CLEVELAND (AP) — If Daisuke Matsuzaka was pitching for his job Sunday, he probably passed the test.
While Matsuzaka wasn't in the game when Eric Young's RBI double in the ninth gave the New York Mets a 2-1 win over the Cleveland Indians, the right-hander was impressive enough to likely buy some more time with the team.
"He pitched an outstanding game," New York manager Terry Collins said of Matsuzaka, who was charged with one run in 5 2-3 innings. "Boy, I was really happy for him."
Young's two-out double in the ninth scored the winning run as the Mets salvaged the finale of the series and ended the Indians' four-game winning streak.
Juan Lagares started the ninth with a single off Chris Perez (5-3) and moved to second on a sacrifice. Omar Quintanilla struck out, but Young lined a 2-0 pitch down the right field line.
Frank Francisco (1-0), making his first appearance of the season, got Asdrubal Cabrera to ground into a double play with the bases loaded to end the eighth.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched the ninth for his eighth save while Justin Turner hit a solo homer in the fourth. The Mets ended a trip that also had stops in Washington and Atlanta on a high note.
"We played good," Collins said. "We came into a tough road trip, three teams that are in the hunt. We're leaving 4-5 and very happy."
A lot of eyes were on Matsuzaka, who pitched poorly in his first three starts with the Mets since being signed last month, leading to speculation that his days with the team were numbered. He lost his first three starts, allowing 15 earned runs and 19 hits in 12 1-3 innings.
"I was really happy for Dice-K because he needed this game bad," Collins said. "He's a competitive guy, one of the better competitors you'll ever be around, and for him to go out and, after a rough start, pitch a good game I think is really meaningful for him."
"I think all my pitches were better than it's been, which made the big difference," Matsuzaka said through a translator. "I haven't been pitching very well for the past few weeks, and I know I need to make changes. I was able to do that today."
Matsuzaka spent most of the season pitching for the Indians' Triple-A team in Columbus, Ohio before requesting his release last month. He took a one-hit shutout into the sixth before being driven out of the game. He retired the first two batters before Jason Kipnis singled and Carlos Santana walked. Jason Kubel's line drive back to the mound appeared to hit Matsuzaka in the chest and rolled away, loading the bases.