Saturday, September 25, 2010
Beltran happy despite whiff
By Adam Rubin
Carlos Beltran expressed content with his attempt to take out middle infielders Wilson Valdez and Chase Utley at second base in the seventh inning Saturday, even though Beltran ended up missing both Phillies. It was the Mets' first chance in the game for a hard slide into second base since Utley had taken out Ruben Tejada on Friday night.
"I was trying to break up the double play," Beltran said after the Mets' snapped a six-game losing streak with a 5-2 win in Philadelphia. "I think yesterday the way Chase Utley slid at second base, I felt it was time for me to do the same thing he did -- slide hard and try to hit somebody. In my career I have never played dirty, but in that particular slide I wanted to hit somebody. Unfortunately, nobody was there. They got out of the way."
Beltran took issue with people suggesting Utley's play was hard-nosed, not dirty. The outfielder did not care for Jerry Manuel's pregame characterization that Utley's slide is the type of hard-nosed play the Mets ought to have, too.
"We feel different," Beltran said. "Our plan today was every time we got on first base, we wanted to break up a double play. To me I think he did cross the line yesterday -- not only in that play. He has done things in the past blocking bases. It's OK to play hard. It's OK to get outs. But, you know, once you try to hurt somebody, that's not fun. And he's such a good player -- too good to be doing that. I guess that's the way he plays, you know? But, at the same time, we can play like that, too."
Beltran actually had two targets at second base, since Valdez and Utley converged at the base on David Wright's comebacker to Kyle Kendrick. Valdez ultimately fielded the throw, and both dodged Beltran's slide.
"Honestly, I didn't know where the ball was going to go," Beltran said. "I just tried to hit somebody."
Said Manuel: "I'm satisifed the way guys went in there. That was good to see. It brings a little level of intensity. That's the way the game should be played all the time."
GOLLY, GEE: Dillon Gee had combined to limit Washington and Pittsburgh to one run in his first 13 innings as a major leaguer, but pitching at Citizens Bank Park against a division leader in a postseason-type atmosphere proved a step up in class. And Gee continued to validate his status as a frontrunner for a back-of-the-rotation spot in 2011. After allowing a two-run homer to Ryan Howard in the first inning, Gee settled down and allowed no additional runs while completing seven innings. Gee improved to 2-1 through four major league starts.
"Any game I throw, I just try to take it the same, no matter who I'm facing," Gee said. "I mean, Washington, they've got some good hitters, too. But this is the first time I've been in this atmosphere. It was definitely something different that I have to get used to. I like it. I like it a lot here. ... I was pretty nervous coming into this game. I've never played in front of a crowd like that. The Phillies are a really good team. I was very nervous and just tried to calm myself down out there and say, 'It's just another game. Locate your pitches and you'll do all right.'"
As for the homer to Howard, Gee said: "We had been going away with him the whole game and they called a fastball in and I just left it right over the plate. You can't do that to him."
Philadelphia had its 11-game winning streak snapped and could have clinched a postseason spot with a victory.
"That's a lineup that's hot, a team that's hot," Manuel said. "He gives up two runs in the first inning, then comes back and shuts them down with about 95, 96 pitches in seven innings. That's a tremendous job."
THE DUDE: Lucas Duda turned a one-run deficit into a lead in the Mets' five-run seventh inning with a pinch-hit three-run double against reliever Chad Durbin. The three RBIs by Duda were a career high.
"HoJo was telling me he's got a great, great cutter," Duda said about Durbin. "I was just looking for something straight. Luckily it fell in between the two outfielders and we scored a few runs."
ARMS RACE: Pedro Feliciano made his 87th appearance. He moved within one of matching his franchise record, set last season.
With eight games remaining, the free-agent-to-be Feliciano predicted he would comfortably get to 90 appearances. The last major leaguer to reach that plateau was Salomon Torres, who made 94 relief appearances with Pittsburgh in 2006. Before that, you have to go all the way back to Kent Tekulve (90 with Philadelphia in 1987).
700 CLUB: Manuel notched his 200th victory as Mets manager and 700th overall. He has a 200-209 record as Mets skipper and is 700-680 including his tenure with the Chicago White Sox.
"It took me a while to get there," Manuel said.