09-14-2006, 04:01 PM
Game 143 Recap- Florida 16, NY Mets 5
By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer
September 11, 2006
MIAMI (AP) -- There's something about the Cody Ross-Anibal Sanchez duo that works for the surging Florida Marlins.
Ross tied Florida records with three home runs and seven RBIs, while Sanchez -- in his first start since pitching a no-hitter last week -- allowed four hits and struck out eight in seven innings as the Marlins beat the New York Mets 16-5 Monday night.
Dan Uggla was a career-best 5-for-5 with three runs, Ross had four hits and Miguel Cabrera took over the NL batting lead plus drove in three runs for the Marlins, who had a season-high 20 hits and set a club record with five homers.
"A good day all around," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said.
Ross has 12 home runs this season, 10 with Florida -- and seven in games started by Sanchez. Entering Monday, Ross had only one homer in his last 87 at bats.
"Anibal told me a couple days ago, 'Man, every time I pitch, you hit a home run,"' Ross said. "After the first one I hit tonight, I thought about it and kind of chuckled. He doesn't need that much run support. He hasn't lately. But any time we can go out there and score like that against one of the best teams in the major leagues, it's huge."
The Marlins, 17-5 since Aug. 20, moved within two games of idle San Diego in the NL wild-card race. Uggla and Josh Willingham also hit home runs for Florida.
Carlos Beltran hit his 40th home run and Cliff Floyd added a two-run drive for the Mets, whose magic number for clinching the NL East title for the first time since 1988 remained at four.
"A lot of guys don't want to see those guys in the playoffs," Floyd said. "They're feeling pretty good about themselves."
Sanchez (8-2), unbeaten in his last seven starts, saw his bid to match Johnny Vander Meer's feat of throwing consecutive no-hitters end on Floyd's second-inning homer.
But by then, the Marlins had four runs -- and never stopped rolling.
Ross -- who was with the Dodgers and Cincinnati before coming to Florida May 26 -- hit a three-run shot in the first inning, then added two-run homers in the sixth and seventh. He tied Mike Lowell's franchise record for homers in a game and became the third Marlins player to have seven RBIs, the first since Gary Sheffield in 1995.
Florida Marlins' Cody Ross follows through on his three-run home run against the New York Mets in the first inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 11, 2006 in Miami. Miguel Cabrera and Wes Helms scored on the home run.
Ross was replaced in right field by Joe Borchard in the top of the eighth inning, as many who remained in the crowd of about 13,000 chanted "Co-dy! Co-dy!"
"Anibal should maybe take him out to dinner," Girardi said. "I've said all along, when Cody plays, he usually makes an impact. Cody has the ability to do a lot of special things. ... He is a great piece that we picked up."
Cabrera went 2-for-3 and improved his average to .340 -- one point ahead of Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez, who was 1-for-4 in the Pirates' 4-3 win over Milwaukee.
"There's a lot of games left," Cabrera said. "The most important thing right now is winning."
Florida had six players with at least two hits, including Sanchez -- who even drove in a run.
"He's a good pitcher. Located the ball well," Beltran said. "He has confidence in every single pitch."
Mets starter Dave Williams (5-4) lasted only three-plus innings, giving up nine earned runs and 11 hits.
Ross' three-run homer highlighted Florida's four-run first. Cabrera had a two-run double in the second, an inning that Williams could have been out of if shortstop Jose Reyes didn't bobble a potential double-play ball. Sanchez's single pushed the lead to 7-2 in the third, then Uggla led off the fourth with a homer.
And, unlike Sanchez, Uggla matched a 68-year-old major league record.
His homer was No. 24 on the season, tying the Yankees' Joe Gordon for the most by a rookie second baseman. Gordon set that mark in 1938, the same year Vander Meer threw his two gems.
Lastings Milledge and Carlos Delgado had RBIs in the eighth for the Mets, who have lost five of nine.
"That's an easy one to turn the page on. OK, get them tomorrow," New York manager Willie Randolph said. "You just toss it out."
Uggla's five-hit game was the first for a Marlins player this season, and the ninth in franchise history. ... Florida Atlantic football coach Howard Schnellenberger tossed one of the ceremonial first pitches. ... Florida is 5-3 on its homestand. ... The Mets lost for only the 29th time in 70 road games this season.
09-14-2006, 04:02 PM
Game 144 Recap- NY Mets 6, Florida 4
By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer
September 13, 2006
MIAMI (AP) -- Carlos Delgado dealt a blow to Florida's wild-card hopes and moved the Mets closer to wrapping up their long-awaited NL East title.
Delgado -- who has never been to the postseason -- hit a tying, three-run homer in the eighth inning, and Cliff Floyd's RBI double put New York ahead to stay in its 6-4 win over the Florida Marlins in a rain-delayed game Tuesday night.
The Mets trimmed their magic number for winning the NL East to three. They could clinch their first division title since 1988 on Wednesday with a victory over Florida and an Atlanta sweep in its doubleheader against Philadelphia.
"It will be exciting when it happens," Delgado said. "It's been a great year and we're all looking forward to that moment."
New York's victory also eliminated the Braves from the NL East race, ending their record run of 14 straight division titles.
The Mets trailed 4-1 entering the eighth before rallying with four runs. Florida could have moved within a game of the NL wild-card lead because San Diego lost 5-4 in 11 innings at Cincinnati. Instead, the Marlins remained two games back with 17 remaining.
"It's a tough loss," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. "We need to bounce back tomorrow. Obviously, we still have a chance to do what we set out to do and that's win the series. But it's a tough loss."
A trio of former Marlins -- Floyd, Delgado and Paul Lo Duca -- combined for seven hits, and David Wright added three hits and two runs scored for New York.
"We're inching closer to the playoffs," Floyd said. "It's been a long time for this organization. Everybody is excited about getting to the postseason."
Endy Chavez drew a bases-loaded walk in the ninth for an insurance run, and Billy Wagner got three outs for his 37th save in 42 chances. He struck out Miguel Cabrera with two on to end it.
Guillermo Mota (2-0) pitched a scoreless seventh for the win and Aaron Heilman worked the eighth to set up Wagner.
Josh Willingham had three hits, including his 24th home run, for the Marlins. Wes Helms had two RBIs for Florida, which got five shutout innings from Josh Johnson -- who hasn't allowed a run in 17 innings against the Mets this season.
Florida fans watch the game between the Florida Marlins and the New York Mets in of a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2006 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.
Florida's bullpen couldn't hold the 4-0 lead Johnson departed with; six Florida relievers combined to allow 10 hits and six runs in four innings.
Meanwhile, four Mets relievers combined to allow five hits and no runs in four innings.
"It's just one of those nights where we did everything early and couldn't do anything late," Helms said. "That happens. We didn't need it to happen tonight, but it did. It's one game. We needed it, but it's over with."
Wright had an RBI double in the seventh, pulling the Mets to 4-1. Lo Duca and Carlos Beltran started the eighth with singles, and Delgado connected off Taylor Tankersley for his 39th home run to straightaway center field.
"That was a big situation in the game," Delgado said. "I was looking for a chance to tie it. ... It's nice to be able to come through."
Wright, the next batter, doubled off Chris Resop (1-1) -- and the Marlins followed with another pitching change. It, too, didn't work, as Floyd greeted Renyel Pinto with another double, scoring Wright.
"We kept our focus," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "That's what you're supposed to do."
New York starter Oliver Perez struck out a season-high 11 in five innings, allowing five hits and four runs.
Rain delayed the start by 46 minutes, then interrupted play for another 82 minutes in the second inning -- after the Marlins built a 2-0 lead on Helms' two-run, two-out double in the first.
Both starting pitchers returned after the long delay.
Perez struck out eight batters in his first three innings of post-delay work, yet wasn't flawless during that span. He allowed a one-out single to Cabrera in the third, then Willingham followed his homer that staked Florida to a 4-0 lead.
Johnson, meanwhile, yielded leadoff singles in the fourth and fifth innings, but neither Met -- first Lo Duca, then Floyd -- advanced farther. But eventually, the Mets broke through.
"This is a big win tonight," Floyd said. "I think we'll all sleep a little better."
Mets RF Shawn Green was 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. ... Florida 2B Dan Uggla singled in the first, giving him hits in six straight at-bats. ... Franco is 0-for-8 with the bases loaded this season. ... Many of the 15,163 fans who remained through the delays cheered when the scoreboard showed Cincinnati's win. Another reason to cheer: They get $1 tickets to an upcoming game because the rain delays exceeded 90 minutes.
09-14-2006, 04:03 PM
Game 145 Recap- NY Mets 7, Florida 4, 11 innings
By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer
September 13, 2006
New York Mets' Carlos Delgado watches his game-tying base hit as he heads to first base against the Florida Marlins in the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2006 in Miami. David Wright scored on the single. The Mets won 7-4.
MIAMI (AP) -- The New York Mets aren't sitting back on their big lead.
Paul Lo Duca had three RBIs, Jose Reyes had three hits and Carlos Delgado delivered a game-tying, two-out single in the ninth inning as the Mets beat the Florida Marlins 7-4 on Wednesday night -- trimming New York's magic number for winning the NL East to two.
"We don't want to get too crazy about tomorrow or the next day," Delgado said. "We want to continue to play hard and keep our intensity level high and look forward to playing in the playoffs."
The Mets could have clinched the title with a win and Atlanta sweeping a doubleheader from Philadelphia. The Braves didn't come through, so the victory cigar manager Willie Randolph had on his desk is off to Pittsburgh, where the Mets open a series Friday. Pedro Martinez is set to make his first start since Aug. 14 then.
"These guys can feel it, smell it," Randolph said. "Tonight we took care of our own business. This is a collective group that wants to win badly. Hopefully we'll get it done this weekend. It would be nice to sip some champagne, smoke a cigar."
Josh Willingham homered for the third straight game and Scott Olsen allowed six hits in eight innings for Florida, which has lost two straight and fell to fourth in the NL wild-card standings -- three games back of San Diego, a 10-0 winner in Cincinnati.
The Marlins open a 10-game road trip in Atlanta on Friday.
"We're not dead. Two tough losses," Marlins manager Joe Girardi said. "We need a good road trip. There's no secret. We need a really good road trip, but we're not dead."
No, but they are a team that could have used a late-game dose of luck -- which never came.
-- Delgado's ninth-inning grounder could have ended the game and given the Marlins a win, but it skipped off the upper body of a diving Miguel Cabrera, enabling David Wright to score the tying run.
-- Jose Valentin, who scored the eventual winning run in the 11th, reached when his liner down the right-field line skimmed off the top of Wes Helms' glove, as the first baseman's leap was about two inches shy of what he needed.
-- A possible inning-ending double-play went awry later in the 11th, when Dan Uggla couldn't field Ricky Ledee's grounder cleanly. That opened the floodgates; Valentin scored on Miguel Olivo's passed ball, Reyes singled to Hanley Ramirez and the Marlins shortstop threw the ball into the Mets' dugout in a failed effort to get Ledee out. Ledee came home, and Lo Duca's second hit scored Reyes with the final run.
New York Mets' Jose Reyes (7) is greeted by Julio Franco (23) and teammates after scoring on a base hit by Paul Lo Duca against the Florida Marlins in the eleventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2006 in Miami. The Mets won 7-4.
"It was very strange," said Marlins closer Joe Borowski, who allowed Delgado's single and blew his seventh save in 40 chances. "Just seemed like somebody was helping them. That's what it felt like, late in the game."
It was the second straight night Delgado tied the game late; his three-run, eighth-inning homer helped the Mets rally Tuesday for a 6-4 win. Aaron Heilman (4-4) got the win after throwing two hitless innings, and Billy Wagner got his 38th save in 43 chances.
"We know that baseball is a crazy game," Delgado said. "We take it any way that we can."
Matt Herges (1-3) allowed four hits and three runs -- only one earned -- in 1 2-3 innings for Florida. He gave up Valentin's one-out double off Helms' glove, the hit that got the Mets rolling.
"We're two inches away from getting Delgado out," Girardi said. "That's baseball. Sometimes two inches is a lot in the game of baseball."
Willingham -- who was 8-for-13 with three home runs and six RBIs in the series -- connected on a 3-2 pitch from Tom Glavine for his 25th homer in the sixth inning, a high fly to left that snuck over the out-of-town scoreboard. It brought home Uggla, who led off with a single two batters earlier.
That was a temporary momentum shift for Florida, which lost a 2-0 lead when the Mets scored three a half-inning earlier. Lo Duca's two-run double allowed Glavine and Reyes to score, tying the game, and Lo Duca scored three batters later on Julio Franco's single.
Glavine allowed six hits and four runs in six innings.
The first 10 flyouts of the game went to right field, including two where New York right fielder Lastings Milledge made stellar diving catches; one robbed Ramirez, the other took a hit from Cody Ross. Not to be outdone, Florida right fielder Joe Borchard took a hit away from Cliff Floyd in the seventh on a sliding grab of a sinking liner. ... The Mets have lost only 11 of 47 series.
09-19-2006, 08:09 PM
Game 146 Recap- Pittsburgh 5, NY Mets 3
September 16, 2006
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pedro Martinez was close to tears, and it wasn't only because the New York Mets failed to clinch the NL East on Friday night.
Martinez struggled in his first start in more than a month, allowing four runs in three innings in a 5-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
When he came out of the game, Martinez sat in the dugout, head in his hands, and manager Willie Randolph put an arm around him.
"My pitches weren't there. That was the biggest frustration," Martinez said. "I was about to snap and let it all out. Thank God Willie was there. I felt like crying at that time."
Martinez (9-6) had been on the disabled list because of a strained right calf since Aug. 14, and Randolph said he would be limited to 60-to-80 pitches.
He threw 68 pitches and gave up six hits, walked one, hit a batter and made a throwing error. He struck out four.
"I didn't see the results I was expecting," Martinez said. "When you come off so many days without throwing the ball, you want to make a statement. I wanted to do a little bit better. My physical body didn't feel quite as well as I was expecting for the time being. I can't expect to be 100 percent fine. I still have plenty of time to do it."
Randolph said Martinez was healthy and would take his next turn in the rotation.
"I thought he did pretty well, actually," Randolph said. "He's a competitor. He's a warrior, and it didn't work out like he wanted. He's a little frustrated."
Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson said he was not alarmed, saying Martinez showed good command of all four of his pitches.
"I thought his stuff was good," Peterson said. "He just made some mistakes. You've got a young club that swings the bats decently and aggressively, and if you make some mistakes out over the plate they're pretty good at hitting those pitches."
After the game, the Mets missed a second chance to clinch its first division title in 18 years when Philadelphia held on for a 4-3 win at Houston. Many of the Mets watched on television as Houston's Humberto Quintero hit into a game-ending double play.
New York Mets' Paul Lo Duca, left, is restrained by manager Willie Randolph as he argues a third strike call with home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg, right, in the fifth inning of the baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh on Friday, Sept. 15, 2006. Kellogg threw LoDuca from the game.
"Some of us I think want to try to win the game on the field," catcher Paul Lo Duca said. "It would have been nice. We're not backing into anything. We've won a lot of games, and we've played well. But still, hopefully, we will take care of it tomorrow night."
Paul Maholm (8-10) allowed one run and two hits in seven innings as the Pirates beat the Mets for the second time in seven tries this season. Maholm, who walked three batters and hit three, is 4-0 in his last seven starts.
"Them being in first place and if they win they get to celebrate, that was another incentive to go out there and pitch good, because I don't think there's a player in here that wants to watch them celebrate on our field," Maholm said.
Salomon Torres pitched the ninth for his eighth save -- all coming in Pittsburgh's last eight wins.
Jason Bay hit his 33rd homer and drove in three runs. Jose Reyes had two hits and two RBIs for the Mets.
"It shows the way we've been playing," said Bay, whose team is 31-27 since the All-Star break after a 30-60 start. "Regardless of who we're playing, we are playing good baseball. It's somewhat gratifying against teams like this to stack yourself up to see how you have been doing."
Pittsburgh jumped on Martinez in the first inning when Bay doubled home Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez. Sanchez went 2-for-4 and is hitting .340 but lost his lead in the NL batting race to Florida's Miguel Cabrera, who had three hits and is batting .342.
The Pirates added two more runs in the third when Ryan Doumit hit an RBI double and scored on Ronny Paulino's single. Paulino was 3-for-4.
The Mets, who dropped to 23-19 against left-handed starters, did not get a hit until the fourth and did not score until the fifth, when two batters were hit before Reyes' RBI single.
New York scored twice in the eighth off John Grabow. Mike DiFelice led off with a double and scored on Reyes' triple, and pinch-hitter Julio Franco had an RBI grounder.
The Mets' next chance to clinch was Saturday afternoon, when the Phillies play a day game at Houston. If Philadelphia wins, New York could clinch with a win over the Pirates on Saturday night.
"However it gets done, we want it done with, so Willie can start with his planning," outfielder Cliff Floyd said. "We're very fortunate to be in this position. There's lots of teams battling right now playing for their lives. You turn on the ESPN and you see how this team has to win or that team has to win. We're fortunate the position we are in."
Lo Duca was ejected from the game when he argued with umpire Jeff Kellogg after being called out on strikes to end the fifth. ... Sanchez has 48 doubles this season, setting a club record for right-handed hitters. ... Martinez has 2,990 strikeouts. ... The Mets are 11-10 in games started by Martinez.
09-19-2006, 08:11 PM
Game 147 Recap- Pittsburgh 3, NY Mets 2
September 16, 2006
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates are proving they sure know how to ruin a party -- or at least delay one.
For the second night in a row, the Pirates prevented the New York Mets from clinching the NL East when Ronny Paulino hit an RBI double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 3-2 victory Saturday night.
The Mets' magic number for clinching their first division title since 1988 remained at one. New York could've won it Friday night, too, but lost to Pittsburgh 5-3.
"It's a matter of time. It's inevitable," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "We'd like to get it done sooner or later. Who knows the way things work out? We still get to go home (Monday), so we might get it done there.
"But we will try to get it done (Sunday). We will."
Second-place Philadelphia earlier staved off elimination for the second straight day, beating Houston 7-2.
After Paul Lo Duca flied out with a runner on second to end the Mets ninth, the Pirates won it in front of only their sixth sellout crowd of the season.
"I had a chance to put us ahead, and I just didn't get it done," Lo Duca said. "The guy made a good pitch on me.
"I don't think we are pressing -- we ran into a couple good left-handers and they've got a good ballclub. They're playing a lot better in the second half of the season, and we haven't been swinging the bats that well. We've got to go get them tomorrow."
Pinch-hitter Joe Randa drew a two-out walk from Aaron Heilman (4-5) in the ninth. Paulino followed with a drive to the deepest part of PNC Park in left-center field and Randa scored without a play.
Matt Capps (8-1) got two outs in the ninth to get the win.
"This is great," Capps said. "With them needing one win to clinch it and knowing that and not wanting to see them do it at our place ... just the excitement all through the team and clubhouse is fun. I was really pumped. It's been a great atmosphere to play in the last two nights."
New York Mets relief pitcher Aaron Heilman rubs the ball in his glove in the bottom of the ninth inning of the baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Pittsburgh on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2006. Heilman gave up two hits, losing the game 3-2.
Jason Bay hit his 34th home run for the Pirates, who have won four of five and are 32-27 since the All-Star break.
Carlos Delgado had two hits and two RBIs for the Mets.
"We're so close and it's just a matter of time before we go out there and win a game and clinch it," Delgado said.
Delgado doubled home Carlos Beltran in the first for a 1-0 lead. During the inning, Bay slid into the padding next to the left-field line chasing a foul ball and stayed on the ground for a moment.
Bay led off the second with a home run against Orlando Hernandez. He singled in the fourth, stole second and scored on Ryan Doumit's single for a 2-1 lead.
The Mets tied it off Shane Youman in the fifth when Delgado singled home Lo Duca, who had two hits.
Pittsburgh put the leadoff man on base in the sixth and seventh innings, but could not advance him. Beltran made a catch in center field and doubled Freddy Sanchez off first in the sixth. Pinch-runner Rajai Davis was caught stealing on a pitchout in the seventh.
Sanchez went 1-for-4 and is now hitting .340 -- one point behind Florida's Miguel Cabrera in the NL batting race.
"We had our shots tonight but we didn't come through, that's the bottom line," Randolph said. "But this team has a way of bouncing back. We've done it all year long. The good thing about it is it's a quick night and we will be back here early tomorrow.
"It's not like we are a game or two out and that makes it a lot easier not to (fret over)."
Pittsburgh rookie Tom Gorzelanny made his first start since Aug. 15 and went four innings, allowing one run and four hits with two walks. He had been on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left elbow, and the Pirates were careful to monitor his pitch count. The left-hander threw 71 pitches and left the game with the Pirates ahead 2-1.
"That was the most fun I have had in a game in a long time -- especially the ending," Gorzelanny said. "It was good to get back out there. The bottom line is I'm happy to be back and to go against a good team like that and be pretty successful at that stage made me happy."
Hernandez threw seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. He has allowed three earned runs in 21 innings against Pittsburgh this season.
While the fifth-place Pirates celebrated wildly after the winning hit, the Mets' clubhouse was quiet and somber -- an eerie scene with clear plastic that was to be used to protect players' belongings from spraying champagne rolled up above the lockers.
"Today would've been a great day to do it," Shawn Green said. "But I'm pretty confident we'll get it done. Hopefully tomorrow."
Pittsburgh OF Chris Duffy has a career-high 10-game hitting streak and stole his 20th base. ... Youman had his first major league hit, a single, to lead off the fifth. ... The last team to clinch a division in Pittsburgh was the St. Louis Cardinals in 1996.
09-19-2006, 08:14 PM
Game 148 Recap- Pittsburgh 3, NY Mets 0
September 17, 2006
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Once again, the New York Mets were left out of a party at PNC Park.
The Mets failed for the third straight day to clinch the NL East title when Zach Duke and the Pittsburgh Pirates finished off an unlikely sweep Sunday with a 3-0 win.
"I'm not frustrated. We are a little disappointed we didn't get it done," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "You want to go out and do it with all the anticipation."
New York was denied its first division title since 1988 later in the day when second-place Philadelphia beat Houston 6-4. The Mets can clinch at home Monday night with a win over Florida or a loss by the Phillies.
The Mets came to Pittsburgh with a magic number of one and the best record in the majors. Even with a sizable contingent of New York fans in the stands, the young Pirates became the first NL team to sweep the Mets this season.
"It's frustrating -- just taking away all the circumstances -- to come in here and get swept," third baseman David Wright said. "But I think we have the talent and we have the ability to put a hurting on a lot of teams. To come in here and do this is just one of those ruts over the course of three games."
Showing their spirit, the Pirates -- with the next-to-worst record in the league -- celebrated with hearty handshakes on the field. Pittsburgh completed its first three-game sweep at home against New York since 1998.
"When we heard that they had their party planned for this town, we took it kind of personally," Duke said. "We were like, 'Man, everybody just thinks we're going to roll over when they come in here.' But it's kind of a different story for us this half and we knew that if we put our minds to it we could definitely get the job done and we did."
While the sweep won't stop the Mets from eventually reaching the playoffs, it may have exposed a weakness that could prevent them from advancing far once they get into the postseason.
For the third day in a row, a Pirates left-hander beat New York. The Mets have lost 13 of their last 18 when lefties started against them and are 23-21 overall -- compared to 67-37 when facing a right-hander.
"It seems like every time we face a lefty, we don't get on base," star Carlos Beltran said. "But we are not concerned at all. We trust in every single one of us in here, and we know this is just something that probably has been a coincidence or something, I don't know. Sometimes we have good games against lefties. Sometimes we don't."
Sunday was clearly the latter as Duke (10-13) allowed eight hits, walked one and struck out six in eight innings. The Mets had only one extra-base hit and never advanced a runner past second base.
New York Mets manager Willie Randolph stands in the dugout during the bottom of the ninth inning during the baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2006. The Mets lost the game, 3-0.
Freddy Sanchez had two hits and two RBIs and Chris Duffy scored twice for the Pirates. Salomon Torres pitched the ninth for his ninth save.
"I think it's safe to say that this might be the best all-around series that we've played," Duffy said. "Every facet of the game, from pitching to defense and hitting. This is something we've been looking for a while so it feels great. Obviously I'm sure they're not too happy. I'm sure they had some plans.
"The sight of them celebrating on our field, I don't think it would've been a very good taste in our mouths just to see that. This was just a great all-around series," he said.
Endy Chavez had three hits and Wright and Lastings Milledge each had two for New York, which stranded nine runners and was 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. The Mets missed a chance to clinch the division on the same date they did in 1986 -- the last season in which the Mets won the World Series.
"We got a bad draw this weekend, but we're going home looking forward to celebrating with our fans," Randolph said.
Pittsburgh pounced on John Maine (5-5). Duffy led off the first with a single that extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games and Jack Wilson followed with a double.
Sanchez hit a weak chopper to third base that Wright fielded, but his throw home was off-target and Duffy scored. Sanchez, who entered the game a point behind NL batting leader Miguel Cabrera, was credited with an RBI single.
Jason Bay's sacrifice fly scored Wilson to give the Pirates a two-run lead. Sanchez had a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
After going against the Marlins' Brian Moehler on Monday, the Mets will face two more lefties. Randolph noted that most of the potential playoff opponents do not have many left-handed starters, and Wright said he was not worried about facing lefties.
"Not one bit," he said. "It doesn't concern anyone in this clubhouse one bit. We haven't talked about it, we haven't had any kind of meeting about it."
The only time the Mets were swept this season was when Boston Red Sox won all three games the teams played June 27-29 at Fenway Park. ... The Mets' three-game losing streak is one shy of their season high. ... Pittsburgh C Carlos Maldonado stole his first major league base. ... Pittsburgh's Xavier Nady, traded by the Mets to the Pirates in late July, snapped an 0-for-21 streak with a double off the right-field wall in the sixth.
09-19-2006, 08:17 PM
Game 149 Recap- Mets 4, Marlins 0 (Mets clinch NL East)
By RONALD BLUM, AP Baseball Writer
September 19, 2006
NEW YORK (AP) -- They soaked themselves in wine and beer, then ran out of their clubhouse to go back on the field, jump up and down some more and share the glee with their fans.
Ending nearly two decades of disappointment in their division and days of delay, the New York Mets brought the NL East title back to Shea Stadium for the first time since 1988 with a 4-0 victory over the Florida Marlins on Monday night.
Then they celebrated as if they had won the World Series.
"If this is what playoff baseball in New York is like, to me it's the best," David Wright said before sticking a cigar in his mouth and high-fiving fans in the first row during the 90-minute postgame celebration.
Jose Valentin, one of their unexpected stars, homered twice. Steve Trachsel, their longest-tenured player, combined with Guillermo Mota, Aaron Heilman and Billy Wagner on a four-hitter.
Fireworks shot off from behind the center-field wall when Cliff Floyd caught Josh Willingham's fly ball to left for the final out. The Mets rushed to the center of the diamond for a bouncing group hug near shortstop.
"I got that ball in my back pocket. For a small fee, I might give it up," Floyd said, laughing.
They are New York's "other team," often obscured by the crosstown Yankees, whose 26 World Series titles' dwarf the Mets' two. When the Yankees celebrate division titles -- they're closing in on their ninth straight -- they resemble corporate executives closing a deal with handshakes. For them, only World Series titles satisfy.
When the Mets win anything, it's time to let loose.
"If we win the World Series this year, it's not going to erase the Yankee mystique," Tom Glavine said. "They've done it year after year, and they deserve all the attention they get. We're just trying to play well and take some of that attention. But sure, we want our piece of the pie."
The Mets had hoped to clinch last week during a trip to Florida and Pittsburgh. But the 280 or so bottles of Freixenet Cordon Negro Extra Dry sparkling wine that had been flown from city to city were neatly arrayed in four trays outside the clubhouse before the game, as if to tantalize passing players.
By the fifth inning, when the Mets were up 3-0, Pedro Martinez was sitting on the edge of the dugout, wearing goggles -- perhaps in anticipation of sprayed sting in the celebration ahead. Possibly remembering the wild celebrations of 1969 and 1986, police deployed four mounted officers on watch behind the right-field fence.
A membeer of the grounds crew paints '2006 NL East Division Champions' on the field after the New York Mets beat the Florida Marlins, 4-0, to clinch the division during MLB baseball Monday night, Sept. 18, 2006 at Shea Stadium in New York.
"We accomplished the first step," Martinez said. "Now we have a big job to do and a great responsibility."
Led by the power of Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado, the pitching of Martinez and Glavine, the spark of Jose Reyes and Wright, and the closing of Wagner, the Mets took over the NL East lead for good with a 2-1 record on April 6 and put together the best record in the major leagues (91-58).
"It was a little bit frustrating because I wanted the guys to experience it right away," said manager Willie Randolph, a veteran of six World Series titles as a Yankees player and coach.
"It's that adrenaline that you get. It's that real euphoric feeling you get knowing that you accomplished something. Having said that, I've been through this many times. We have a lot to do, man. We've just scratched the surface of how good this team can be."
Just two years removed from a 71-91 finish that led to the hirings of Randolph and general manager Omar Minaya, the Mets ended the reign of the Atlanta Braves, who had won 14 straight division titles, including 11 in a row since their move to the NL East.
The Mets became the first team this season to clinch a playoff berth and can prepare for their first postseason appearance since 2000, when they won the wild card for the second straight season and lost to the Yankees in the World Series. The Mets are likely to meet St. Louis, Los Angeles or San Diego in the first round, starting in the first week of October.
A giddy crowd of 46,729 chanted, clapped and sang at festive Shea -- about 10,000 tickets were sold after Sunday's loss completed a three-game Pirates' sweep. Many arrived for batting practice, and fans already were on their feet cheering during the first inning.
Trachsel felt the buzz when he drove into the parking lot.
"Security guards and construction workers were screaming walking in: `Get this thing done!"' he said.
Trachsel (15-7), who signed with the Mets in December 2000, allowed three hits in 6 1-3 innings and joined Gary Gentry (1969), Tom Seaver (1973), Dwight Gooden (1986) and Ron Darling (1988) as the only pitchers to win division clinchers for the Mets. Darling was on hand Monday night as a member of the team's broadcast crew.
Valentin, who took away the second-base job from Kaz Matsui early in the season, hit a two-run homer in the third inning off Brian Moehler (7-9), then earned his second curtain call of the night with a solo shot in the fifth. Floyd added an RBI single in the sixth.
"That was something," Valentin said, recalling the fan reaction. "That was a great feeling."
For Florida, though, the playoff picture grows more dire by the day. The Marlins dropped 4 1/2 games back in the wild-card race.
"We're in a tough position," manager Joe Girardi said. "We've got 12 games to go, and we got to win most of them."
Delgado has the most games (1,703) among active players without a postseason appearance. ... When the Mets clinched their first division title in 1969, the game ended when the Cardinals' Joe Torre grounded into a double play -- Randolph's former mentor on the Yankees.
Last edited by Baseball Guru; 09-19-2006 at 08:21 PM.
09-19-2006, 08:23 PM
Game 150 Recap- Mets 3, Marlins 2
By BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer
September 19, 2006
New York Mets' Tom Glavine winds up for a pitch in the second inning against the Florida Marlins, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2006, in their baseball game at Shea Stadium in New York.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Tom Glavine pitched eight sharp innings and the newly crowned NL East champion New York Mets, fielding a makeshift lineup in a game that mattered little to them, rallied to beat the fading Florida Marlins 3-2 Tuesday night.
Lastings Milledge and Michael Tucker hit RBI singles in the eighth that gave Glavine (14-6) his 289th career victory.
The Marlins' fourth straight loss was a damaging one -- they began the day 4 1/2 games behind San Diego in the wild-card race.
The Mets' lineup did not include anyone who started Monday night's clincher, and it had six guys hitting under .210. Julio Franco made his first start at third base since 1982, while Tucker played first base and broke in Carlos Delgado's backup mitt.
"We got our A-minus squad out there today," Mets manager Willie Randolph kidded before the game.
Glavine, however, shined in what essentially was a tuneup for the playoffs in two weeks. He went eight innings for the first time since April 19, limiting the Marlins to four hits. Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 39th save.
Marlins rookie Scott Olsen shut down the Mets on five hits for seven innings and left with a 2-1 lead. But New York rallied in the eighth against Chris Resop (1-2) on a single by Anderson Hernandez, a walk to Endy Chavez and Milledge's tying single.
After an intentional walk loaded the bases, Tucker greeted Matt Herges with a go-ahead single.
Wes Helms, who once played with Glavine in Atlanta, hit a two-run homer in the second. Helms connected for his first home run in more than a month after Josh Willingham drew a leadoff walk.
Other than Helms' home run, Glavine was in control and allowed only two other runners to reach second base.
Hernandez, subbing for Mets leadoff man Jose Reyes, homered on Olsen's first pitch in the third. The ball landed in the Marlins' left-field bullpen, and Hernandez got hearty high-fives when he skipped back to the dugout.
Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria made a one-handed snag of a foul ball that bounced into his front-row box. ... 2B umpire Doug Eddings showed off a nice arm. When Florida C Miguel Olivo overthrew Olsen, Eddings retrieved the ball in shallow center field and pegged it to the mound. ... The crowd was announced as 42,407, although it appeared be less than half that on a misty night.
09-19-2006, 08:23 PM
What a terrific thread this is. A nice, concise place to unite all the recaps of the season's games. Thank you, BG.
Put it in the books.
09-19-2006, 08:24 PM
You are very welcome..
Originally Posted by milladrive
09-24-2006, 05:31 AM
Game 151 Recap- Florida 6, NY Mets 3
Florida 6, NY Mets 3
Preview - Box Score - Recap
September 21, 2006
NEW YORK (AP) -- Dontrelle Willis is doing everything he can to keep the Florida Marlins in the wild-card race. Just don't call him a power hitter.
Willis hit two home runs and pitched into the ninth inning to lead the Marlins over the New York Mets 6-3 Wednesday night.
Willis also pulled a run-scoring single into right field in Florida's three-run sixth. Matt Treanor's RBI double put the Marlins in front 2-1 before Willis drove him in with a base hit and Hanley Ramirez added a run-scoring groundout.
Willis rounded the bases quickly after each of his homers and said he "just swung," when asked about the two drives in his first career multihomer game. He was happy to be left in the on-deck circle in the top of the ninth, saying he might have been hit by a pitch if he went to the plate.
"It's just a game," he said. "The only thing now is people are going to be expecting me to hit home runs every time I get up and it's not my game, it's not my game at all."
Willis' strong effort helped Florida snap a four-game losing streak and kept alive its dwindling hopes playoff hopes. The Marlins are four games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Philadelphia, the NL wild-card co-leaders, with 10 games left.
"Obviously, Dontrelle, with his bat and his arm, he did everything tonight," Florida manager Joe Girardi said.
New York's only concern right now is keeping healthy and getting some rest ahead of the postseason. The Mets beat Florida 4-0 Monday night to clinch the NL East title, becoming the first team in the majors to qualify for the playoffs.
Willis (12-11) has won three straight starts for the first time this season. He allowed three runs and seven hits to improve to 3-1 against the Mets this season and 11-2 with a 2.02 ERA in his career. The left-hander is 5-1 with a no-decision in his last seven starts overall.
"He's a strong kid and for some reason he gets up for us," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "I thought he started out kind of slow, I thought we were going to jump on him early. Once he gets into a groove, he's tough."
Willis' three homers this season have all come at Shea Stadium. He also hit a grand slam in Florida's 7-3 win over New York on July 7.
Joe Borowski came on with runners at first and second and got two outs for his 35th save in 42 chances. He retired Jose Reyes on a fly ball with the bases loaded to end it.
New York Mets third baseman David Wright watches as Florida Marlins' Dontrelle Willis trots past him after Willis' eighth inning solo home run, Willis' second of the game, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006, in their baseball game at Shea Stadium in New York.
d afterward that he'd been giving Willis hitting tips, and that was the reason for his big night.
"He was like a regular position player at the bat," Borowski said. "Unbelievable."
Paul Lo Duca, who finished with three hits for the Mets, doubled in a run and scored in the sixth to cut it to 4-3. But Willis hit his second homer of the game in the eighth and Ramirez scored from second on Roberto Hernandez's wild pitch to restore Florida's three-run lead.
Randy Wolf was the last major league pitcher to hit two homers in a game, doing it for Philadelphia against Colorado on Aug. 11, 2004, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Oliver Perez (3-12) shut out the Marlins over the first four innings before running into trouble in the fifth and sixth. He was charged with three runs and five hits over 5 1-3 innings.
Perez got Alfredo Amezaga to fly out with runners on second and third to end the fourth, but Willis hit his first pitch in the fifth over the wall in right-center to tie it at 1. Willis raised his right arm in the air as the ball went out and the crowd booed as he finished rounding the bases.
"When I hit, they always tell me, 'Take the first pitch,"' Perez said. "I was thinking he was going to take the first pitch, but he hit it."
Outfielders Carlos Beltran and Cliff Floyd were out of the starting lineup again for the Mets. Randolph sent out a lineup full of reserves Tuesday night but put most of his regulars back in for the third of four straight games against the Marlins.
Florida 3B Miguel Cabrera was scratched from the starting lineup with a sore left shoulder. Wes Helms moved from 1B to 3B and Mike Jacobs was inserted to play 1B. Florida also shuffled its lineup, with three players moving up a spot in the order to make room for Jacobs, who batted sixth. ... Mets RHP Pedro Martinez is slated to start Thursday night against Florida in his first outing since he was nearly in tears following three innings against Pittsburgh. Martinez faced the Pirates on Friday night in his first start in more than a month, allowed four runs, and sat in the dugout afterward with his head in his hands. He had been on the DL because of a strained right calf since Aug. 14. ... Willis has six career homers.
09-24-2006, 05:32 AM
Game 152 Recap- Florida 5, NY Mets 2
Preview - Box Score - Recap
By MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer
September 22, 2006
NEW YORK (AP) -- Pedro Martinez never looked close to tears in his latest playoff tuneup. He never really looked like his old self, either.
The New York Mets' ace was certainly more comfortable on the mound Thursday night, but he was outpitched by Florida rookie Anibal Sanchez in the Marlins' 5-2 victory.
"This is what I wanted, regardless of what the results might be," Martinez said. "I got the innings and I got command of my pitches. That's what I needed."
Miguel Olivo and Hanley Ramirez each drove in two runs during a four-run fifth against Martinez, and Sanchez (9-3) worked seven strong innings to win for the fifth time in six decisions.
Florida won its second consecutive game following a four-game slide that hurt its postseason chances. The Marlins open a three-game series Friday night in Philadelphia, which is a half-game behind NL wild card-leading Los Angeles. Florida is four back of the Dodgers, who beat the Pirates 5-2 Thursday night.
"Two wins in a row was nice. But we need to beat Philly, that's the bottom line," manager Joe Girardi said.
New York already clinched the NL East title earlier this week, so Martinez (9-7) is just trying to get healthy and sharp in time to lead a suspect rotation in October. He's expected to make only one more regular-season start, next Wednesday in Atlanta.
"I'm really close," he said. "I'm going to push it in the playoffs."
The three-time Cy Young Award winner had a disappointing outing in Pittsburgh last Friday night, his first since missing a month with a strained right calf, and was nearly in tears in the dugout after lasting only three innings.
"The first outing, I felt like I had no knowledge of what was going to happen after the first inning," he said.
But the 34-year-old right-hander got off to a good start in this one. He faced the minimum 12 batters through four innings, striking out five, and got help from his defense in the form of a double play and two diving catches in the outfield.
"I'm extremely happy with the way everything went. I hit a little bit of a wall in the fifth inning," Martinez said. "Everything seems to be coming along just like I expected."
Florida Marlins catcher Miguel Olivo, left, congratulates closer Joe Borowski after the Marlins' 5-2 defeat of the New York Mets, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006, in their baseball game at Shea Stadium in New York.
Still, Martinez's mixed comments were difficult to read -- as they often are. He also said he was more "cautious" on the mound this time, which he considered wise, and he got "a little stiff, but not bad."
Furthermore, he definitely doesn't appear to be pushing off the rubber with the same thrust as usual.
"He does not look completely healthy," Girardi said. "His arm spot looked a little lower to me tonight, but when it comes to knowing how to pitch, Pedro knows how to pitch."
Martinez's goal is to give the Mets seven solid innings in the postseason. With their bullpen, he said, that should be enough.
"From five to seven, that's not much of a difference," he said. "I felt like I could've done a lot more. You don't want to rush anything."
Martinez ran into trouble in the fifth, when he gave up four hits and hit a batter with a pitch. Yet few balls were hit hard against him, and he struck out seven over five innings before leaving for a pinch hitter.
Martinez yielded four runs -- three earned -- and one walk, throwing 52 of 87 pitches for strikes. He is 2-4 with a 7.47 ERA in seven starts since June 28.
"He looked a lot better than the last time out," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "He had that nice feel and presence about him. He was out there competing. So that was very encouraging."
Sanchez allowed two runs -- one earned -- and seven hits in his third start since a no-hitter against Arizona on Sept. 6. He's beaten the Mets twice in those three outings.
Taylor Tankersley pitched a scoreless inning, and Joe Borowski got three quick outs for his 36th save in 43 chances.
Wes Helms added an RBI double in the eighth for Florida.
Carlos Delgado's RBI single in the fourth gave Martinez a 1-0 lead, and Endy Chavez had a run-scoring single in the fifth.
Florida 3B Miguel Cabrera sat out for the second consecutive game because of a strained left shoulder. ... Ramirez nicked his right index finger while trying to bunt in the seventh. He came out in the eighth. ... Mets CF Carlos Beltran was out of the lineup again. He said he underwent an MRI exam on Wednesday and has a minor strain in his upper left quadriceps. "Just regular banged-up stuff," Randolph said before the game. "Nothing major." ... New York C Paul Lo Duca also sat out with a sore left thumb that's bothered him for much of the season. Kelly Stinnett started behind the plate. ... The Mets reached a two-year agreement to make New Orleans in the Pacific Coast League their Triple-A affiliate, ending a long relationship with Norfolk, Va.
09-24-2006, 05:33 AM
Game 153 Recap- Washington 3, NY Mets 2
Preview - Box Score - Recap
By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Sports Writer
September 22, 2006
New York Mets' Cliff Floyd strikes out swinging against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning in Major League Baseball action Friday, Sept. 22, 2006 at Shea Stadium in New York. The Nationals won, 3-2.
NEW YORK (AP) -- Alfonso Soriano spoke proudly about all he has done this season.
Down the hall, the Mets showed little concern about what they haven't been doing.
Soriano became baseball's first 40-40-40 player, Pedro Astacio turned in a rare strong road start, and the Washington Nationals beat New York 3-2 Friday night.
Soriano hit his 40th double, stole his 41st base and scored a run. With 45 homers, he already was only the fourth major league player with 40 homers and 40 steals in a season.
"Personally, those are good numbers," he said. "I am happy with the way that I've been playing now that my family and fans are very proud of me. And I'm very happy with the numbers I've put up this year."
Austin Kearns homered and Felipe Lopez drove in a run and scored for the Nationals, who opened their final road series of the season by improving to just 28-50 away from home. They have won only four of their last 16 road games.
Part of the problem had been Astacio (5-5), who was 1-3 with an 11.52 ERA on the road. But he limited the Mets to two runs and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings before three relievers shut out the NL East champions the rest of the way. Chad Cordero worked the ninth for his 28th save in 32 chances.
Endy Chavez had three hits and drove in a run for the Mets, who played without three regulars and lost their third straight and sixth in eight games. They have scored three or fewer runs in seven of those games.
But with offensive catalysts Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Paul Lo Duca out of the starting lineup with the best record in the NL already clinched, the Mets saw little reason for panic.
"As it gets closer to postseason, we have to bear down and make sure that we can springboard into the playoffs," third baseman David Wright said. "We're still in that honeymoon period after clinching, and we'll buckle down here."
Orlando Hernandez (10-11) pitched well except for the third inning, when he allowed two hits, hit two batters with pitches and gave up two runs. He went seven innings, allowing three runs and six hits while striking out eight and walking one.
Soriano was hit by a pitch with one out in the third, stole second and went to third when Mike DiFelice's throw went into center field for an error. Lopez singled to make it 1-0, stole his 40th base, and scored when rookie Ryan Zimmerman singled for his 100th RBI.
Washington Nationals' Alfonso Soriano breaks his bat as he grounds out to the pitcher during the ninth inning against the New York Mets in Major League Baseball action Friday, Sept. 22, 2006, at Shea Stadium in New York.
"It's given a lot of thrills and a lot of enjoyment in watching those guys produce and come through in tough situations, clutch situations and making things happen for this ballclub," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said about Soriano and Zimmerman. "It's been a joy to watch those guys."
Soriano and Lopez made Washington the first team with 40-steal teammates since 1993, when Luis Polonia (55) and Chad Curtis (48) did it for the Angels and Marquis Grissom (53) and Delino DeShields (43) did it for the Expos, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Soriano led off the fifth with his 40th double, but was left at third after Hernandez struck out Zimmerman and Nick Johnson.
With the Nationals in last place in the NL East, individual accomplishments have helped provide some motivation for Soriano.
"It's a bit difficult to come out to the stadium when the team is in last place," he said, "especially for me who came up with the Yankees and all the time with my mind on winning."
Chris Woodward led off the fifth with a double and scored on a single by Chavez, but Astacio escaped further trouble by striking out Carlos Delgado with runners on second and third to end the inning.
Washington got that run back in the sixth when Kearns led off with his 24th homer.
Pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee got the Mets to 3-2 in the seventh with a homer that cleared the bullpen in right, and Chavez followed with a bunt single to chase Astacio. Delgado was intentionally walked with two outs, but Wright bounced into a forceout against Saul Rivera.
"We'd like to win all the time but it's not really a big deal for me really, as long as we're playing well," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "You'd like to get a few extra situational hits. Tonight we had a couple of times to do that but we didn't get it done. So we'll go out and get 'em next day. But I'm not concerned."
The last 100-RBI season by a rookie was in 2003, when the Yankees' Hideki Matsui drove in 106. ... The Mets and Nationals, who met eight times in a one-month span to open the season, play six more times in the final nine days. ... Ledee's homer was the 10th of his career as a pinch-hitter. ... Washington has won nine straight one-run games.
09-24-2006, 05:34 AM
Game 154 Recap- NY Mets 12, Washington 6
By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Sports Writer
September 23, 2006
NEW YORK (AP) -- Even before Nick Johnson was carted off the field, the Washington Nationals knew he was badly hurt.
Johnson broke his right leg in an outfield collision during the eighth inning of the New York Mets' 12-6 victory over the Nationals on Saturday.
The first baseman collided with right fielder Austin Kearns while chasing David Wright's blooper down the right-field line that fell in for a triple. Johnson was immobilized and taken to a hospital. He was scheduled to have surgery Saturday night in New York to repair his right femur, the bone in the upper part of his leg.
Second baseman Jose Vidro, who was near the collision, said he heard a "crack." Washington manager Frank Robinson said that when trainers tried to move Johnson, "You can't even describe the sounds he made."
"You sit there and see a teammate and a friend on the ground yelling in pain," Kearns said. "It makes you sick to your stomach. I'm just sick to my stomach, I don't know anything else to say."
The oft-injured Johnson actually remained healthy nearly all season. He batted .290 with 23 homers, 77 RBIs and 110 walks in 147 games.
The Mets were on the other end of a similar play last season, when center fielder Carlos Beltran and right fielder Mike Cameron banged heads while chasing a ball in a game at San Diego.
"Obviously, he was in pain. You just hate to see it happen," said Wright, who went out into the outfield to check on Johnson.
"You have two competitors out there, two big bodies out there going full speed on each other. The Carlos Beltran and the Mike Cameron collision and now this one. Two people just playing the game hard."
Said Beltran, who is currently out with a strained quadriceps: "I feel sorry for him, he's a good guy."
Earlier, Wright's three-run homer capped a six-run fifth inning, helping the Mets erase a 4-0 deficit.
Paul Lo Duca also homered and Wright finished with three hits and three runs for the Mets, who snapped a three-game skid. Jose Reyes drove in three runs and reached base five times with a two-run double, an RBI single, another single and a pair of walks.
The trainer for the Washington Nationals, left, calls for help as first baseman Nick Johnson lays on the field with right fielder Austin Kearns at his side during the eighth inning against the New York Mets in Major League Baseball action Saturday, Sept. 23, 2006 at Shea Stadium in New York. Johnson and Kearns collided while going for a pop up hit by David Wright. Johnson was carried off the field. Kearns left the game.
The Mets broke open the game with three runs in the seventh and three more in the eighth.
John Maine (6-5) got the win despite throwing 110 pitches in five innings. He allowed four runs and three hits, struck out seven, walked five and hit two batters with pitches.
Alfonso Soriano hit his 46th homer for the Nationals. Michael O'Connor (3-8) yielded six runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Shawn Green led off the fifth with a double and scored on a single by Lastings Milledge. Chris Woodward's double put runners at second and third, and after pinch-hitter Jose Valentin struck out, Reyes and Endy Chavez followed with consecutive RBI singles to bring the Mets to 4-3.
O'Connor got Lo Duca to fly out, but Wright followed with his 25th homer to give New York a 6-4 lead. Julio Franco and Green followed with singles off Ryan Wagner before Milledge flied out to end the inning -- after the Mets had eight hits by seven players.
"We had been a little stagnant last couple of days," said Mets manager Willie Randolph, who began his postgame remarks by asking reporters to pray for Johnson. "That happens, that's the way baseball is. Guys were a little more aggressive today, taking advantage of some of the momentum we had."
Soriano homered in the seventh, but the Mets answered with Woodward's RBI single and a two-run double by Reyes to make it 9-5. Lo Duca hit his fifth homer in the eighth before Franco and Milledge added run-scoring doubles.
Maine, hoping a strong start could help land him a postseason role, cruised through the first three innings before losing his control and needing 68 pitches to get through the next two.
The Mets had two hits in the first but didn't score in part because of a brilliant double play started by Nationals catcher Brian Schneider. With the speedy Reyes at first, Schneider ran back to make a diving catch of Chavez's fouled bunt attempt, then made a long throw to second to nail Reyes, who had tried to tag up.
Lo Duca (thumb) was back in the lineup after missing two games, but it will be at least another day before Beltran returns. Beltran and Randolph said the CF would see how he felt Sunday, but Beltran seemed to indicate that he might not play until the series finale Monday night . ... The Nationals were without pitching coach Randy St. Claire because of the flu. Robinson made all the visits to the mound.
09-28-2006, 02:02 PM
Game 155 Recap- Washington 5, NY Mets 1
By MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer
September 24, 2006
NEW YORK (AP) -- The Washington Nationals found the perfect way to honor first baseman Nick Johnson while he was lying in the hospital Sunday with a broken right leg.
Playing with Johnson's jersey hanging in the dugout and their socks pulled high in his favorite style, the Nationals beat the slumping New York Mets 5-1 behind Alfonso Soriano and Tony Armas Jr.
"Just a good gesture. I hope Nick saw it. He knows we miss him," catcher Brian Schneider said.
Armas pitched six strong innings for his first victory in seven starts since Aug. 18 and Ryan Zimmerman hit an RBI double for Washington, which sent the NL East champions to their seventh defeat in 10 games.
"Was that like, win one for the Gipper?" Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "That just kind of got the guys up a little bit."
Trying to secure a spot in New York's postseason rotation, Steve Trachsel (15-8) allowed three runs in five-plus innings. He dropped to 1-3 with a 4.91 ERA in his last four starts -- not exactly what the Mets were looking for heading into October.
"Tryouts are for spring training. If 15 wins is not enough, then I don't know," Trachsel said.
The Mets have lost four of five to Florida and Washington.
Armas (9-12) gave up five hits, including Jose Valentin's 18th homer. He walked none and struck out four, earning only his third win since coming off the disabled list on July 17. He had been out with a strained right forearm.
Armas was 0-4 in his previous six starts since beating Philadelphia 6-4.
"I just want to be able to go out there every five days and be healthy," he said. "I know I can do my job."
Billy Traber, Jon Rauch and Saul Rivera finished the five-hitter. Rauch got through the eighth unscathed thanks to fine plays by right fielder George Lombard and center fielder Ryan Church.
Washington Nationals Alfonso Soriano follows through on his first inniing sacrifice fly to New York Mets outfielder Shawn Green in the Nationals 5-1 defeat of the Mets, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2006, in their baseball game at Shea Stadium in New York. The Nationals Bernie Castro scored on the sacrifice fly. Mets catcher Kelly Stinnett is shown, far right.
One day after Johnson was hurt in a gruesome collision with right fielder Austin Kearns, the Nationals got a nice all-around game from Soriano, the first player in major league history with 40 homers, 40 steals and 40 doubles in one season.
"That's been what he's done all year long for us. He doesn't have to always hit a home run to help this ballclub," Robinson said. "His overall game, he brings a lot to the table."
Soriano hit a sacrifice fly in the first, doubled and scored in the fifth, and threw out a runner on the bases from left field.
Cliff Floyd tried to stretch a single in the fourth, but Soriano cut him down out at second for his major league-leading 22nd outfield assist.
"I enjoy every part of the game," Soriano said. "That's why I love this game."
Trachsel pitched 6 1-3 shutout innings in the division clincher Monday night against Florida. This time, however, he walked his first batter, Bernie Castro, who scored on Soriano's sacrifice fly.
Another walk helped the Nationals load the bases with none out in the second, and a run scored on Armas' double-play grounder.
Valentin connected leading off the fifth, a shot into the right-field bullpen.
Soriano opened the sixth with a double that glanced off the glove of third baseman Chris Woodward. Zimmerman followed with his second double of the day, making it 3-1 and chasing Trachsel, who yielded eight hits and three walks while throwing 92 pitches.
"He got some work in," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "I don't look at Steve Trachsel like he's auditioning for a spot. He's been one of our best pitchers this year. It's not like it's the first time he's been around the block. When he gets runners on base, he knows how to handle that."
Brandon Harper doubled leading off the seventh against Darren Oliver and scored on a double by pinch-hitter Henry Mateo that appeared to bounce foul down the first-base line. First base umpire Tim McClelland initially signaled foul, then reversed his call.
Mateo scored on an RBI single by Felipe Lopez for a 5-1 cushion.
Mets CF Carlos Beltran missed his sixth straight game with a strained quadriceps but is expected to play Monday night. ... New York SS Jose Reyes stole two bases, giving him 60 this season and matching his NL-leading total from last year. ... The Nationals improved to 5-9 against the Mets this season. ... RHP Philip Humber made his major league debut for the Mets and pitched a hitless ninth with one strikeout.
09-28-2006, 02:03 PM
Game 156 Recap- Washington 7, NY Mets 3
By JAY COHEN, AP Sports Writer
September 25, 2006
NEW YORK (AP) -- Tom Glavine knows exactly what he wants to do in his last tuneup for the postseason. He just doesn't know when he's going to get that final start.
Glavine had some uncharacteristic control problems Monday night and the New York Mets lost to Washington 7-3 in their final home game of the regular season.
"I just want to have better command than I did tonight," he said. "There isn't a whole lot more to work on."
The NL East champions finished 50-31 at Shea Stadium, losing five of their last six. They return home next week for Game 1 of the playoffs.
Glavine (14-7) gave up eight hits and four runs -- three earned -- in six innings. It was his first loss since Aug. 16 and the most hits he has allowed since he surrendered 10 in four innings at Atlanta on July 30.
He is slated to make his final start of the regular season on Saturday at Washington, but manager Willie Randolph said before the game that will depend on how the rest of the staff does this week.
"If something changes, then I'll adjust accordingly," Glavine said. "I certainly wouldn't want to go into the first game of the playoffs on two or three days' rest.
"On the other hand, I wouldn't want this to be my last start and have eight days' rest."
The Mets were encouraged by the return of center fielder Carlos Beltran, who missed the previous six games with a strained quadriceps. He walked three times and grounded out.
Ryan Zimmerman hit a three-run double for the Nationals and Beltran Perez pitched into the seventh inning in his second major league start.
"I couldn't ask for much better than what he did out there," Washington manager Frank Robinson said. "I like what I see with this young man and he's got a good idea about what to do, how to do it and what his strengths and weaknesses are."
Brian Schneider tied a career high with four hits and Jose Vidro went 3-for-3. Washington won three of four for the franchise's first series victory in a four-game set at Shea since the Montreal Expos did it Sept. 18-21, 2003.
Washington Nationals' Brian Schneider, left, greets Nook Logan at home plate after the two scored on a single by Bernie Castro during the eighth inning against the New York Mets in Major League Baseball action Monday, Sept. 25, 2006 at Shea Stadium in New York.
Vidro scored on catcher Paul Lo Duca's throwing error in the sixth to make it 4-2 and Bernie Castro added a two-run single in Washington's three-run eighth.
Perez (2-0) walked six and retired the side in order only once but managed to limit New York to two runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. He got his first major league win last Tuesday night, allowing one hit in six shutout innings against Atlanta.
"I just tried to stay on top of the ball, keep the ball down so I would be effective," Perez said through a translator.
Cliff Floyd's RBI groundout in the third cut Washington's lead to 3-2 but Perez struck out Shawn Green with a runner on second for the final out. David Wright grounded into an inning-ending double play with two runners on in the fifth.
Green led off the second inning with a home run to put the Mets in front 1-0. Jose Valentin walked with one out and moved to second on Glavine's sacrifice, but Nook Logan made a terrific leaping catch against the wall in center to take a hit away from Jose Reyes.
"What I liked about him was his composure out there on the mound," Robinson said of Perez. "Even after the home run, he came right back and got the next hitter out."
The Nationals rallied in the third, helped by some uncharacteristic wildness by Glavine. Felipe Lopez and Alfonso Soriano walked to load the bases with one out, and Zimmerman doubled into right-center field to give Washington a 3-1 lead.
"Command is an issue," Randolph said. "Balls and strikes were almost even. Tom's a control guy, we know that. Control was an issue but sometimes it escapes you and that's what happened to him tonight."
Glavine threw 57 of his 107 pitches for strikes and fell to 8-3 with a 2.88 ERA in 15 starts at home this season.
"I had good stuff but I had trouble locating when I wanted to," he said.
Vidro walked after Zimmerman's hit and Glavine then got some help from Lo Duca, who threw out a runner trying to steal third for the second consecutive inning. Schneider tried it in the second and Zimmerman was caught the next inning.
Glavine, who was 2-0 in his previous four starts, fanned Schneider for the final out of the third.
Nationals 1B Nick Johnson, who broke his right leg in a gruesome collision with right fielder Austin Kearns on Saturday, was expected to remain in the hospital overnight Monday while the rest of the team made the trip back to Washington. The Nationals said Johnson had medical clearance to travel but they were concerned about his comfort. Johnson could travel back to Washington in the next couple of days. ... Nationals pitching coach Randy St. Claire (pneumonia) was out of the hospital but stayed at the team hotel during the game. He was expected to travel back to Washington with the team. ... The Nationals completed their road schedule with a 29-52 record.
09-28-2006, 02:04 PM
Game 157 Recap- Atlanta 12, NY Mets 0
By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer
September 26, 2006
ATLANTA (AP) -- John Smoltz and Andruw Jones reached gratifying milestones. The New York Mets reached "a low point," according to third baseman David Wright.
The NL East champions are looking to gain momentum for the postseason. Instead, an embarrassing 12-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night extended their late-season slump.
The Mets have been outscored 24-4 in three straight losses. They have dropped six of seven and nine of 12 overall.
New York has only five more road games -- including a key playoff tuneup for Pedro Martinez on Wednesday night against the Braves -- before the regular season ends.
"We're not panicking," Wright said. "We need to get going.
"This could be a blessing in disguise," he added. "We have hit a low point. It lets us realize we're not exactly the team we need to be."
Smoltz pitched eight sharp innings for his 15th win, including victories in his past three starts.
Jones became the first Atlanta hitter with consecutive 40-homer seasons. He has connected in five of the last eight games.
Smoltz (15-9) gave up six hits and walked two, reaching 15 wins for the first time in eight years. He struck out six.
"That's the kind of pitching we'll face in the playoffs," Wright said. "We need to get ready."
Mets left-hander Oliver Perez gave up homers to Jones, Willy Aybar and Matt Diaz. Aybar had three hits and Edgar Renteria hit a three-run double in a six-run eighth.
Mets manager Willie Randolph was upbeat after the game, confidently predicting, "We'll turn the page."
New York Mets pitcher Oliver Perez watches Atlanta Braves' Matt Diaz round bases on his homer un during the fourth inning of their Major League baseball game, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2006, in Atlanta.
"My confidence is always high," Randolph said. "I don't want to get too analytical. It's just another game. ... I don't think this has anything to do with (the playoffs) next week."
But Randolph's players expressed concern.
"We need to start playing a little better than we have the last six or seven games," catcher Paul Lo Duca said. "We need to start clicking a little more before we go into the playoffs."
Smoltz is 29-16 in two seasons back in the rotation after four years as the Braves' closer. He last reached 15 wins in 1998, when he was 17-3.
But he said another strong season or a lopsided win over the Mets does not make up for being trounced by New York in the division race.
"No. None," Smoltz said. "It doesn't matter if we win these three games with the exact same score."
Smoltz had his $8 million option for 2007 picked up by the Braves last week.
"My thing is, finish strong, finish it out," Smoltz said. "I still enjoy pitching."
Macay McBride worked the ninth for Atlanta.
Perez (3-13) took his third loss with only one win in six starts since joining the Mets in a trade from Pittsburgh. He gave up seven hits and six runs with three walks and five strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings.
Atlanta Braves' Ryan Langerhans scores from first off a Brian McCann double as New York Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca waits for a throw during the eighth inning of their Major League baseball game, Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2006, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 12-0.
Aybar led off the first with a double, advanced to third on Marcus Giles' single and scored on Renteria's sacrifice fly. Jones followed with the two-run homer, his 40th, for a 3-0 lead.
The only other players in franchise history to post consecutive 40-homer seasons were Eddie Mathews (1953-55) and Hank Aaron (1962-63), both with the Milwaukee Braves.
"It's a good, solid season when you have 40 home runs," Jones said. "It's tough. But if you stay focused and go out there every day, those numbers come up."
Jones set a club record with 51 homers last season.
Aybar hit his fourth homer in the third inning, just over the reach of left fielder Cliff Floyd's outstretched glove. Diaz added his seventh homer in the fourth for a 5-0 lead.
Diaz drove in Jones with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly to push the lead to 6-0 and knock Perez out of the game.
The Braves added six eighth-inning runs on six hits off Heath Bell. Brian McCann's RBI double drove in Ryan Langerhans. Pinch-hitter Daryle Ward and Giles added run-scoring singles before Renteria's three-run double.
With his sixth strikeout, Smoltz tied Frank Tanana for 19th place on the career list with 2,773. ... Braves 3B Chipper Jones did not play due to a sore left oblique and a sore second toe on his right foot. 1B Adam LaRoche also was held out of Atlanta's lineup with a sore right hamstring. ... The Mets already are assured of their first winning record in Atlanta since 1992. They fell to 5-2 in Atlanta and 10-6 overall against the Braves this season. The Mets' record at Turner Field is 25-53.
09-28-2006, 02:05 PM
Game 158 Recap- Atlanta 13, NY Mets 1
By PAUL NEWBERRY, AP Sports Writer
September 27, 2006
ATLANTA (AP) -- Pedro Martinez had endured all sorts of injuries this year. It started in spring training with a sore toe. Then his hip began to hurt. And now comes the ailment that will likely knock the New York Mets' ace out of the first round of the playoffs.
Martinez, a three-time Cy Young Award winner, was rocked again in his final start of the regular season, giving up eight hits, seven runs and two homers in 2 2-3 innings of a 13-1 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday night.
Slowed this time by an ailing calf, Martinez said he's got no confidence in his pitches and all but conceded that he won't start in Game 1 of the NL playoffs next week -- if he's able to pitch at all in the opening round.
"I've worked hard to try and get back, but obviously I'm not 100 percent," Martinez said. "I don't feel healthy."
The Mets, who wrapped up the NL East title with nearly two weeks left in the regular season, have dropped four straight and seven of eight. New York lost the first two games of its series at Turner Field by a combined score of 25-1.
Atlanta tagged the Mets for five homers, including two by Jeff Francoeur, and twice went deep with back-to-back hitters. Francoeur, Chipper Jones and Brian McCann had three RBIs apiece.
Martinez (9-8), who recently spent a month on the disabled list with the calf injury, took his third straight loss since being activated and fourth in a row overall. He was yanked after giving up a run-scoring double to fellow pitcher Tim Hudson, pushing the Braves to a 7-0 lead.
Mets manager Willie Randolph walked slowly to the mound and had a brief chat with Martinez. Third baseman David Wright tried to perk up the pitcher, patting him several times on his right shoulder before he trudged to the dugout.
"I was leaving a lot of pitches in the middle of the plate," Martinez said. "That's not where you want to leave it for big league hitters."
The poor outing throws into question how the Mets will set up their rotation for the playoffs, which begin next week with the best-of-five division series. Tom Glavine and Orlando Hernandez are penciled in for starts, but Randolph had hoped to use Martinez in Game 1.
"Obviously, he didn't pitch too well," Randolph said. "We'll have to wait and see."
Still, the Mets will apparently need another option. Martinez has a 16.97 ERA over his last four starts, giving up 22 hits and 20 earned runs in 11 2-3 innings.
Atlanta Braves' Matt Diaz breaks a bat against the New York Mets during the eighth inning of their Major League baseball game, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2006, in Atlanta.
"The way it's looking right now, Willie will not have a tough decision about who should pitch Game 1," Martinez said. "Obviously, the other guys are in better shape than I am. It would be a bad decision for Willie to put me out there from what he's seen."
If the injury had occurred earlier in the season, Martinez would probably be pitching rehab games in the minors. That's not an option at this point.
"I've got to do it in the big leagues," he said. "I'm putting my numbers in jeopardy, I'm putting my team in jeopardy, I'm putting myself in jeopardy. But that's the only way to get better."
Hudson (13-12) allowed four hits and the lone New York run in six-plus innings, avoiding the first losing season of his career.
Martinez insisted a day earlier that he was over his calf problem, but that was clearly wishful thinking. McCann and Francoeur hit back-to-back homers in a six-run third that chased the right-hander, who felt stiff and uncomfortable. He went behind the mound several times to clean dirt out of his cleats and fiddled frequently with the resin bag.
"It's a little bit different Pedro," Chipper Jones said. "He used to overpower you in the past. Now he uses his savvy and his guile to go out there and get you out. And when pitchers who have to rely on off-speed stuff are not quite spot-on, they get hit pretty hard."
Andruw Jones started the second with a walk and scored on McCann's double to the wall.
The Braves broke it open in the third. Marcus Giles led off with a single, Edgar Renteria doubled and Chipper Jones hit a run-scoring single to right. Andruw Jones grounded into a forceout, driving in another run, and McCann followed with a two-run shot over the wall in left-center on a 2-0 pitch.
Martinez then fell behind to Francoeur, who drove another one over the wall in nearly the same spot on a 3-1 breaking ball that hung over the plate. Scott Thorman struck out swinging, but Ryan Langerhans singled to right and Hudson sent one all the way to the wall in left-center for a run-scoring double.
That was it for Martinez, who said he's ready to accept a reduced role in the playoffs.
"I hope I'll be healthy enough to pitch in relief," he said. "Maybe I'll be able to go two or three innings."
Atlanta scored five more runs in the sixth off Darren Oliver -- all of them with homers. Chipper Jones hit a two-run shot. So did Francoeur, whose second homer of the game was a massive shot that just missed the second deck in left. Thorman followed with a liner that barely cleared the wall.
It was the first time since June 13, 1998, that Atlanta twice hit back-to-back homers in a game.
After taking over in center for Andruw Jones, Langerhans made a catch worthy of the perennial Gold Glover in the seventh. Running full speed with his back to plate, Langerhans leaped to snare Michael Tucker's drive before sliding along the grass on his stomach.
10-01-2006, 04:07 PM
Game 159 Recap- NY Mets 7, Atlanta 4
By TOM SALADINO, AP Sports Writer
September 29, 2006
ATLANTA (AP) -- Orlando Hernandez gave the New York Mets the type of performance they'll need when he starts their playoff opener in place of Pedro Martinez.
El Duque matched his season high with nine strikeouts, pitching the Mets over the Atlanta Braves 7-4 Thursday night and stopping the Mets' four-game losing streak.
During a news conference in the fourth inning, the Mets said Martinez will miss the postseason because of a torn tendon in his left calf muscle. Hernandez, 9-3 in postseason play, will now pitch the opener at Shea Stadium next week and Tom Glavine will go in Game 2.
"It is what it is. There's nothing much we can do about it," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "It's very unfortunate, but we have to move on."
Hernandez (11-11) allowed only an unearned run, three hits and five walks in five innings, pitching in his usual deliberate manner: throwing only 61 of 102 pitches for strikes.
"He pitched well. He walked a few guys, but he's looking sharper and sharper every time he goes out there," Mets manager Willie Randolph said.
El Duque is 9-7 since the Mets acquired him from Arizona on May 24, and has a 1.69 ERA in his last five starts, allowing seven earned runs in 37 1-3 innings. He dedicated this game to a friend in New York, Rafael Morales, who died Thursday.
"Now I can think about the playoffs. I feel prepared for it," Hernandez said through teammate Julio Franco, who translated. "I don't feel good because Pedro is hurt, but I'll assume the responsibility."
Hernandez improved to 4-0 at Turner Field, where he has won three regular-season starts, giving up one earned run in 20 innings with 23 strikeouts. He also won Game 1 of the 1999 World Series for the Yankees at Atlanta, giving up one run and striking out 10 in seven innings.
"I throw the same everywhere I pitch," Hernandez said.
Carlos Delgado drove in four runs and Carlos Beltran hit his 41st homer, tying the Mets record set by Todd Hundley in 1996. New York had lost seven of eight coming in and was outscored 25-1 in the first two games of the series.
Kyle Davies (3-7) gave up five runs -- four earned -- five hits and six walks in 3 1-3 innings, leaving his ERA at 8.38.
Atlanta Braves reliever Peter Moylan (58) looks away as New York Mets Carlos Beltran, rear, rounds the bases after hitting a sixth inning solo home run during a Major League Baseball game, Thursday, Sept. 28, 2006 at Turner Field in Atlanta. The Mets won 7-4.
Andruw Jones hit his 41st homer in the ninth, a drive off Billy Wagner that gave him 128 RBIs, matching his career high. The Braves put two on before Wagner ended the game by throwing a called third strike past Willy Aybar.
With the loss, the Braves (77-82) ensured a below .500 finish for the first time since 1990 -- when they went 65-97 in the last season before their streak of 14 straight division titles began.
"I can't say it was a wasted season, whether we went to .500 or not. We know now how other guys feel who never make the playoffs," Atlanta first baseman Adam LaRoche said.
They finish at home with three games against Houston, which trails NL Central-leading St. Louis by a half-game.
"I will look at it as a team that went through some tough times," Braves outfielder Jeff Francoeur. "We still have a shot to ruin the Astros chances. It's going to be fun."
Braves manager Bobby Cox and catcher Brian McCann were ejected in the third inning for arguing with plate umpire Joe West after he called a ball on Davies when he went to his mouth while pitching to Delgado, who then walked.
New York built a 6-0 lead on Delgado's three-run double in the first, Paul Lo Duca's RBI single in the second, Delgado's RBI double in the fourth and Jose Reyes' run-scoring single off Peter Moylan in the fifth.
Atlanta got its first run in the fifth on a throwing error by third baseman David Wright.
Beltran tied Mets records with 80 extra-base hits (Howard Johnson, 1989) and 123 runs (Edgardo Alfonzo, 1999). ... OF Cliff Floyd went to New York to get a cortisone shot for his sore left ankle. He will meet the Mets in Washington on Friday when they close the regular season against the Nationals.
10-01-2006, 04:08 PM
Game 160 Recap- NY Mets 4, Washington 3
By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports Writer
September 29, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) -- John Maine tends to lose focus when he's on the mound. He knows it, and Mets manager Willie Randolph does, too.
Maine's working on fixing that, though, and when he pitches well, he tends to give New York a chance to win.
If the rookie was auditioning for a spot in the Mets' postseason rotation, he fared fairly well Friday night, throwing six solid innings in New York's 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals.
"I can spot it. That's kind of been my problem before -- I didn't know it until it was too late," Maine said after allowing only two earned runs and three hits. "To be able to spot it, I'm taking steps to correct it. I don't think it's mechanical, I think it's more of a mental thing -- not being aggressive."
He had a bit of a lapse in the fourth inning, when two walks and a wild pitch contributed to two runs for Washington, although one was unearned because of catcher Paul Lo Duca's throwing error.
"He pitched well enough to win the game. He made some pitches when he had to," Randolph said. "He has a tendency sometimes to lose his rhythm, where he tries to guide the ball or aim the ball too much. But he regrouped."
So would Randolph be comfortable having Maine start a playoff game?
"Of course," the manager replied.
Maine, who didn't factor in the decision, also delivered a double to right-center for his first major league hit and came around to score the run that tied the game at 2 in the fifth.
"At least I have a pulse. I've got a batting average now," Maine said. "It can go down to .001, but at least I have a batting average."
In the bottom of that inning, though, he yielded Ryan Church's homer to straightaway center.
Carlos Beltran and Paul Lo Duca each had two hits and an RBI, and Shawn Green drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth off Jon Rauch (4-5).
New York Mets closing pitcher, Billy Wagner, pitches during a baseball game against the Washington Nationals in the ninth inning, Friday, Sept. 29, 2006, in Washington. The Mets won the game 4-3.
Pedro Feliciano (7-2) pitched the seventh for the win, Guillermo Mota threw a perfect eighth, and Billy Wagner got three outs for his 40th save -- and 18th in a row.
For Washington, it must have been a relief to play a nine-inning game that finished a little after 10 p.m. After all, the Nationals' previous game went past 2 a.m. Friday morning after a 4 1/2 -hour rain delay, and they played 14 innings the night before that.
"Everybody's a little tired. The turnaround was a little short, and I think that had a little effect on us," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said.
He chatted some with fans near the home dugout, some of whom held up signs supporting him. Robinson's contract is up after this season, and he's not expected to return as manager.
"I saw the signs. It means a lot to him," said Church, whose homer was his career-high 10th. "Hopefully, these last two games, we can get a 'W' for him."
The season-ending series means nothing in the standings for either club: The NL East champion Mets have secured home-field advantage through the league championship series, while the Nationals are assured of finishing last in the division for the third consecutive year.
But what Friday's game did signify for the Mets was the start of life without Pedro Martinez. The ace was ruled out for the rest of 2006 on Thursday with a torn tendon in his left calf muscle.
"He's an emotional leader and a leader off the field. ... We will come together as a team and pick up the slack," New York's David Wright said. "But it hurt to see him go out there, give his max effort and not do what he wanted to do."
Randolph said before the game that he has yet to decide who his playoff starters will be after Orlando Hernandez in Game 1 of the first round, followed by Tom Glavine in Game 2. Randolph said he would consider starting the playoffs with a three-man rotation, depending on the opponent and pitching matchups.
"We'll wait until we have to make a decision," Randolph said.
Maine made his case, leaving for a pinch hitter after throwing 92 pitches.
"He was coming right after you," Church said. "I think I saw pretty much all fastballs. He'd start you away, and pound you in."
Nationals RHP Tony Armas Jr. left after throwing 112 pitches over five innings. "You can't do that and be successful," Robinson said. Asked if that was his last start in a Nationals uniform, Armas said: "Whatever happens, happens. I don't care." ... Wagner reached 40 saves for the second time in his career. He had 44 for Houston in 2003.
10-01-2006, 04:10 PM
Game 161 Recap- NY Mets 13, Washington 0
By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports Writer
September 30, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Frank Robinson doffed his cap and tapped his hand to his heart, basking in a standing ovation after the final out of his next-to-last game as the Washington Nationals' manager.
So what if the Nationals lost 13-0 to the New York Mets on Saturday night? The home fans are going to give their Hall of Famer a generous send-off, just as he wanted.
"You do try to take some of it in, store it and enjoy," said Robinson, who'll also manage the season finale Sunday even though his departure is certain. "It is an enjoyable moment overall. The reaction of the fans. People's reaction, period. It's nice to know that you're appreciated."
The Nationals' most-lopsided defeat this season began a few hours after Robinson told his players and coaching staff that he's done as their manager.
Then there was the news conference for the official announcement that Robinson won't be back in 2007. And shortly after that, the New York Mets said Pedro Martinez will miss the start of next season after shoulder surgery. And then the clubs went out at night and played a game of far less significance than those two news items.
That game does still count in the books, though, and Julio Franco made the most of it, tying a career high with five RBIs to help Tom Glavine earn his 290th career win in the NL East champion Mets' victory over the last-place Nationals.
Robinson's wife and daughter sat behind the Nationals' dugout during the game. When he was shown on the center-field video board during the seventh inning, fans cheered and some chanted "Frank! Frank! Frank!" He gave a thumbs-up and a wave. There was a similar exchange in the bottom of the ninth, when dozens of fans stood and yelled his name.
"Being in the game so long, and doing what he's done -- getting out of it is hard," Nationals rookie Ryan Zimmerman said.
But while some Nationals players spoke about hoping to send Robinson out on a winning note, the Mets -- with no apparent motivation, given that home-field advantage in the playoffs is sealed -- dominated.
The 48-year-old Franco fell a triple shy of hitting for the cycle: He hit a three-run homer in the first inning, a two-run double in the third and a single in the fourth. It was the seventh time he's driven in five runs in a game, but first since Aug. 6, 1994.
The cycle was on his mind in his last two at-bats.
"Of course you think about it. You think that happens every day? If I hit a ball in the gap, I was going to run until they tagged me or I made it to third," Franco said.
New York Mets' David Wright connects for a three-run home run against the Washington Nationals during the eighth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2006, in Washington. The Mets won13-0.
He wasn't even supposed to be in the lineup -- he played first base after Carlos Delgado was a late scratch with what the team called general soreness.
All told, the Mets hit five homers, with Endy Chavez, Shawn Green, Ramon Castro and David Wright also connecting.
Glavine (15-7) looked quite good in his six shutout innings. He allowed only three hits, all singles, and didn't walk a batter. His three strikeouts raised his total to 2,481, passing Jack Morris for 30th on the career list.
"Everything was good. I felt good. I felt comfortable," Glavine said.
Beltran Perez (2-1) took the loss, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks over three innings.
Manager Willie Randolph pulled Glavine after 71 pitches with the postseason approaching. The lefty will start Game 2 in the first round, following Orlando Hernandez in Game 1.
The rest of the rotation is unsettled, in part because Martinez is sidelined. He already was ruled out of the postseason with a leg injury, and on Saturday came word that he won't throw from a mound until June after an operation on his right rotator cuff.
"You don't want to see the guy have any more issues than he already has," Glavine said. "Hopefully it's the kind of thing he can take care of and pitch next year and continue on with his career."
For Robinson, a 51-year baseball career probably is over.
"He's a legend. I look at Frank Robinson as a living legend, really. I don't look at the fact that he was the first black manager; he was an unbelievable player, an outstanding player," Randolph said. "It's important people know what kind of legacy he's been a part of."
Mets RHP Steve Trachsel was scratched from Sunday's start; LHP Oliver Perez replaces him. ... The Nationals will honor Robinson on Sunday with tributes beginning before the first pitch and continuing throughout the afternoon.
10-01-2006, 04:11 PM
Game 162 Recap- NY Mets 6, Washington 2
By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports Writer
October 1, 2006
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Frank Robinson used the phrase "In closing ..." four times, yet kept speaking. Who could blame him?
The Washington Nationals' manager knew that when he relinquished the microphone Sunday, the ceremony in his honor would end, and his final game as a major league skipper would begin.
"I've never done anything harder than I have to do right now," Robinson said, his voice cracking, "and that's to say, 'Goodbye."'
With that, the Hall of Famer was greeted near home plate by members of the New York Mets and then his own players and coaches, for hugs, back slaps and even a little jig. And then, 20 minutes later than originally scheduled, came the first pitch of what would turn out to be a 6-2 victory for the NL East champion Mets over the last-place Nationals in a regular-season finale.
David Wright and Shawn Green each had two hits in the second inning, when the Mets scored six runs on nine hits, New York's season high for an inning. Guillermo Mota (3-0) pitched a perfect eighth and was credited with the win.
Ramon Ortiz (11-16) left what might have been his final appearance for the Nationals after getting only four outs -- his shortest start of the season.
That meant Robinson made one last deliberate walk to the mound to yank an ineffective pitcher.
There were plenty of "lasts" for Robinson, who was told during the week he wouldn't be returning in 2007 after five years as the club's manager. He said he'd like to stay in baseball after more than half a century, including as a player with 586 homers, and as the first black manager in the majors.
"There's a lot of things I want to try to accomplish for others that are going to come after me. There's a lot of other things in baseball, I think, that can be done much more politically correct," Robinson told the crowd during his 10-minute pregame address. "I'm looking for opportunities for people that are qualified to fill positions in different organizations in baseball."
Earlier, he told reporters: "I'm not going to manage, but I'm not retiring."
Robinson took the lineup card to home plate, where he was warmly embraced by Mets manager Willie Randolph.
After standing with his cap over his chest for the national anthem, Robinson waved to fans and stood on the top step of the dugout to autograph balls, jerseys -- even a blue Mets cap. There were signs thanking Robinson, and chants of "We love Frank!"
"It's a sad day for everybody -- not just for him," said catcher Brian Schneider, who's never played for another manager in the majors.
The game might also have marked free-agent-to-be Alfonso Soriano's last game in a Washington uniform. After he trotted out to left field in the top of the fourth, Robinson sent out a sub, so the fourth member of the 40-40 club could jog off to a standing ovation -- quite a contrast from the spring training days of "Will he or won't he switch from second base to left field?"
As usual, Robinson watched the game while perched against the green dugout railing, his arms crossed on a white towel. There was a point when everyone else moved away, perhaps a collective effort to give the man a few moments alone.
During his last pregame news conference in a Nationals uniform, Robinson was asked what his legacy in baseball is. He said he hasn't thought about it -- then got choked up.
"I spent 51 years ..." he said, pausing for several seconds to wipe away tears.
Robinson continued: "... doing something that I really like, love and enjoy doing. Not too many people can say that. And, you know, you look back at this kid playing on the sandlots of Oakland, Calif., and telling everybody, when he hadn't seen a big league ballgame, that he was going to be a big leaguer. And then to achieve that goal and spend 51 years in this game -- that's mind-boggling."
Mets OF Cliff Floyd (left Achilles' heel) played for the first time since Tuesday and hit leadoff to get extra at-bats. ... Randolph said he'll decide Monday on a lineup for Game 1 of the playoffs. ... RHP Steve Trachsel will rejoin the Mets on Tuesday. ... With both managers substituting liberally, Schneider made his major league debut at first base in the seventh. ... Nationals 1B Nick Johnson, out since breaking his right leg in an on-field collision Sept. 23, sat in the team's dugout. ... The attendance of 29,044 left the season total at 2,153,056; Washington drew more than 2.7 million fans in 2005.
10-01-2006, 04:13 PM
I want to thank all the Met fans that came here during the regular season.. I hope these recaps were helpful to some of you
It's been a great ride!
I'll be doing seperate threads for the playoffs....
10-01-2006, 04:59 PM
Thank you, BG!
Put it in the books.