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Valentin hits slam, Maine tosses four-hitter as Mets win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- In the hours before Friday night's game, New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya talked about how he was shopping for pitching as the trading deadline approaches. John Maine's performance against the Houston Astros may have reduced the urgency for Minaya.

Plugged in at the last minute, Maine responded with a brilliant four-hitter, shutting out the Astros 7-0. He had plenty of help with Jose Valentin hitting his second grand slam home run in two weeks and Carlos Delgado adding a two-run shot.

But this was Maine's show.

"How about that, huh?" manager Willie Randolph said. "Johnny Maine threw the ball great. He did an outstanding job. He kept hitting his spots and putting up zeroes. He was strong and stayed in his rythym."

Not bad for a guy who wasn't supposed to pitch.

Maine was slotted for Saturday's game against the Astros with Orlando Hernandez set to go Friday. But with heavy rains falling before the game, Randolph decided to move Maine up a day to protect El Duque from having his start interrupted by the weather.

"They told me about 5 o'clock," Maine said. "They said, `Are you ready to pitch?' and I told them I was ready to go. I didn't have much chance to think about the hitters. I think that was the best thing for my performance. I located my fastball well and got away with some changes. I got some quick outs."

He threw 98 pitches, 67 for strikes and produced his first major league complete game. It was his first win since Sept. 5, 2005 when he was with Baltimore.

Houston manager Phil Garner was frustrated by the loss.

"We got fastballs, that's why," he said., "We put them in play but didn't get anything for it."

Maine (1-3) walked one and struck out four. It was his first complete game and the sixth shutout of the season for the Mets.

"I just want to win," he said. "They're an aggressive team. They put the bat on the ball but hit it at people. My goal is to pitch well. You just want to pitch well."

Valentin gave him a quick margin with his second inning slam, the ninth of his career and the Mets fifth in the last two weeks.

Delgado added his 24th homer of the season, his second homer in two days.

The Mets loaded the bases with none out in the second.

Delgado walked and David Wright singled up the middle. Cliff Floyd grounded to first but Mike Lamb's throw to second, trying for the force, pulled Adam Everett off the base and everybody was safe on the error.

Valentin followed with his 11th homer of the season, hitting a 3-2 pitch from Taylor Buchholz (6-8) to give the Mets a 4-0 lead. He gave up seven runs and six hits in five innings.

"I'm trying to do too much with my fastball right now, yanking it," Buchholz said.

An inning later, Paul Lo Duca opened with a double, moved to third on an infield out and scored on Delgado's sacrifice fly, making it 5-0.

In the fifth, Carlos Beltran doubled with two out and Delgado followed with his home run.

Beltran and Lo Duca combined to preserve Maine's shutout in the eighth inning. With Eric Munson on third base, Beltran caught Craig Biggio's fly to center and made a one-hop throw off the mound to Lo Duca, who blocked the plate.

Notes

  • Mets bullpen coach Guy Conti felt ill before the game and checked himself into a local hospital where he was undergoing tests Friday night.
  • The start of the game was delayed 54 minutes by rain.
  • Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal was a guest on Merengue Night at Shea Stadium.
  • Buchholz's first six pitches and Maine's first nine were strikes.
  • Valentin's other grand slam this season came on July 8 against Florida.
  • LF Floyd reached over the fence to rob Chris Burke of a home run in the fourth.
  • The Astros activated Brandon Backe to start Saturday and optioned RHP Fernando Nieve to make room for him on the roster. Nieve pitched two scoreless innings Friday night.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Manager Willie Randolph is the first one out to congratulate John Maine after the final out.  (AP)
Manager Willie Randolph is the first one out to congratulate John Maine after the final out. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

J. Valentin
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 4
New York

J. Maine
IP 9.0
H 4
ER 0
BB 1
K 4
 

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Houston Astros
Craig Biggio, 2B4000012 .265
Mike Lamb, 1B4010000 .320
Chris Burke, CF4000001 .290
Lance Berkman, RF4010010 .317
Aubrey Huff, 3B3010001 .279
Preston Wilson, LF3000001 .277
Eric Munson, C2000111 .215
Adam Everett, SS3010010 .237
Taylor Buchholz, P1000000 .034
   a- Willy Taveras, PH1000000 .258
    Fernando Nieve, P0000000 .125
   b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1000002 .219
    Russ Springer, P0000000 .000
Totals30040148 
a-grounded out for Buchholz in the 6th
b-flied out for Nieve in the 8th
Batting
2B - Adam Everett (15, Maine)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Biggio-Everett-Lamb
E - Lance Berkman (5, misplayed ball), Mike Lamb (6, throwing error)
Houston Astros
Taylor Buchholz (L,6-8) 5676142 5.57
Fernando Nieve 2200120 4.32
Russ Springer 1000010 3.82
Pitches-Strikes - Taylor Buchholz 85-58, Fernando Nieve 28-21, Russ Springer 23-17
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Taylor Buchholz 7-5, Fernando Nieve 2-1
Batters Faced - Taylor Buchholz 23, Fernando Nieve 8, Russ Springer 3
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS4010010 .294
Paul Lo Duca, C4110001 .298
Carlos Beltran, CF3110101 .278
Carlos Delgado, 1B2213101 .249
David Wright, 3B4110020 .316
Cliff Floyd, LF4100010 .248
    Endy Chavez, LF0000000 .287
Jose Valentin, 2B4114000 .284
Xavier Nady, RF3020000 .270
John Maine, P3000032 .000
Totals31787275 
Batting
2B - Paul Lo Duca (23, Buchholz), Carlos Beltran (23, Buchholz), Xavier Nady (13, Buchholz)
HR - Carlos Delgado (24, Buchholz), Jose Valentin (11, Buchholz)
SF - Carlos Delgado (5)
RBI - Carlos Delgado 3 (61), Jose Valentin 4 (41)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Delgado 2 (14)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Carlos Beltran 1
DP - Beltran-Lo Duca
New York Mets
John Maine (W,1-3) 9400140 3.12
WP - John Maine (1)
Pitches-Strikes - John Maine 98-67
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Maine 9-13
Batters Faced - John Maine 31
Game Information
Attendance - 53734
Game Time - 2:14
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Paul Emmel, First Base - Mike Winters, Second Base - Brian Runge, Third Base - Bruce Froemming