Lefty Torres flashes skills of an escape artist

Relief pitcher inherits bases-loaded jam with no outs, then whiffs the side

Lefty Torres flashes skills of an escape artist

NEW YORK -- With the bases loaded, nobody out and the Mets trailing by a run in the sixth inning, left-hander Alex Torres knew he could not afford to allow the Nationals to break the game open. New York's offense has been starved for runs recently, so Torres entered with the mindset of keeping Washington off the board completely.

Torres responded in brilliant fashion, striking out Doug Fister, Denard Span and Yunel Escobar to leave the bases full and escape the inning unscathed. Torres clapped his hands and sprinted toward the dugout, hesitating to leap over the first-base line, as the crowd of 41,048 fans roared at Citi Field.

"We needed that," Torres said. "We needed that, just to wake up."

"I owe him way more than a steak dinner for that," said right-hander Dillon Gee, who was responsible for the three runners on base. "I feel terrible that I left him in that spot. He was unbelievable. He came in and just dominated."

The Mets hoped that moment would be a turning point to ignite their scuffling offense, but it wasn't meant to be. The Nationals held on to beat the Mets, 1-0, handing New York its seventh lost in 10 games.

Still the Mets have to be encouraged by Torres, who is establishing himself as one of their most reliable options out of the bullpen.

In need of a lefty, New York acquired Torres from San Diego just before the end of Spring Training and hours before they acquired left-hander Jerry Blevins from Washington. The Mets had leaned heavily on Blevins to start the season, but he broke his left forearm on April 19.

Torres has filled that void nicely so far, retiring all six batters he faced Sunday. He owns a 0.96 ERA in his last 11 appearances, and right-handers are 1-for-19 on the year against him.

"I'm just trying to get comfortable myself," Torres said. "Just try to make a pitch, hit a spot, throw the ball down and just make quality pitches."

Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.