July 26, 2006: Valentin's Single in 10th Beats Cubs

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Date: July 26, 2006
Mets starter: John Maine
Mets: 1
Cubs: 0
Winning pitcher: Aaron Heilman
Key player(s): Jose Valentin, John Maine, Carlos Beltran
Key play: Valentin’s 10th inning single

The Mets faced the Cubs on a Wednesday afternoon at Shea Stadium. The teams played the finale of a three-game series. In the 10th inning, Jose Valentin singled to drive home the winning run for a 1-0 Mets victory over Chicago.

Mets’ starter John Maine shut down the Cubs over the first seven innings of the game. Three scattered singles (two by Aramis Ramirez) were the only hits surrendered by Maine aside from a pair of walks. For Chicago, Mark Prior and Will Ohman combined for six hitless innings while holding the Mets without a run. In the bottom of the seventh, Valentin got a one-out single off reliever Roberto Novoa to end the no-hit bid. The Mets failed to capitalize as Xavier Nady popped out to first baseman John Mabry and a fly ball by Ramon Castro was caught by center fielder Juan Pierre to end the inning.

Mets’ reliever Duaner Sanchez pitched a perfect top of the eighth. Jose Reyes singled off the Cubs’ Scott Eyre with one out in the bottom half. Endy Chavez flied out to Pierre and a single by Beltran sent Reyes to third base. Beltran stole second before Eyre struck out Carlos Delgado to end the inning. Billy Wagner retired all three Chicago batters in the top of the ninth and the Mets put runners at first and second with two outs against Cubs’ reliever Michael Wuertz in the bottom half. Glendon Rusch then came in to pitch for Chicago and got Cliff Floyd on an inning-ending ground ball to shortstop Ronny Cedeno.

For New York, Aaron Heilman hurled a scoreless top of the 10th. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Beltran singled and moved to third base on a double by Delgado. Rusch issued an intentional walk to David Wright to load the bases. Valentin then delivered a single to center field to score Beltran and end the game. The Mets had an exciting win to close out the series.