Beltran Grab Saves Day

It was almost a pyrrhic victory when Carlos Beltran emerged limping from a spectacular grab in the bottom of the 9th against the chicken wire fencing in left field just in front of the Mets bullpen to save Lance Berkman's blast from extra bases and Billy Wagner's hide from a blown save to secure a 4-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

Better than last year's grab...

And the one from the year before that, back in the days when the Astros had a ("full time") superstar on their team...

But not as good as this one...

Said Astros manager Phil Garner: "Carlos perhaps saved the game. Two runs probably score if he doesn't make that play, and it's certainly tied up. I didn't think it was catchable. He came out of nowhere."

Beltran is helped from the field with the booing AstroIdiot fans ringing in his ears still angry over free agency...

Another close call for the Mets' post season although Beltran isn't out of the storm just yet, the injury may not be as bad as it first appeared. X-rays were negative and he was diagnosed with a bruised left knee, listed as day-to-day with a conspicuous limp.

Because of Beltran's grab, Billy Wagner "earned" his 34th save of the season and the Mets, their 13th win in 15 games. But for the second consecutive night Wagner looked shaky and he'll have plenty to write about in his blog; the tetchy nature of a closer's existence, his fear of Houston, etc.

A healthy Beltran scoring on a wild pitch three innings earlier

Berkman had already hit a homerun in the 5th inning to end John Maine's hitless outing after retiring the first 12 Astros he faced and the 9th inning bash looked near-certain to do more damage. Little did we know, to Beltran's knee.

The game also saw the return of Cliff Floyd with a double and a pair of RBIs which is rather timely, this return, now that Beltran would be questionable. Otherwise, we'd probably see another series of round trip excursions by Mets starters to Norfolk and something hideous, like the untradeable Lastings Milledge wandering the outfield and hogging all the outs.

In any case, the Magic Number is now down to an even dozen and the NL East lead has grown to 16 1/2 games. 18 shy of 100 victories.

As the Mets go for the sweep in Houston, you might consider that the true MVP of the Mets this season is Omar Minaya.

Have a look at The Hardball Times' 10 great pickups by Omar Minaya, and no, none of them include a former Mets employee.

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