By Mike Steffanos
Mets 3 - Nationals 1
The Washington crowd did their best to intimidate Pedro, but should have realized that he thrives on this stuff. Pedro went 7 strong innings against the Nats, the only blemish being a solo homer by Jose Vidro. His stuff wasn't awesome, and his control wasn't perfect, but he looked more solid in his second start than he did last week. It looked dire for Pedro in the sixth when the Nationals loaded the bases with no one out on a bloop, a 4-pitch walk, and a bunt single. The heart of the Nationals lineup was coming up, and the Mets 2-1 lead at the time seemed tenuous, indeed.
But Pedro muscled up and found some life on his fastball. He struck out Vidro, and then got Guillen to ground to shortstop. A scintillating turn at second by rookie Anderson Hernandez enabled the inning ending double play that seemed to drain the remaining life out of the Nats. Aaron Heilman and Billy Wagner both pitched around hits in the eighth and ninth, with Wagner hitting 99 mph on one pitch and 96 on another. He still wasn't sharp, but he looks a lot closer.
Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran and David Wright had 2-hit games for the Mets. After a little bit of a slow start, you can almost see Beltran's confidence level rise from day to day. His swing is sweet, his defense solid, and his baserunning is flawless. Wright is a revelation on daily basis, while Delgado seems to be settling into New York quite nicely, making those talk radio naysayers look as foolish as they deserve. Cliff Floyd drove in a run and looked better at the plate. Xavier Nady broke his dry spell with a double.
Victor Zambrano gets his first start of the year tomorrow afternoon at 1 PM against Livan Hernandez.