New York (82-49) at Colorado (61-71)

Cloudy Currently: Denver, CO, US
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 9:05 pm EDT Thu Aug 31, 2006
Preview | Box Score | Recap

MORTON GROVE, Ill. (AP)—Different day, different player, same result for the New York Mets—now owners of baseball’s best record.

The Mets go for their sixth straight victory over the Colorado Rockies (61-71) and a sweep of their three-game series when the teams meet on Thursday.

With an 11-3 victory Tuesday, New York’s 11th in 12 games, the Mets secured the majors’ best record by percentage points over Detroit. The Mets are 82-49 (.626) while the Tigers are 83-50 (.624) after splitting a doubleheader with the New York Yankees on Wednesday.

The Mets have won 13 straight games over NL West opponents, and are 21-7 them this year.

“It just goes to show you that we are playing great baseball,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “We really have an outstanding group here.”

In Tuesday’s 10-5 win, Carlos Beltran was the star, setting career-highs with 39 homers and 110 RBIs. On Wednesday, David Wright took over, hitting a grand slam and finishing with five RBIs.

Wright has 101 RBIs this season, breaking the 100-RBI mark in consecutive years.

Jose Valentin had two homers and Carlos Delgado added a homer for New York. Beltran also broke Derek Bell’s club record by scoring in his 12th straight game.

“It seems like there are always runners in scoring position no matter when you hit,” Wright said. “There’s no guy you can really pitch around.”

While the Mets are soaring, Colorado has lost nine of its last 11 games— five to New York—and are 10 games below .500 for the first time this season.

“It was a tough hole for us to dig our way out of tonight,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said after the latest loss.

Jeff Francis (10-10, 3.53 ERA) will try to break the Rockies out of their slump. The left-hander allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings of a 13-5 win over San Diego on Friday. All but two hits were surrendered in the first two innings.

“He went from his worst innings to his most impressive four,” Hurdle said. “A lot of grit and a lot of fortitude there by Jeff to get through six innings.”

Before that, Francis lost to the Mets on Aug. 19, allowing five hits and six runs—two earned—in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-4 loss.

New York answers with struggling Oliver Perez (2-10, 6.78) as he goes again for his first victory since May 17.

Perez, a rising star for Pittsburgh after a 12-win season in 2004, has failed to build off that and was acquired by the Mets on July 31. In his New York debut against the Phillies on Saturday, the left-hander pitched four no-hit innings before giving up five runs in the fifth, including a grand slam to major league home run leader Ryan Howard.

Randolph still liked what he saw from Perez.

“It was an outstanding job by the kid,” he said. “He pitched well enough to get the ball again.”

Perez had a tough outing against Colorado on June 7 while with Pittsburgh. He gave up nine runs, five hits and four walks before being pulled after two innings in a 16-9 loss.

Before that start, Perez was 4-2 with a 2.91 ERA in 10 career games against the Rockies. His ERA rose to 4.21 with that performance.

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Starting Pitchers

O. PĂ©rez WAS vs. J. Francis TOR
3-13 Record 13-11
6.55 ERA 4.16
102 K 117
68 BB 69
1.75 WHIP 1.29


Thursday, Aug 31