But even with Martinez the showman dazzling and drawing smiles out of a crowd of 43,582 Sunday at Shea, those fans left the building with the feeling of defeat nearly foreign to Martinez's performances this season.
The Angels rallied for a run in the fifth and two in the sixth off Martinez to tie the game at three, then scored the go-ahead run on David Wright's fielding error in the ninth inning.
Facing Braden Looper in the fateful ninth inning, the closer walked Casey Kotchman to start the inning, who was then sacrificed to second. Looper got Chone Figgins to ground for the second out, moving pinch-runner Robb Quinlan to third; Wright couldn't then handle Darin Erstad's scorched grounder down the line, plating the deciding run with his 11th error of the year.
"The play I botched has to be made," Wright told reporters. "It was a battle and I let my teammates down."
Saturday's hero Cliff Floyd had two hits, including an RBI, for the Mets, who lost two of three to the Angels and finished their 12-game homestand 6-6.
New York is in last place in the tightly-contested NL East, one game above .500 at 32-31. They are five games behind the division-leading Washington Nationals and trail the fourth-place Atlanta Braves by a half game.
Notes & Quotes
NEW STADIUM A REALITY?: Shea Stadium, 1964-2008.
It could be a reality, as the City of New York has thrown the Mets into their patchwork bid to save the metropolis' waning chances at wooing the 2012 Summer Olympic Games.
According to reports late Saturday, the city has now agreed to help the Mets get the new stadium they have waited for, regardless of whether New York is chosen as the site for the 2012 games.
The new facility would be financed mostly by the Mets, with the city throwing in $160 million, and would be built on the city-owned land which currently serves as the parking lot for Shea Stadium.
The new ballpark – which may or may not incorporate pieces from Fred Wilpon's Ebbets Field plan unveiled in the late 1990s – would seat roughly 45,000, expandable to 80,000 in the event the city gets the Games, and would ideally be ready for Opening Day 2009.
Should the city get the Games, the Mets will leave the new facility at the end of 2011 and will play their 2012 season at Yankee Stadium.
PIAZZA EJECTED: Mike Piazza was ejected in the first inning Sunday for arguing a called third strike with home plate umpire Eric Cooper, setting off a rare explosion from the Mets catcher.
The pitch Piazza took from starter John Lackey appeared to be low and inside, but probably too close to take on a two-strike count; in any event, Piazza's afternoon came to an early end and, after a brief tussle with Cooper from which Doug Mientkiewicz had to restrain Piazza, Ramon Castro took over the catching duties for the afternoon.
"He had a bad attitude," Piazza told reporters. "… It seemed to me he was confrontational right off the bat, like someone peed in his Corn Flakes."
Mike Cameron also left the game early, having jammed his left hand while attempting to steal third base in the third inning. Cameron hung around until there were two outs in the ninth inning, yielding to pinch-hitter Marlon Anderson.
Minor League Report
TRIPLE-A NORFOLK: Jeff Keppinger, Brian Daubach, Chris Basak and Gerald Williams all homered as the Norfolk Tides put on a power display, cranking out 10 runs and 12 hits to blast past Charlotte Sunday, 10-4. Jason Scobie (7-3) did OK over six innings, allowing four runs and nine hits. Norfolk (37-28) holds a seven-game lead over Durham in the International League South.
DOUBLE-A BINGHAMTON: Jay Caligiuri cracked a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning and then drove in the winning run with a 10th inning sacrifice fly, leading the B-Mets past Norwich, 3-2. Brian Bannister gave Binghamton seven innings of two-run ball, striking out nine, and Jeff Duncan had a three-hit day. Binghamton (28-30) resides in fourth place and trails Portland by four games in the Eastern League Northern Division.
HIGH-A ST. LUCIE: Vincent Cordova allowed five runs and 10 hits over six innings, including two home runs, as the St. Lucie Mets fell to Jupiter, 5-1. St. Lucie (26-34) managed just four hits and trails Vero Beach by 10.5 games in the Florida State League East.
LOW-A HAGERSTOWN: The Suns' offense experienced a rare day off Sunday, as Hagerstown was shut out on two hits at Lexington Legends. Jose Sanchez was issued his second loss of the year, allowing four runs in five innings. Hagerstown (37-27) trails Lexington by three games in the South Atlantic League's Northern division.
The Mets hit the road for the West Coast, embarking on a six-game journey that will see them go to Oakland and Seattle. After those series, New York returns to the East Coast but not to Shea; the Mets play a three-game set in Philadelphia before renewing the Subway Series in the Bronx over the weekend.