Matsui was the unlikely person who put the Mets in the position to win on Saturday, stroking a three-run triple in the sixth inning that tied the game and chased St. Louis starter Mark Mulder to the showers with five runs under his belt.
Pedro Martinez started for New York as the other half of a tantalizing pitching matchup that was really anything but satisfying.
Martinez allowed five runs (but only four earned) for a second straight start in a six-inning effort Saturday, walking two and striking out four while serving up long balls to Mark Grudzielanek and Abraham Nunez.
The Mets are one game above .500 at 19-18.
Ishii threw four scoreless innings for the St. Lucie Mets on Friday night and is a candidate to come off the 15-day disabled list from his strained left lat – he was back at Shea Stadium on Saturday and could prompt the bump of Victor Zambrano from the rotation – while Strickland has been pitching with good velocity for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides.
A clause in Strickland's contract allows him to be released if he is not promoted to the major league club by Sunday. Strickland did not pitch on Saturday – the Tides were no-hit by Pittsburgh Pirates top pitching prospect Ian Snell, 4-0 – and has gone 0-2 with a 2.16 ERA and four saves for Norfolk, pitching in nine games (8.1 innings).