READING, Pa. - Just in case there were any doubts about where Steven Matz comes from, the rehabbing Mets starter left a bagel up on the scoreboard in his final rehab start.
The lefthander out of Ward Melville surrendered a leadoff single Monday night and did not allow another hit in 51/3 shutout innings. He exited with a lead, but Reading rallied against the bullpen to defeat Binghamton, 6-2, in front of 3,905 fans in a Double-A Eastern League game at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Matz, who is expected to rejoin the Mets' rotation next week, struck out four and walked two. He threw 77 pitches, 49 for strikes. He allowed only a first-inning hit in both of his Binghamton starts.
"Yeah," Matz joked when asked if getting the no-hitter out of the way early helped him settle down. "I don't know. I'm just trying to establish the strike zone early. When you do that, you pitch to contact. Sometimes they'll find a hole."
Matz went 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA in two starts for the Mets before hitting the disabled list July 6 with a partially torn lat muscle in his left side. He said he felt no pain after either start with Binghamton.
"It feels good just to be a part of [a] team again," said Matz, who has been living upstate and traveling with the team.
Reading clinched the Eastern League's first playoff spot.
Matz, who left with a 2-0 lead, worked out of trouble after a leadoff walk in the bottom of the third. He stranded that runner at third by striking out Reading shortstop J.P. Crawford -- the No. 5 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America -- who swung at a 95-mph fastball.
Matz did not allow another baserunner. His fastball rested consistently in the mid-90s and occasionally topped out at 96. He was on a pitch count of 80 and threw 64 pitches through four innings. Then he needed only nine pitches to get through the fifth, twice racing over to cover first on groundouts.
The quick fifth bought him one extra batter. He retired him on a soft grounder to short before he left for the dugout and, if all goes according to plan, the big leagues.
"I'm really excited," Matz said. "Those guys are winning up there. I think it's going to be a lot of fun."