Despite the string of winning baseball of late, the Mets still find themselves right at the break-even point, 39-39 entering a three-game weekend series with the Florida Marlins at Shea – yet another club the Mets are staring up at in the crowded NL East.
To get there, the Mets had to survive an off-key matinee performance from NL strikeout leader Pedro Martinez (9-2, 2.74 ERA), who had another typical lengthy first inning and then surrendered a home run to Jimmy Rollins leading off the second.
No matter, as Martinez settled in to retire 11 of 13 through one stretch and the Mets trounced Jon Lieber's struggling Phillies anyway, sending Philadelphia to their ninth loss in 11 games.
Jose Reyes and Chris Woodward – starting at first base over Brian Daubach on a Willie Randolph "gut feeling" – each drove in a pair of runs, while Cliff Floyd tacked on a pair of hits and a run scored.
Martinez tired after six innings, having allowed two runs and five hits, striking out six. The bullpen was there to pick it up, with the quartet of Heath Bell, Royce Ring, Roberto Hernandez and Braden Looper polishing off the last nine outs.
"On the tough days, you have to appreciate your teammates. They really picked me up today," Martinez told reporters.
Notes & Quotes
Shift this: Cliff Floyd isn't a big fan of the exaggerated overshift that the Phillies employed against him – actually, he hates it.
But the only way Floyd will get teams to return to playing with a normally-aligned infield is producing with three defenders guarding against the pull, and he appears well on his way. Floyd went 5-for-10 in the series against the Phillies at Shea, adding insult to injury with a bunt single down the third base line in the third inning. "That's a no-brainer," Randolph told reporters. "I don't know why more guys don't do it. It's like an ocean out there. It should be easy."
Carlos on the move: The fluid in Carlos Beltran's right knee has been drained, and his aching quad is no longer a factor. Just to prove it, Beltran stole second base in the second inning Thursday, then took third base uncontested when the Phillies put the overshift on Floyd. Beltran hadn't stolen a base since April 10, and his last attempt came on May 1.
"I hope that that's a great sign for things to come," Randolph said.
Minor League Report
TRIPLE-A NORFOLK: The Tides fell Thursday, 10-7, at Toledo, as rehabbing Magglio Ordonez cracked a solo homer off Norfolk starter Jose Santiago (3.0 IP, 7 H, 8 ER, 2 BB, 0 K, 3 HR) and Marcus Thames added a pair of blasts for the Mud Hens. Tides shortstop Anderson Hernandez extended his hitting streak to seven games with a 1-for-4 showing, including three RBI, to raise his Triple-A average to .367. Outfielder Prentice Redman, hitting .304, added a pair of hits and two runs scored.
DOUBLE-A BINGHAMTON: Brett Harper bashed his first Eastern League homer of the year and Mike Jacobs went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored as the B-Mets defeated visiting New Britain Thursday, 6-4. Harper's homer, a two-run shot, came as a pinch-hit blast batting for Zac Clements in the eighth inning and supported reliever Anderson Garcia, who picked up his third win with 1-1/3 innings of scoreless ball. Yusmeiro Petit (7.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K) turned in an up-and-down start for Binghamton.
HIGH-A ST. LUCIE: The Mets were held to just four hits in a 4-0 blanking by Brevard County on Thursday. Wilson Batista and Jon Slack each had a pair of singles, accounting for St. Lucie's entire offensive output. Starter Vincent Cordova (5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K) took his seventh loss for St. Lucie.
LOW-A HAGERSTOWN: The Suns took a commanding 5-0 lead after four innings and never looked back Thursday, rolling to a 6-2 win at Lakewood. Ryan Coultas and Mike Carp each homered, with Coultas cracking a two-run shot, and three Suns – Coultas, Carlos Gomez and Grant Psomas – chalked up multi-hit games. Righthander Tim Worthington (5.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) improved to 3-1 with an effective start.
SHORT-SEASON BROOKLYN: The Cyclones held on to edge Aberdeen, 2-1, on Thursday, getting a strong pitching performance out of starter Waner Mateo (6.0 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K). Aristedes Almenar slammed the door in the ninth inning for his third save.
ROOKIE-LEAGUE KINGSPORT: Juan Montero cracked a two-run homer in the seventh inning and Sean Henry had two hits and two RBI, raising his average to .387, as the K-Mets defeated Elizabethton Thursday, 4-2. Jeramy Simmons picked up the win in relief with four scoreless innings, lowering his ERA through eight innings to 1.13.
ROOKIE GULF COAST METS: Miguel Cairo went 4-for-8 in a doubleheader for Gulf Coast, working his way back to New York. Shortstop Emmanuel Garcia had three hits, raising his GCL average to .455, and first baseman Josh Thole stroked two hits in a 5-2, seven-inning game against the GCL Expos.
Tom Glavine (5-7, 4.93) shoots for an encore performance of his successful outing against the Yankees on Saturday, taking on Florida's A.J. Burnett (5-5, 3.14) Friday night at Shea. First pitch is 7:10 p.m.
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