Sunday, June 04, 2006



Mets' GM Omar Minaya went to great lengths to shore up the bullpen over the winter, dispatching starters for relievers. Jorge Julio was a bust (already traded for "El Duque" Hernandez), but Duaner Sanchez (aquired for Jae Seo) has been a solid set-up man. Until today.

After last night's marathon rain-delayed doubleheader against the Giants, neither team needed another extra-inning affair. However, that's what happened, as the Giants outlasted the Mets, 7-6, in 12. Blame the bullpen - and not Billy Wagner - for blowing this one. Not once, not twice, but 3 times!

With the Mets ahead 3-1, Sanchez surrendered the lead in the 8th (aided by a crucial Jose Reyes error). David Wright's 2nd HR of the game (his 9th and 10th) tied the score. In the 10th, Aaron Heilman was tagged for 2 runs, but clutch solo HRs by Jose Valentin (his 5th) and Lasting Milledge (his 1st ever) off of ex-Met Armando Benitez sent the game to the 11th. In the 12th, Pedro Feliciano (1-2) and Heath Bell again allowed the Giants to grab the lead. The Mets were shut down in their half, ending a hard-fought weekend that saw them lose 2 out of 3 to the 4th-place Giants.

The poor bullpen performance wasted a quality start from Steve Trachsel (2-4), who gave up 1 run on 6 hits in 7 innings

Though Met fans booed him throughout the series (he called the reaction "pretty weak"), Barry Bonds was pretty much an afterthought. He never came close to hitting a HR and was a serious defensive liability for the Giants. Bonds should either sign with an American League club next season and stop embarrassing himself in leftfield or, better yet, move to first-base.

Wright remains on fire (he's batting .330, with 8 HRs and 38 RBI), while Carlos Delgado's slump (5-for-50) continued, reducing his average to .242. In addition to his game-tying HR, Milledge had a 2-run double.

The Mets (32-22) are still 5 games ahead of the Braves (28-28), who were swept in Atlanta by the Diamondbacks. Tomorrow, the Mets begin a 10-game road trip - 3 in Los Angeles, 4 in Phoenix and 3 in Philadelphia. It will be Alay Soler (0-1) vs. Brett Tomko (5-3), 10:10 pm start on SNY & WFAN.

• The Yankees (33-21) failed to sweep the Orioles, losing 11-4. Combined with the Red Sox's 8-3 win over the Tigers, the Yanks fell one game out of 1st place. The two AL East rivals begin a 4-game series at Yankee Stadium tomorrow.

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