August 9, 2006: Early Offense Puts Away Padres

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Date: August 9, 2006
Mets starter: Pedro Martinez
Mets: 4
Padres: 3
Winning pitcher: Pedro Martinez
Key player(s): Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, Jose Valentin, Endy Chavez
Key play: Mets’ RBI singles

The Mets faced the Padres on a Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. The teams played the second of three games in a series. The Mets compiled eight hits in the first three innings and came away with a 4-3 win over San Diego.

Mets’ starter Pedro Martinez pitched a perfect top of the first. Jose Reyes doubled against the Padres’ Clay Hensley to lead off the bottom half. Paul Lo Duca hit a single and Carlos Beltran went down on strikes. Carlos Delgado singled to score Reyes for a 1-0 Mets lead. Hensley then fanned David Wright and retired Jose Valentin on a line drive to shortstop Geoff Blum for the inning’s final outs.

Martinez set down the side in order in the top of the second. Endy Chavez singled to open the bottom half. With Lastings Milledge at bat, Chavez was caught stealing on catcher Mike Piazza’s throw to second baseman Josh Barfield. Milledge drew a walk and raced around to third base on Martinez’s sacrifice bunt. Reyes hit a single to score Milledge and stole second. Hensley then got Lo Duca to ground out to Blum and finish off the inning.

Martinez shut down the Padres in the top of the third. Wright hit a two-out double in the bottom half. Valentin singled to drive home Wright and stole second base. Chavez followed with a single for the Mets’ eighth hit, plating Valentin for a 4-0 New York lead. On his own hit, Chavez went to second via a throw. Hensley then walked Milledge intentionally and fanned Martinez to close out the inning.

With one out in the top of the fourth, Piazza homered for the Padres’ first run of the game. Adrian Gonzalez and Todd Walker were retired on ground balls to first baseman Delgado that ended the inning. Hensley surrendered just a walk to Beltran in the bottom half and Martinez hurled a scoreless top of the fifth. Valentin hit a one-out double in the bottom of the inning. Chavez was walked intentionally and Milledge was struck out. Hensley then got Martinez on a grounder to Blum for the third out of the inning.

Piazza hit his second solo home run of the game with two outs in the top of the sixth. Martinez fanned Gonzalez to close out the inning and Hensley set down the Mets on three straight infield ground balls in the bottom half. Pedro pitched a scoreless top of the seventh and Valentin drew a two-out walk against San Diego reliever Alan Embree in the bottom of the inning. Chavez singled and the Padres’ Cla Meredith struck out Milledge to end the inning. Brian Giles and Mike Cameron drew back-to-back walks against Martinez with one out in the top of the eighth. Mets’ reliever Aaron Heilman retired Piazza on a fly ball to center fielder Beltran, after which the runners moved to second and third base. Gonzalez was walked intentionally to load the bases and Heilman retired Walker on an inning-ending pop-up to second baseman Valentin. Meredith then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Mets’ reliever Billy Wagner retired Blum on a ground ball to third baseman Wright to begin the top of the ninth. Barfield followed with a homer to cut the Mets’ lead to one run. Pinch-hitter Josh Bard grounded out to shortstop Reyes. Wagner then threw a called third strike past pinch-hitter Ben Johnson to end the game. The Mets had held on for a victory.