was proud of his performance during Tuesday night's final inning in one respect. "Game-winning RBI," he said about his two-run single in the ninth, which gave closer Francisco Rodriguez
a three-run cushion.
Of course, the Mets would have been perfectly content if those runs weren't needed.
Delgado's drop of a routine pop-up by Omar Infante on what would have been the game's final out ultimately led to two unearned runs.
The Mets survived for a 4-3 win and completed a two-game sweep of the Braves when K-Rod overcame the flub and notched his seventh save by retiring Chipper Jones on a lineout to Ryan Church
in right field that stranded Infante at third.
Despite the late scare, the Mets got back on track at a stadium that no longer serves as an annual burial ground. Livan Hernandez
(2-1) took a scoreless effort into the seventh inning, and David Wright
and Ramon Castro
hit RBI doubles as the Mets (12-13) moved within a game of .500 entering another meeting with the Phillies, and a seeming mismatch between Johan Santana
and Chan Ho Park tonight in Flushing.
Until Delgado's error, the most anxious moment came in the seventh, when Bobby Parnell
tried to protect a two-run lead after inheriting two runners from Hernandez with one out. Parnell, a starter in the minor leagues, had been called upon only twice before in his professional career to enter a game with a runner on base. But the hard-throwing rookie has demonstrated he is ready for that challenge while serving as the primary seventh-inning reliever.
Parnell struck out pinch-hitter Greg Norton looking, but pinch-hitter Martin Prado followed with an RBI double to left field. Still, Parnell escaped with the Mets maintaining a 2-1 lead. With two runners in scoring position, Parnell retired Infante on a hard grounder to shortstop, although there was an anxious moment as the ball rolled up Jose Reyes
' arm before he recovered and threw to Delgado.
Rodriguez entered the game in the ninth with a three-run cushion thanks to the two-run single by Delgado. It came after a throwing error by Jones put two runners in scoring position and Carlos Beltran
was intentionally walked to load the bases.
Beltran and Wright, who combined for three homers and six RBI in Monday's win, didn't go deep Tuesday night but provided key contributions.
Beltran opened the third inning with a single off Kenshin Kawakami (1-4) to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 16 games. He then stole second, and Wright's one-out double drove him in as the Mets struck first. Wright scored and gave the Mets a 2-0 lead when Castro, starting a third straight game, also doubled.
Beltran has reached base in each of the Mets' first 25 games, surpassing Kevin McReynolds' 1989 streak for the second-longest in franchise history to open a season. John Olerud, who reached base in the first 30 games of the '99 season, owns the team record. Beltran is the only player in the majors this season to reach base in every game now that Baltimore's Nick Markakis failed to do so Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Hernandez looked spry in a 75-pitch effort while limiting the Braves to seven hits and two walks in 6-1/3 innings.
In the third, Church was unable to make a sliding catch on No.8 hitter David Ross' shot, turning the sinking liner into a double. Kawakami then tried to bunt Ross to third base, but Hernandez pounced off the mound and threw to Wright, who tagged out Ross. The Braves still loaded the bases that inning with ensuing singles by Infante and Yunel Escobar. But Hernandez had good fortune, too. Jones lined out to Luis Castillo
, who doubled a retreating Infante off second base to end the inning.Notables:Jose Reyes
and Daniel Murphy
had identical days, going 1-4 with a run scored and a walk.Carlos Beltran
continues to be on fire, going 2-4 with a run scored and a walk. His average, in case you were wondering, is .404. Yeah. You read that right.Carlos Delgado
, despite dropping a popup, went 2-5 with two RBI's.Ramon Castro
also continues to perform, going 3-5 with an RBI.David Wright
is still getting back into the swing of things, going 2-5 with an RBI and a run scored after a double. He also stole a base. Wright is just under the .300 mark at .299.