Marlon Byrd was expecting a close play at the plate and knew he had to make a strong throw.

To the right fielder’s surprise, Darwin Barney was in the next zip code as the ball arrived into catcher John Buck’s glove in the eighth inning yesterday at Wrigley Field.

The throw beat Barney to the plate by 15 feet and the Cubs’ bid at scoring the tying run on David DeJesus’ single was denied in the Mets’ 3-2 victory.

“My thing was field the ball cleanly and throw it as hard as I can,” said Byrd, who had entered the game an inning earlier as a defensive replacement for Jordany Valdespin. “It’s one of those when you do throw it and then you see where he is. I was kind of shocked. A guy coming in later in the game, maybe he’s not loose, maybe he’s not ready, but it’s one of those things where I made a good throw and got him.”

It translated into a memorable homecoming for Byrd, who spent two-plus seasons with the Cubs before he was traded to the Red Sox last year.