Never underestimate the importance of a player — even a proven veteran player — going home feeling good about himself at the end of a tumultuous season.

Yovani Gallardo was able to exit with a smile after putting the capper on a late-season push Friday night with six strong innings as the Milwaukee Brewers again beat the New York Mets 4-2 at Citi Field.

When Gallardo went on the disabled list with a hamstring strain at the end of July he was barely treading water with an 8-9 record and 4.91 earned run average never knowing from start to start what kind of command he would have. But in eight starts after being activated he went 4-1 with a 2.41 ERA.

That whoosh of air that just blew past you was the collective sigh of relief from Gallardo and the club's brain trust.

"Being on the DL for those two weeks kind of lets you reset and have a fresh start" said Gallardo who finished with a 12-10 record and 4.18 ERA. "Ever since then I've been feeling good. Even today there have been times where the command gets out of hand but I'm able to keep the team in the ball game.

"The year didn't start out the way I wanted to. I wasn't consistent. We all want to finish strong especially if it's been a tough year. That was the goal when I came off the DL — just be consistent every five days for the rest of the year."

Gallardo's curveball was more reliable over his final eight starts as the Mets discovered and he avoided the onerous pitch counts that led to early exits in the first half of the season. He has looked more like the pitcher who posted four consecutive 200-strikeout seasons entering 2013 as well as a 60-38 record over that span.