2006-10-06 / Sports

Delgado The Great Makes First Playoff Appearance Memorable

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist


As he approached his first postseason game, Carlos Delgado felt like a rookie again.

"I was very excited," Delgado said. "I mean, I had butterflies in my stomach the first couple innings, I was saying, 'Whoa, what is going on here?' But I was able to kind of control my emotions and just go out and play."

And what a game he had. Four hits - including an game tying home run - and two RBI charged the Mets to their 6-5 win over the Dodgers in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

"[Delgado] looked good tonight," manager Willie Randolph praised. "You could see he had a nice posture about him, a nice focus. You know, took what they gave him. He's an excellent hitter, and it's not about hitting home runs. He hit the ball the other way three times I think, sharp line drives and the other way."

All season, the Mets were wondering if the real Delgado would show up. He had his hot phases, which coincided with Met winning streaks, and in the end, the power numbers were there [38 homers with 115 RBI], but the .265 batting average had you looking for more.

But, the postseason gives everyone a fresh start and the 34 year-old stood tall on the great New York stage. This was the moment the Mets acquired him for and the big first baseman didn't disappoint.

"I just keep telling myself, don't try to do too much, don't try to do too much," Delgado explained. "I guess the fact that you facing a guy like Derek Lowe, that he's got a very good sinker, to make you kind of slow it down a little bit. If you want to hit him, that's the only chance you're gonna get."

A first inning single only kept the inning alive, but when he came up in the fourth, Delgado mashed a 2-1 pitch from Lowe onto the camera tower in left-center to knot the game at one.

Then the big first baseman was right in the middle of rally in the sixth when he singled and moved Paul Lo Duca over to third. He eventually scored on David Wright's double to help make it 4-1 Mets.

Yet his biggest moment came in seventh after the Dodgers tied it. With one out and Jose Reyes on second, Delgado shot another single to left center, scoring the speedy shortstop. It put the Mets ahead for good and allowed the cleanup batter to celebrate with a windmill pump at first. "4-4, seventh inning," he thought. "You know, they just tied the game, give an opportunity to take the lead, I was excited. You facing a guy throwing 98 miles an hour, you come up with a big RBI, so I was pretty fired up."

If Delgado can continue to come through with huge hits, the Mets will make little work of the Dodgers and should have no problems in the National League Championship Series.

"It was a fun day, and I didn't want to have any expectations," Delgado said. "I wanted to go in and, you know, play the game of baseball, you know, 'cause you start thinking about this and that and next thing you know, you forget about the most important thing, which is playing the game.

"That's what I wanted to do. I mean, we got a great bunch of guys. I mean, we got a good chance to win here. So we're gonna come back tomorrow and try to do the same thing."

And that should make the Dodgers worry.

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