Sunday, May 28, 2006



The Mets closed out the Marlins series with a 7-3 victory today. "El Duque" Hernandez got his first win as a Met and Carlos Beltran swatted his 14th HR. He had 3 hits, 2 RBI (he leads the team with 37) and upped his average to .277. After a disappointing, injury-plagued debut season in 2005, Beltran's starting to pay dividends. The Mets middle-of-the-order - Beltran, Delgado and David Wright (now hitting .333) - have combined for 105 RBI in 49 games.

Today's other big story in Metville is the demotion of Kaz Matsui, who's hitting just .213 after taking over 2B when Anderson Hernandez went on the DL a month ago. Matsui seems clueless at the plate, but has been solid in the field. Jose Valentin replaced Matsui today and Chris Woodward will also fill in until a decision is made regarding promoting Hernandez or fellow minor-leagure Jeff Keppinger.

"I will go with what I feel and see," MGR Willie Randolph told the media. "I'm not going to say it's a strict platoon. I'm going to find a way to match up guys that I think is best for the team. When I look at the lineup and who's pitching, I'm going to make a decision daily on what I want to do."

Regarding Woodward and Valentine, Randolph said: "They're not really everyday guys. Woody can play, but you still have to spell him. Same with Val. As far as Kaz, I'm going to have to get him going again a little bit. I've told Kaz that he needs to relax and just let the game come to him."

With both the Braves and Phillies winning this afternoon, the Mets' hold on first-place is still 3.5 games.

Next game: Monday, May 29, Mets (30-19) vs. the 1st-place Diamondbacks (29-19), Steve Trachsel (2-4, 4.99) vs. Claudio Vargas (5-2, 4.93), 7:10 pm start on SNY & WFAN

Around the horn

• After scoring 4 runs in the 1st inning, the Yankees (28-20) held on to beat the Royals, 6-5. They travel to Detroit for a 4-game series against baseball's best team (35-15), beginning tomorrow afternoon.

On the hardwood
The Heat took a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Finals, defeating the Pistons, 98-83, last night in Miami. Detroit lost the game in the 2nd quartet when they scored only 14 points. Miami's Dwayne Wade (35) and Shaquille O'Neal (27) combined for 62 points. Game 4 is scheduled for Monday in Miami, 8 pm start on TNT. Tonight, the Suns and Mavs face off in Game 3 of the Western Finals, 8:30 start on TNT. That series is tied, 1-1. Remember: Blooming Ideas predicted a Heat-Suns match-up in the NBA Finals.

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