NEW YORK -- Francisco Rodriguez didn't snap or even utter a four-letter word Tuesday night as Fernando Tatis' fly ball headed for home run territory. Tatis' pinch-hit homer in the eighth inning would pad the Mets' lead -- 2-0 became 4-0 -- but it also would deny Rodriguez a save opportunity. Instead, he spoke a five-letter word. "Again."
The Mets' slow start had afforded him merely one save opportunity in 14 games -- Saturday in St. Louis, in the game that wouldn't end. And his failure to convert it was the reason the game extended to 20 innings. But there were the Mets on Tuesday night, leading by two runs and needing three outs for a second consecutive victory. Rodriguez was armed and eager. And then Tatis stuck his big fat home run in the way.
"You kiddin' me," was Frankie's immediate reaction. Denied again. He estimated that late runs had defused 10 save opportunities last season. "At least 10," he said. Tatis' home run constituted a 2010 first.
"And it won't be the last time," Rodriguez said.
For now, Mike Pelfrey leads the Mets in saves with one, closing out the 20-inning game. Before the Mets engaged the Cubs on Wednesday night, Pelfrey was responsible for half the team's six victories and its lone save. "And I hear it from him every day," Rodriguez said.
"I have to shut him down. I tell you what -- if I don't have a save by the end of the month, I'm going to shave my head. No save, no hair."