September 18, 2006: Mets Clinch NL East
|Date: September 18, 2006|
|Mets starter: Steve Trachsel|
|Winning pitcher: Steve Trachsel|
|Key player(s): Jose Valentin|
|Key play: Valentin's two home runs|
Coming off being swept in a three-game series in Pittsburgh, the Mets returned home with their magic number still at one. They sent Steve Trachsel to the mound to try to beat the Marlins and clinch the division title. Trachsel pitched six and one-third shutout innings and Jose Valentin hit two homers to lead the Mets to 4-0 win over Florida. The Mets were National League East Division champions for the first time in 18 years.
The game was scoreless in the third inning when Valentin stepped up to face Marlins' pitcher Brian Moehler. Jose hit a two-run homer to put the Mets ahead. Valentin homered off Moehler again in the fifth to make the score 3-0. The Mets' lead was increased to four runs on Cliff Floyd's RBI single in the bottom of the sixth.
Over the first six innings, Trachsel had limited the Florida lineup to only one hit. He then allowed two singles in the seventh and was taken out. Reliever Guillermo Mota retired the side with no scoring in the inning.
Aaron Heilman and Billy Wagner finished off the Marlins in the final two innings. The last out was made when Floyd caught Josh Willingham's fly ball in left field, setting off the Mets' first celebration of a division championship since 1988.