10/19/06 12:55 AM ET
Mets Short Hops: Game 6
Maine, offense help New York stave off elimination
By Chris Girandola / MLB.com
The (John) Maine event proved he was worth the price of admission with a two-hit scoreless outing over 5 1/3 innings. Frozen moment
With men on second and third and one out in the first inning, Maine struck out Jim Edmonds. Then, after he hit Juan Encarnacion to load the bases, the 25-year-old rookie induced Scott Rolen into a flyout to right to escape the inning without allowing any runs. The inning gave Maine enough confidence to keep the Cardinals scoreless for 5 1/3 innings. Big number
5 -- The Cardinals put five men on base in the first three innings and came up empty. Game balls
Five balls -- Maine simply defied all odds with his performance. After the first inning, he set the Cardinals down in the second in order, then escaped trouble in the third after he walked David Eckstein to lead off the inning and intentionally walked Pujols with one out. Maine got out of that situation with a flyout and a strikeout and breezed through the fourth and fifth before manager Willie Randolph took him out in the sixth. Five balls -- Jose Reyes hit a leadoff homer in the first against Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, giving Maine the run support to do his job. Reyes reached base three more times and showed the energy and spirit the Mets needed to win Game 6.
Two balls -- One each to Chad Bradford and Guillermo Mota. Bradford entered the game in the sixth with one on and one out and induced Rolen to hit into a double play. An inning later, Mota came in for Bradford in the same situation and forced pinch-hitter Chris Duncan into an inning-ending double play.
Two balls -- With Michael Tucker at third and Reyes at second, Paul Lo Duca drove a single to center off former Met Braden Looper to put the Mets up, 4-0.
Sense of October
After the Cardinals had threatened in the top half of the first, Reyes stepped to the plate against Carpenter. With the packed house of 56,334 chanting his name, Reyes ripped a 1-1 pitch over the right-field wall to give the Mets a 1-0 lead. The pumped-up crowd energized Maine and the Mets to defeat the Cardinals.
"Every little break, I looked in the stands a couple times and it looked like a college student section. People didn't sit down the whole game. That's an unbelievable feeling. And when something goes your way, it's electric. That's why you work hard all year to get home-field advantage. That's why it's so big." -- Lo Duca, on the soldout crowd at Shea
Lines of the Game
4 AB, 3 H, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 R
Comment: Reyes became the fourth player in Mets history to lead off a postseason game with a home run.
3 AB, 2 H, 1 RBI
Comment: Green hit an RBI single in the fourth inning to give the Mets some insurance. Pitching
5 1/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 4 BB (1 IBB), 4 Ks
Comment: Maine survived a 25-pitch first inning and left the game in the sixth after tossing 98 pitches, 54 for strikes. Next Step
The Mets hope that Oliver Perez or Darren Oliver can give them the same type of effort in Game 7 as Maine did.
Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.