October 1, 2006: Mets Beat Nationals in Season Finale

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Date: October 1, 2006
Mets starter: Oliver Perez
Mets: 6
Nationals: 2
Winning pitcher: Guillermo Mota
Key player(s): Julio Franco, Jose Valentin, Anderson Hernandez
Key play: Franco’s and Valentin’s singles, Hernandez’s triple

The Mets faced the Nationals on a Sunday afternoon in Washington. It was the final game of the regular season for both teams. Six runs in the second inning gave the Mets a 6-2 win.

Nats’ starter Ramon Ortiz pitched a perfect top of the first. The Mets’ Oliver Perez retired the side in order in the bottom half and David Wright singled against Ortiz to lead off the top of the second. Shawn Green hit a double and Julio Franco followed with a single to drive home Wright. Jose Valentin singled to plate Green and came around to score with Franco on a triple by Anderson Hernandez. Perez grounded out to first baseman Jose Vidro and a double by Cliff Floyd brought home Anderson Hernandez for a 5-0 Mets lead. Paul Lo Duca singled to score Floyd with the sixth New York run. Washington reliever Billy Traber retired Carlos Beltran on a pop-up to shortstop Felipe Lopez. Wright and Green got consecutive singles to load the bases. On an uncaught third strike to Franco, catcher Brian Schneider recorded an out of Lo Duca at home to end the inning. Perez then set down all three batters in the bottom half.

After a scoreless third, Traber retired the Mets 1-2-3 in the top of the fourth. Vidro got a one-out single in the bottom of the inning. Schneider flied out to center fielder Beltran and a single by Robert Fick advanced Vidro to third base. Ryan Church singled to drive home Vidro and cut the Mets’ lead to 6-1. Pinch-hitter Melvin Dorta drew a walk that loaded the bases. Perez then got Bernie Castro to line out to right fielder Green and finish off the inning.

Nationals’ reliever Saul Rivera pitched one-hit shutout ball from the fifth inning to the seventh. For the Mets, relievers Roberto Hernandez, Pedro Feliciano and Chad Bradford each hurled a scoreless bottom frame. Washington’s Jon Rauch surrendered only a walk to Valentin in the top of the eighth. New York’s Guillermo Mota pitched a perfect bottom half and Chris Woodward got a two-out single against the Nats’ Chad Cordero in the top of the ninth. Green singled and Cordero got Franco to hit a force play ground ball to shortstop Dorta for the inning’s final out.

Church doubled against Mets’ reliever Aaron Heilman with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Dorta went down on strikes and Castro hit a single to drive home Church with the Nationals’ second run. A wild pitch moved Castro to second base. Heilman then threw a called third strike past Cordero to end the game. The Mets had a victory to conclude the regular season.