|N.Y. Mets (34-35) «||2||1||1||0||0||0||4||0||1||9||11||0|
|L.A. Angels (42-29)||1||0||0||2||0||0||3||0||0||6||11||2|
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A few encouraging victories and a promising start to a road trip weren't enough to save Willie Randolph's job.
The New York Mets manager was fired about two hours after his team defeated the Los Angeles Angels 9-6 on Monday night. Bench coach Jerry Manuel takes over on an interim basis for Randolph, who led the Mets to within one victory of the 2006 World Series.
Pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto also were dismissed early Tuesday morning.
"I honestly don't think we go out there thinking, 'Well, I've got to make sure we win this game so Willie can keep his job,' because that's out of our control," closer Billy Wagner said after saving the victory and before the players learned Randolph lost his job. "I think we're all out there just trying to do our job."
They did Monday night, but Randolph's fate was sealed. His job was in jeopardy for weeks as the $138 million Mets (34-35) kept hovering at the .500 mark. The disappointing start followed the team's colossal collapse last September, when they lost 12 of their last 17 and missed the playoffs as Philadelphia rallied to win the division title.
Ken Oberkfell, the club's manager at Triple-A New Orleans, and Dan Warthen, pitching coach for the Zephyrs, will join the major league staff along with Luis Aguayo, a Mets field coordinator.
"If we get the job done, everything's fine," Wagner said. "We just have to turn those negatives into positives."
The Mets will have to do that without Randolph now. The announcement of Randolph's firing -- the first in the majors this season -- came at a stunning time because the Mets had won three of four and just completed a victory against the AL West leaders to start a six-game road trip.
Carlos Beltran hit two home runs and Mike Pelfrey (3-6) won for the first time in 11 starts, allowing six runs, eight hits and two walks in six-plus innings. He did not strike out a batter in his first regular-season start against an AL team.
The right-hander, coming off three consecutive no-decisions following six defeats in a row, won for the first time since beating Washington 6-0 on April 15 at Shea. Last season he went eight successive starts during one stretch without a victory before beating Atlanta on Sept. 1.
"It's huge. I'm definitely excited that I got the W," Pelfrey said. "I'm being more aggressive and throwing more strikes. I'm not nibbling as much on the corners as I was, so I think the confidence is higher and I'm more capable of executing pitches."
The Mets scored in each of the first three innings against Jered Weaver (6-7). He allowed six runs and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings, striking out five.
"He's not going to be locked in every time he goes out there," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We just didn't get the ball in the zones we needed to tonight and those guys scored a lot of runs. We kept playing baseball, but we just dug ourselves a little bit too much of a hole."
Two of the runs charged to Weaver came during a four-run seventh that extended New York's lead to 8-3. Luis Castillo greeted rookie Jose Arredondo with a two-run single, David Wright followed with an RBI double and Wright scored on an error by first baseman Casey Kotchman.
The Angels narrowed the gap to 8-6 with three runs in the bottom half. Jeff Mathis chased Pelfrey with an RBI single, and Pedro Feliciano gave up run-scoring singles to Chone Figgins and Garret Anderson before Aaron Heilman struck out Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter with the potential tying runs on base.
Duaner Sanchez pitched a perfect eighth and Wagner earned his 15th save in 20 chances -- his second in two days after blowing three consecutive opportunities. The Angels put two on in the ninth, but Figgins was doubled off second base on Anderson's liner to shortstop, ending the game.
"We got a break," Randolph said. "Billy kept you on the edge of your seat -- well he kept me, anyway. It kind of felt similar to the way things have been going, but it was a nice all-around victory for us. Some guys swung the bats a little bit, we added on some runs, played good defense and got some good pitching."
Serving as a DH for the first time this season, Beltran drove a 1-0 pitch into the first row above the 18-foot wall in right-center to cap a two-run first. He connected again with two outs in the third, hitting the next pitch he saw from Weaver to left-center for his 10th of the season and a 4-1 lead.
It marked the 23rd multihomer game and first this season for the four-time All-Star, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees last October to relieve tendinitis.
"I'm not 100 percent, but I feel a lot better and every day it's improving," Beltran said. "My right knee feels great, my left one is still a little bit behind. There's some days where I feel sore, but that's part of it. The doctor said it's not going to get worse. It's supposed to improve every day, so I'm not worried about it. I'm just going to keep coming to the ballpark early, do my treatments, and hopefully one day I'll wake up with no pain."
Seven of Beltran's 246 regular-season home runs have come as a DH. He had some experience in that role with Kansas City but was not used in that capacity last season.
"For me, it's kind of like a half a day off," Beltran said. "Every time before my at-bat, I came inside, went to the cage and took some soft toss to keep myself loose. Being a DH is not easy, to be honest."
The Angels got RBI singles from Guerrero and Howie Kendrick in the fourth, but ran themselves into two outs during the rally.
With Randolph's firing, Scioscia is the only current manager who played in the 1989 All-Star game at Anaheim. The Angels will play host to the event again in 2010.
|Willie Randolph sweats out a final victory before being handed his pink slip. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
|New York Mets|
|Jose Reyes, SS||4||3||2||0||1||1||1||.289|
|Luis Castillo, 2B||4||1||2||2||0||0||0||.269|
|David Wright, 3B||4||1||1||2||0||2||1||.276|
|Carlos Beltran, DH||5||2||2||2||0||0||1||.273|
|Carlos Delgado, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.242|
|Marlon Anderson, LF||4||1||2||0||0||0||1||.188|
|Trot Nixon, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.286|
|Brian Schneider, C||4||0||1||1||0||1||1||.255|
|Endy Chavez, CF||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||.220|
|2B - Jose Reyes 2 (20, Jer. Weaver, Oliver), David Wright (19, Arredondo), Marlon Anderson 2 (4, Jer. Weaver, Jer. Weaver)|
|HR - Carlos Beltran 2 (10, Jer. Weaver, Jer. Weaver)|
|SF - David Wright (5)|
|SH - Luis Castillo (6)|
|RBI - Luis Castillo 2 (23), David Wright 2 (52), Carlos Beltran 2 (47), Brian Schneider (16)|
|2-OUT RBI - Carlos Beltran 2 (15)|
|SB - Jose Reyes (25, off Jer. Weaver/Mathis), Carlos Beltran (9, 3rd base off Arredondo/Mathis)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|Outfield Assists - Marlon Anderson 1, Endy Chavez 1|
|DP - Anderson-Wright-Castillo, Reyes|
|New York Mets|
|Mike Pelfrey (W,3-6)||6||8||6||6||2||0||0||4.62|
|Pedro Feliciano (H,7)||0.1||2||0||0||0||0||0||2.63|
|Aaron Heilman (H,6)||0.2||0||0||0||0||2||0||5.60|
|Duaner Sanchez (H,10)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||4.71|
|Billy Wagner (S,15)||1||1||0||0||1||0||0||2.17|
|HBP - Hunter (by Mike Pelfrey)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mike Pelfrey 113-69, Pedro Feliciano 10-8, Aaron Heilman 9-6, Duaner Sanchez 6-5, Billy Wagner 20-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Pelfrey 13-3, Pedro Feliciano 1-0, Duaner Sanchez 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Mike Pelfrey 27, Pedro Feliciano 3, Aaron Heilman 2, Duaner Sanchez 3, Billy Wagner 4|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Chone Figgins, 3B||4||1||2||1||1||0||0||.312|
|Maicer Izturis, SS||4||1||3||0||1||0||1||.269|
|Garret Anderson, LF||4||0||1||2||0||0||3||.257|
|Vladimir Guerrero, DH||4||0||1||0||0||1||3||.273|
|Torii Hunter, CF||3||1||1||1||0||1||2||.268|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.298|
|Howie Kendrick, 2B||4||1||2||1||0||0||0||.320|
|Gary Matthews Jr., RF||3||1||0||0||1||0||0||.240|
|Jeff Mathis, C||4||1||1||1||0||0||0||.224|
|2B - Chone Figgins (7, Pelfrey)|
|SF - Garret Anderson (2)|
|RBI - Chone Figgins (8), Garret Anderson 2 (32), Torii Hunter (34), Howie Kendrick (12), Jeff Mathis (15)|
|2-OUT RBI - Howie Kendrick (5)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|E - Casey Kotchman (1, Misplayed grounder), Jeff Mathis (5, Throwing)|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|Jered Weaver (L,6-7)||6.1||8||6||6||1||5||2||4.73|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jered Weaver 98-67, Jose Arredondo 23-15, Darren Oliver 17-12, Justin Speier 4-3|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jered Weaver 4-10, Jose Arredondo 1-1, Darren Oliver 2-1, Justin Speier 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jered Weaver 28, Jose Arredondo 5, Darren Oliver 5, Justin Speier 2|
|Attendance - 39229|
|Game Time - 3:10|
|Temperature - 77|
|Umpires - Home - Dana DeMuth, First Base - Lance Barksdale, Second Base - Doug Eddings, Third Base - Ted Barrett|