowing that you had him beat," Redding said of Guzman's fortuitous single. "But I got a couple of double plays earlier in the game and was just trying to make a good pitch to Zimmerman."
Redding has made his fair share of good pitches since returning to the Mets rotation on Aug. 22. In six starts, he's 2-2 with a 2.72 ERA. Included in that run were a trio of excellent outings against current potential playoff teams in the Phillies and Rockies. While the Mets' October dreams were dashed a long time ago, that doesn't mean they're going to pack it in for the offseason just yet.
"We're just going to continue to play hard," Redding said. "We've got 13 or 14 games left, and we're just going to keep playing hard like we have been."
Matt Chaprales is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.