Where have the last seven years gone?
As Carlos Beltran heads into the final lap of his Met career, we take a look back at the five greatest moments of one of the greatest players ever to suit up for the New York Mets.
5. The First Win As A Met – April 10, 2005
Setting the scene: For the first moment on this list, we head all the way back to Beltran’s first win as a Met. The Mets started the Pedro Martinez-Carlos Beltran era 0-5 under rookie manager Willie Randolph, and were on the verge of being swept out of Atlanta. Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz were locked in a pitcher’s duel, with Smoltz striking out 15 Mets.
What Happened: Up came Mr. Beltran in the 8th Inning with the Mets down 1-0, and Jose Reyes on base. Beltran took Smoltz deep for a 2-Run HR that not only put the Mets ahead for good, but knocked Smoltz out of the game. With Smoltz out, the Mets were able to get to the Braves bullpen for 4 more runs, including another Beltran RBI in the 9th. Pedro Martinez picked up the complete game win.
4. Tie-Breaking 2-Run HR, 2006 NLCS Game 1 – October 12, 2006
Setting the Scene: Tom Glavine and Jeff Weaver of the St. Louis Cardinals were locked in a 0-0 pitching duel in the first game of the 2006 NLCS. In the 6th Inning, Paul Lo Duca singles with two out to keep the inning alive for Beltran.
What Happened: Beltran drilled a 2-2 offering from Weaver to right-center, giving the Shea Apple a reason to come out and shine. It would be the only runs the Mets score that night, as the Mets took Game 1 from the Cardinals 2-0.
Beltran would hit two more HR’s in Game 4, tying Babe Ruth for most post-season HR’s against the Cardinals. The series would end on a sour note for the Mets and especially Beltran in Game 7. However, the Mets would never have gotten to Game 7 without the magnificent 2006 season that Beltran put up.
3. “We’re Going Home” – May 23, 2006
Setting the Scene: The Philadelphia Phillies took an early lead, and despite the best attempts of the New York Mets, the Phillies continued to hold on to their lead. Jose Reyes tied the game with a 2-Run HR in the 8th, and the Mets and Phillies carried an 8-8 score into extras. Ryan Madson pitched 7 Innings in relief to take the game to the 16th Inning.
What Happened: Carlos Beltran led off the bottom of the 16th with a solo, walk-off HR. That’s it. Game over. The SNY call of the game is memorable for Gary Cohen proclaiming “We’re going home” after the game ended after midnight.
2. The Catch Up Tal’s Hill – July 7, 2007
Setting the Scene: On the Saturday before the All-Star Break (and the luckiest day to play the slots), the Mets and the Houston Astros played a 3-3 tie deep into extras. The Astros and the Mets frequently threatened to score, putting men on base in every inning except the 13th.
What Happened: The Astros put men on at the corners with two out. The runner on third is the only one that matters. Luke Scott steps in to pinch hit and drills the Joe Smith pitch 420 ft…to straightaway center. Carlos Beltran got an excellent jump on the ball, ran over 50 feet, and made a stunning, over the shoulder grab, while running up the hill and falling down, to save the game. Beltran, who was the top defensive CF in the National League for a stretch, had the defensive play of his career here.
Three innings later, in the 17th, Beltran drove in Jose Reyes to score the go-ahead run amidst all the usual boos from the Houston fans. David Wright would follow with an insurance run, and the Mets won 5-3 after 5 hours and the most thrilling game of the 2007 season.
1. Home Run Derby At Shea Stadium – August 22, 2006
Setting the Scene: The Mets open up a 1-0 lead on the St. Louis Cardinals with a solo HR from Carlos Delgado, before Albert Pujols smacks a 3-Run HR and a Grand Slam in back-to-back innings to give the Cardinals a 7-1 lead. Carlos Delgado answered Pujols’s Grand Slam with one of his own (his 400th career HR) in the bottom of the 5th. Jose Reyes scored in the 6th to pull the Mets to 7-6.
What Happened: Jason Isringhausen came in to close the game. After retiring Reyes, he gave up a single to Paul Lo Duca. Up stepped Carlos Beltran with the power to end the game with one swing…which is just what he did. Beltran turned one over the right-field wall to walk the Mets off the field with an 8-7 win in maybe the most thrilling game of the 2006 season.