PHOENIX -- In all corners of Chase Field's visiting clubhouse, the Mets packed their bags, wolfed down their meals and prepared for a long flight back across the country. Their next chance to win a game will not come until Friday at Citi Field, which disappointed some of them.
"I almost wish we didn't have tomorrow off," catcher Anthony Recker said. "We're playing really well."
The latest example came Wednesday in a 5-2 win over the D-backs, which saw Dillon Gee's seven shutout innings result in another breezy victory. With that, the Mets closed out a 6-3 road trip through Atlanta, Anaheim and Phoenix -- ensuring that they will take the field Friday with a winning record.
"Tremendous road trip," said manager Terry Collins. "We got big hits when we needed hits. It was a good trip for us."
Much as they did in their first two games in Arizona, the Mets did their best to eliminate any early doubt from this one. Perfect through his first four innings, Gee did not allow a hit until Martin Prado doubled with two outs in the fifth. He gave up only two others on the afternoon, needing merely 72 pitches to complete seven innings -- making him the third pitcher in franchise history to complete seven innings in 75 pitches or less, and the first in 18 years.
"It looked like to me he got a lot of outs up, and he [Gee] got a lot of balls down, and it was a good mix of it," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "His changeup was good. His breaking ball was good. [He] threw a little cutter. When he got behind I noticed in the middle of the game, he was kind of going to the top of the zone and getting outs that way. So he knew what he was doing."
Gee struck out three and did not walk a batter, even making an athletic play to cut down Gerardo Parra as he attempted to stretch a single into a double in the sixth.
But wary of Gee's recent history of crumbling late in games, and mindful of his own desire to send Gee home on a high note, Collins removed his starter from the game after seven.
"I tried to stay in, but there's only one person to blame for me coming out that early and that's myself," Gee said. "It's one of those things where I'm going to have to go out there and regain the confidence and the trust in the staff to let me keep going in the game. Terry did what he had to do. I respect it, but I definitely wanted to keep going."
Shortly after making the move, Collins might have tended to agree. Kyle Farnsworth gave up hits to two of the first three batters he faced, escaping that jam only after Scott Rice induced an inning-ending groundout from Parra. An inning later, closer Jose Valverde served up back-to-back homers to Aaron Hill and Paul Goldschmidt in a non-save situation, trimming a five-run cushion down to three.
"My only concern is if my team wins, I'm happy," Valverde said.
Making his second start of the nine-game road trip, Recker led the offensive charge against D-backs starter Brandon McCarthy by homering in the second and doubling in the sixth. The Mets scored two other times against McCarthy, once on Kirk Nieuwenhuis' sacrifice fly and once on Gee's RBI groundout.
Eric Young continued his hot streak with a hit, a walk, a run scored and two stolen bases, while David Wright extended his hitting streak to eight games with a 2-for-5 afternoon.
But the victory began with Gee -- and while it may not have ended with him, it easily could have. The Mets' Opening Day starter, Gee held as much trust as anyone on the staff as recently as two weeks ago.
With Wednesday's outing now behind him, he appears closer than ever to regaining it.
"It's just making that one mistake late in the game and them taking advantage of it," Gee said. "That sticks in peoples' heads. I've got to go out there and keep proving I can get deep into games, and maybe I'll get that leash back."