Washington (67-86) at New York (92-61)

  • Game info: 1:20 pm EDT Sat Sep 23, 2006
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Alfonso Soriano and the Washington Nationals won’t be in the playoffs, but the star left fielder has made sure his accomplishments in the regular season will be remembered.

After becoming baseball’s first 40-40-40 player, Soriano leads the Nationals as they continue a four-game series with the NL East champion New York Mets at Shea Stadium on Saturday.

Soriano hit his 40th double, stole his 41st base and scored a run in a 3-2 win over New York (92-61) in the series opener Friday. With 45 homers, he already was only the fourth major league player with 40 homers and 40 steals in a season.

“Personally, those are good numbers,” Soriano said. “I am happy with the way that I’ve been playing now that my family and fans are very proud of me. And I’m very happy with the numbers I’ve put up this year.”

Soriano and Felipe Lopez also made Washington (67-85) the first team with 40-steal teammates since 1993, when Luis Polonia (55) and Chad Curtis (48) did it for the Angels and Marquis Grissom (53) and Delino DeShields (43) did it for the Expos.

Felipe Lopez drove in a run and scored for the Nationals, who opened their final road series of the season by improving to just 28-50 away from home. They won for just the fourth time in their last 16 road games.

Washington rookie Ryan Zimmerman got his 100th RBI of the season, the first rookie to do so since Hideki Matsui drove in 106 for the Yankees in 2003.

Washington’s Mike O’Connor (3-7, 4.72 ERA) will make his third straight start after being activated from the disabled list with a sore elbow. The left-hander gave up one run and three hits in four innings—not long enough to earn the decision—in a 6-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday. He was on a 75-pitch limit.

O’Connor has lost four straight decisions. He earned a win in his only career start against the Mets, giving up one run and two hits in seven innings of a 6-2 victory on May 2.

The Mets, who have already wrapped up the NL East and home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs, will counter with John Maine (5-5, 3.42 ERA). The right-hander will try to help snap the team’s three-game losing streak. New York is in danger of matching its longest losing streak of the season, four games from June 27-30.

Maine also looks to avoid his third straight loss after winning his previous five decisions. He continues to pitch well, though, having given up two earned runs or fewer in four straight starts.

Maine allowed up two runs in six innings of a 3-0 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. He is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA in two starts against Washington.

Endy Chavez had three hits and drove in a run Friday for the Mets, who played without three regulars and lost for the sixth time in eight games. They have scored three or fewer runs in seven of those contests.

“As it gets closer to postseason, we have to bear down and make sure that we can springboard into the playoffs,” third baseman David Wright said. “We’re still in that honeymoon period after clinching, and we’ll buckle down here.”

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Starting Pitchers

M. O'Connor MIN vs. J. Maine MIA
3-8 Record 6-5
4.80 ERA 3.60
59 K 71
45 BB 33
1.34 WHIP 1.13


Saturday, Sep 23