"They were waiting for something else, but we still got them with the fastball," Bastardo said. "I just feel comfortable with my fastball. I don't even check the velocity or whatever. I just feel a lot of confidence with my fastball."
It was a brand of brashness that on this Sunday afternoon, the Mets sorely needed. Clinging to a one-run lead in the eighth inning, Mets manager Terry Collins turned first to reliever Jerry Blevins and then to Addison Reed, who combined to allow three straight singles. Those loaded the bases, prompting Collins to call upon left-hander Bastardo despite the right-handed batters stacked in San Diego's lineup.
"I just said, 'Well, I'm going to bring in somebody who's fresh," Collins said. "If he throws strikes, he's got a chance to get a popup or a strikeout and get out of the inning."
First up was pinch-hitter Derek Norris, who fouled off three pitches before missing a 91-mph fastball over the plate. Then came Melvin Upton Jr., who popped up the third of three consecutive fastballs. When Ramirez stepped to the plate with two outs, Bastardo changed nothing, peppering the zone with low-90s heaters. He elevated the sixth of them above Ramirez's bat, as his catcher whooped and pumped his fist.
"You've got bases loaded, nobody out," Plawecki said. "It was just one of those situations, a big situation to get out of. Obviously, we were pretty fired up."
For Bastardo, it was easily his most significant moment since signing a two-year, $12 million contract with the Mets last winter. Coming off a poor Spring Training, Bastardo went mostly unused in tight spots early in April, with Collins preferring to lean on fellow setup men Reed and Jim Henderson.
Perhaps now, with Sunday's magic act on his resume, Bastardo will move into a more prominent role.
"The goal is to not [let them] get a hit, a base hit, a double, whatever," Bastardo said. "I just try to throw every pitch with intensity and not leave anything in there for the hitters."