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Mets Winning in Every Way

Wherever the Dodgers look, it seems they see a different New York player making a contribution.

October 06, 2006|Tim Brown | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK — Looking back over two days -- two wins, Carlos Delgado's Game 1, Tom Glavine's Game 2, a handful of incidental events gone well, no one missing Pedro Martinez or Orlando Hernandez yet -- New York Mets reliever Pedro Feliciano would draw but one conclusion.

"They're about to go to sleep, I think," he said of the Dodgers. "We're excited and motivated. We're going to try to come back a winner to New York."

It was Thursday night in a New York October already gone chilly.

Glavine, the 40-year-old left-hander, threw six shutout innings.

Julio Franco, the 48-year-old utility man, beat out a potential double-play ball to drive in a critical run.

The Mets pushed the Dodgers into another mistake.

Their manager, Willie Randolph, reached out and found more players, more solidly pitched late innings and, ultimately, more distance between himself and the Dodgers. The Mets won, 4-1, and lead the best-of-five division series, 2-0.

"Whatever it takes, man, whatever it takes," Randolph said. "We don't try to have a certain blueprint of how we do it. We just try to be aggressive and play the game right."

The Dodgers handled Delgado, but not Endy Chavez, who scored a run and contributed to another.

They pitched through David Wright, but not Jose Reyes, who drove in two.

They'd been out-slugged first, out-pitched second, the Mets seemingly everywhere in two games at Shea Stadium.

When Dodgers Manager Grady Little had to replace his starting pitcher with one out and runners on in the fifth inning Thursday, he was exactly where Randolph had been the day before.

In Game 1, two Mets relievers -- Feliciano and Chad Bradford -- did not give up a run and the Mets won.

In Game 2, the Dodgers reliever -- Brett Tomko -- gave up a sacrifice fly, the Mets' second run in a game in which the Dodgers scored once.

"We've got to do the little things and do them the right way," said Chavez, who played right field in place of Shawn Green, "because that'll count a lot in these games."

As he squeezed past Glavine after the game, Randolph grinned and said, "Big Game, Big Game. Big Game Tommy."

Glavine didn't appear to hear him, but later appreciated the sentiment.

He is finishing his fourth season in New York since leaving Atlanta, and the first in which he's been anything more than an average pitcher, record-wise. The Mets bypassed the Braves in the standings, ending the Braves' streak of 14 consecutive division titles. As they did, Glavine waited out a late-summer scare when doctors believed they'd discovered a blood clot in his shoulder, then won three more games in September.

"You worry about what it means for the rest of your career," said Glavine, 10 regular-season wins from 300. "But, certainly in the short term I was worried about not being able to take part in this. I mean, this is what I wanted to be a part of."

And he was, again, the Glavine of his youth, flicking fastballs and changeups at lunging Dodgers, who would not have a hit until the fourth inning, and in Glavine's six would go hitless in four at-bats with runners in scoring position.

"He had the best stuff he'd had all year," catcher Paul Lo Duca said.

While the post-game questions picked at his most recent postseason -- 0-2, 15.26 ERA against the San Francisco Giants in 2002 -- Glavine explained that this is not then.

"I think it's a lot less about what I have or haven't done in my career in the postseason and much more about now," he said. "This is the opportunity that I wanted to have here in New York and, you know, I'm no different than anybody else; I want to do well.

"I'm not trying to do anything spectacular, anything like that. I'm just trying to give us a chance to win."

They have now, twice. And they went happily to their buses, to the plane that will take them west, to what's beginning to feel like progress. Game 3 is Saturday, and the Dodgers might be wondering what the Mets have for them next.

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