10/18/06 1:20 AM ET
Undaunted, Mets eye two wins at Shea
Players make no excuses for Game 5; remain focused
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
"We need to put together some good at-bats, make him work. The more we're able to relax, the better we'll play."The Mets had the potential tying run on second base with one out in the eighth when Delgado singled and took third on David Wright's double against Josh Kinney. Left-hander Randy Flores came on to retire Shawn Green on a shallow fly to center, and young closer Adam Wainwright caught Jose Valentin looking at a third strike. Armed with a 2-0 lead courtesy of Valentin's two-run double in the fourth, Glavine appeared to be rolling along in the groove that enabled him to handcuff the Dodgers and Cardinals in his two previous postseason starts. "We had visions of getting shut out again by Mr. Glavine," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "He was working us over. Glavine is as effective as he's ever been. He's doing more things to get hitters out." Going back to Sept. 25 in the regular season, Glavine had a string of 21 1/3 scoreless innings when Pujols lifted a 2-2 pitch just beyond a leaping Endy Chavez into the left-field seats with one out in the fourth. "Albert just got enough of it," La Russa said. The homer brought the Cards to within 2-1 of the Mets and brought red-clad fans out of their seats.
"I made a mistake," Glavine said, the run the first he'd surrendered in 16 1/3 playoff innings. "I tried to throw a changeup in, and it leaked over the plate -- and he hit it out of the park.
Mets need some Big Apple magic
"I didn't expect to go through the postseason without giving up any runs. Teams are too good for that to happen."Pujols' first homer of the series seemed to take Glavine out of his rhythm. He missed the strike zone on seven of his next 10 deliveries, walking Scott Rolen on four pitches and giving up a 3-1 single to Jim Edmonds. When Ronnie Belliard slapped a single to right, Rolen scored and the Cards were even at 2. After a walk to Yadier Molina, Weaver -- a .206 career hitter -- grounded to shortstop Jose Reyes for a force. Glavine didn't get an out in the fifth. David Eckstein blooped a single over Reyes' head. Preston Wilson lined a double to right-center -- the only ball besides Pujols' homer Glavine thought was hit hard -- to score Eckstein. An intentional walk to Pujols was the end of Glavine's night -- four innings, seven hits, three earned runs, three walks, two strikeouts. Reliever Chad Bradford got two quick strikes on Juan Encarnacion, who was unable to drop bunts both times, but Encarnacion's soft single to right loaded the bases. After Rolen struck out, Mets manager Willie Randolph called for Pedro Feliciano to face the left-handed Edmonds. A roller to first provided the second out, Delgado making the play, and when Belliard flied to left, the Mets escaped, allowing only one run with yet another excellent job by the bullpen. The Mets let scoring chances get away in the first -- Weaver retiring Delgado on a force and striking out Wright -- and in the second, when Chavez doubled with two outs, but Glavine grounded out. In the fourth, Delgado led off with a walk and stopped at third on a one-out double by Green. Valentin lined one over first baseman Pujols' leaping attempt for two runs, giving the second baseman five RBIs -- second in the series among Mets behind Delgado's nine. Weaver, regaining his confidence, retired Beltran and Delgado after Paul Lo Duca's one-out single in the fifth and worked a scoreless sixth. Duncan, who batted .170 against left-handers this season with only two of his 22 homers against them, was summoned nonetheless to pinch-hit against the southpaw Feliciano in the sixth -- and he lifted a 3-2 pitch into the seats in the right-field corner for a 4-2 lead. This brought the Cardinals' bullpen -- torched in Game 4 -- back into it. Kinney, the cool, young right-hander, worked a perfect seventh and struck out Beltran leading off the eighth before encountering trouble. But Flores and Wainwright were up to the challenge, and the Mets went quietly in the ninth. "We've been battling all year," Delgado said before the Mets headed for their plane. "We've got guys in here who can get it done. We stick together. We know we can do it, and that's reason to believe."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.