Behind Pedro, Mets roll to second straight

New York Mets Notes and Quotes for Saturday, May 28: Pedro Martinez continues his mastery of the Marlins; Eric Valent is designated to make room for Victor Diaz; the Mets' minor league clubs sweep in Friday's action...

Last Game: New York Mets 1, Florida Marlins 0. Pedro Martinez called it "my kind of weather," but even if the atmosphere of South Florida seems to suit the ace righthander best, the Mets were just happy that Martinez was wearing their uniform.

Well lubricated by an 86-degree Florida evening, Martinez struck out ten and limited the Marlins to five hits over eight shutout innings Friday at Dolphins Stadium.

It was the fifth win of the year for Martinez and his second over the Marlins, whom he also defeated on April 21 at Shea Stadium. The Mets are 3-0 in Martinez's starts against Florida, against whom he has compiled a 1.23 ERA.

Overall, ten starts into his Mets career, Martinez is 5-1 with a 2.79 ERA, striking out a National League-leading 83 batters in 71.0 innings (Minnesota's Johan Santana is the only big league hurler with more strikeouts, having fanned 91 batters in 75.1 innings).

Mike Cameron provided the Mets' only scoring with an RBI double in the fourth inning, going back-to-back on two-base hits with Cliff Floyd, and Braden Looper got the side in the ninth inning for his 11th save of the year.

The Mets improved to 25-24, a game above .500 and three games behind the division-leading Marlins and Atlanta Braves.

Notes, Quotes

NOT ENOUGH: Part-time player Eric Valent was hitting just .186 this season with New York.
VALENT DESIGNATED: The Mets designated outfielder Eric Valent for assignment after Friday's game, with a move to call up Victor Diaz from Triple-A Norfolk on tap before Saturday's contest.

With playing time scarce, Valent struggled this season with New York, batting .186 with no home runs and one RBI in 28 games. He doubled in three at-bats on Friday.

"I guess someone's gotta take the fall," Valent told the New York Post. "I guess New York's just a little different place. There's more pressure on everybody to win, from the top to the last guy on the team."

A 28-year-old outfielder who has also played in the majors with the Phillies and Reds, Valent was a useful piece of the 2004 Mets, his first taste of regular big league duty. He slugged 13 home runs while compiling 270 at-bats in 130 games, hitting .267.

ON THE AIR: Mets first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz taped a segment for 'This Week in Baseball' with Olympic softball star Jennie Finch on the field before Friday's game.

Asked when the show will run, Mientkiewicz – batting just .207 and beating himself up on a regular basis - told reporters, "I don't know how much longer I'll be in the big leagues. They may have to call it 'This Week in Norfolk.'"

DEEP DRIVE: Craig Brazell's three-run double boosted the Norfolk Tides to a 4-1 victory on Friday. The Tides are in first place, six games ahead in their division.
MINOR LEAGUE REPORT: Craig Brazell's three-run double boosted the Triple-A Norfolk Tides (28-21, 6.0 GA) to a 4-1 win over the Ottawa Lynx. Neal Musser and Jose Santiago combined to pitch the first seven innings for the Tides, allowing a run on five hits between them …

Binghamton Mets (22-22, 2.5 GB) first baseman Mike Jacobs slugged a two-run homer to complete a six-run comeback in an 8-6 win over Trenton. Brian Bannister wasn't fine enough to earn his seventh win, getting a no-decision after going 5-2/3 innings and allowing three runs on seven hits, raising his ERA to 2.22 …

Brett Harper bashed home run No. 17 and Corey Ragsdale added his seventh of the year as the St. Lucie Mets (17-31, 11.5 GB) rolled past Clearwater, 8-3. Brian Walker picked up his third win in relief of starter Greg Ramirez, who only went three innings …

Carlos Gomez, Wilson Batista and Ryan Coultas each notched three hits as the Hagerstown Suns (30-17, 1.5 GA) put up an 11-run, 14-hit attack on Delmarva. Jeff Landing improved to 4-3 in the win.

On Deck

The Mets got the best of both Frank Castillo and Brian Moehler in the first two games of this series. Whether they look back upon the Marlins series as a split or something better will depend on how they handle two tough cookies over the next two days, facing Dontrelle Willis (8-1, 1.55) Saturday and Josh Beckett Sunday.

Kaz Ishii (0-3, 5.59) draws the assignment of taking on the D-Train at 6:05 p.m. Saturday, which is made tougher by the fact that the Mets have never beaten Willis. In seven face-offs against New York, Willis is 5-0 with a 2.31 ERA.


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