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05/30/08 1:30 AM ET

Delgado making some noise on defense

Los Angeles (26-27) at New York (26-26), Friday, 7:10 p.m. ET

NEW YORK -- Willie Randolph doesn't expect Carlos Delgado to win Gold Glove Awards. Let's face it, the Mets' manager said this week, a 35-year-old power hitter isn't in the lineup for his defense.

But in the fourth inning on Thursday night, with the pressure on Delgado to show that he can at least be a serviceable barrier down the first-base line, the 265-pounder leaped to his left, snagged a grounder and tossed the ball to pitcher Claudio Vargas for the out.

Randolph cracked a smile in the dugout, most pleased by the stains that graced Delgado's jersey. He was so delighted, in fact, that Delgado will once again assume the role of everyday first baseman on Friday, a role he relinquished to Damion Easley for two games during the Marlins series.

"I like it when he gets dirty," Randolph said. "His uniform has been pretty clean lately."

Delgado collected 10 putouts during Thursday's win to go along with two assists. Though his batting average is still .222, he showed signs of an offensive turnaround as well, connecting for two hits and crossing home plate once.

Enthused after the game, Delgado passed through the clubhouse with his dirt-smeared jersey already in the laundry. He had gained a few personal victories en route to helping his team to a three-game winning streak.

So when he was asked whether his defensive show on Thursday was enough to satisfy Randolph, he paused for a second, taken aback.

"I certainly hope so," Delgado said. "I didn't know [my defense] was an issue. ... I'm not going to dive just to dive. If I think I can reach it, I am going to dive. If I don't think I can catch it, I am not going to."

Pitching matchup
NYM: RHP John Maine (5-4, 3.41 ERA)
Maine pitched well at Coors Field on Sunday, surrendering only three hits and four walks to the Rockies during six innings of work. He also racked up a season-high eight strikeouts. Though his changeup was less effective in that outing, he has maintained good velocity on his fastball and will look to continue his success against Los Angeles this season. He only allowed four hits and one run in 8 1/3 innings against the Dodgers on May 7. Since that start, Maine is 1-2 and has has not gotten past the sixth inning, with three starts of six, four and six innings, respectively.

LAD: LHP Clayton Kershaw (0-0, 3.00 ERA)
Kershaw made his Major League debut on Sunday and held St. Louis to two runs on five hits in six innings of work. Albert Pujols played a large part in keeping Kershaw from his first career win, as the Cardinals first baseman drove in his team's first run and set up the second. Eventually, the Dodgers' bullpen would surrender the lead, cutting Kershaw out of the decision, but his mid-90s fastball still impressed in Los Angeles' 4-3 win. The 20-year-old shut down the Cardinals' left-handed batters, allowing all of his hits to batters swinging from the other side of the plate.

For the third straight game on Thursday, Mets media relations manager Jay Horwitz wore the orange jacket that pitcher Johan Santana supposedly asked him to wear as a good-luck charm. For the third straight time, the Mets won the game. So the "Jay-o-Lantern" will continue to make appearances at Shea. ... The Mets' bullpen has now retired 34 of its last 37 batters, allowing two runs in its last 20 1/3 innings. ... Nick Evans is hitless since starting his Mets career with a 3-for-4 outing on May 24. He did not play on Thursday night, as Fernando Tatis and Endy Chavez manned the corner outfield positions for New York. Evans had played in all of his first five Major League games prior to Thursday. ... Pedro Martinez was expected to rejoin the Mets late Thursday or Friday after his rehab start in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Wednesday. He's scheduled to start on Tuesday vs. the Giants, and Randolph said on Thursday that he expects Martinez, who was suffering from a strain in his left hamstring, to be injury-free for the rest of the season, as opposed to Moises Alou, whose left calf strain "makes you hold your breath," Randolph said.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

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Up next
• Saturday: Mets (Mike Pelfrey, 2-6, 5.33) vs. Dodgers (Chad Billingsley, 4-6, 3.68), 3:55 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Mets (Johan Santana, 6-3, 3.41) vs. Dodgers (Hiroki Kuroda, 2-4, 3.29), 8:05 p.m. ET
• Monday: Mets (Oliver Perez, 4-3, 4.83) at Giants (Jonathan Sanchez, 3-3, 4.26), 10:15 p.m. ET

Jon Blau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.