Mets' clincher sabotaged by Bucs again

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates are proving they sure
know how to ruin a party -- or at least delay one.

For the second night in a row, the Pirates prevented the New
York Mets from clinching the NL East when Ronny Paulino hit an RBI
double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 3-2
victory Saturday night.

The Mets' magic number for clinching their first division title
since 1988 remained at one. New York could've won it Friday night,
too, but lost to Pittsburgh 5-3.

"It's a matter of time. It's inevitable," Mets manager Willie
Randolph said. "We'd like to get it done sooner or later. Who
knows the way things work out? We still get to go home [Monday], so
we might get it done there.

"But we will try to get it done [Sunday]. We will."

Second-place Philadelphia earlier staved off elimination for the
second straight day, beating Houston 7-2.

After Paul Lo Duca flied out with a runner on second to end the
Mets ninth, the Pirates won it in front of only their sixth sellout
crowd of the season.

"I had a chance to put us ahead, and I just didn't get it
done," Lo Duca said. "The guy made a good pitch on me.

"I don't think we are pressing -- we ran into a couple good
left-handers and they've got a good ballclub. They're playing a lot
better in the second half of the season, and we haven't been
swinging the bats that well. We've got to go get them tomorrow."

Pinch-hitter Joe Randa drew a two-out walk from Aaron Heilman
(4-5) in the ninth. Paulino followed with a drive to the deepest
part of PNC Park in left-center field and Randa scored without a

Matt Capps (8-1) got two outs in the ninth to get the win.

"This is great," Capps said. "With them needing one win to
clinch it and knowing that and not wanting to see them do it at our
place just the excitement all through the team and clubhouse is
fun. I was really pumped. It's been a great atmosphere to play in
the last two nights."

Jason Bay hit his 34th home run for the Pirates, who have won
four of five and are 32-27 since the All-Star break.

Carlos Delgado had two hits and two RBI for the Mets.

"We're so close and it's just a matter of time before we go out
there and win a game and clinch it," Delgado said.

Delgado doubled home Carlos Beltran in the first for a 1-0 lead.
During the inning, Bay slid into the padding next to the left-field
line chasing a foul ball and stayed on the ground for a moment.

Bay led off the second with a home run against Orlando
Hernandez. He singled in the fourth, stole second and scored on
Ryan Doumit's single for a 2-1 lead.

The Mets tied it off Shane Youman in the fifth when Delgado
singled home Lo Duca, who had two hits.

Pittsburgh put the leadoff man on base in the sixth and seventh
innings, but could not advance him. Beltran made a catch in center
field and doubled Freddy Sanchez off first in the sixth.
Pinch-runner Rajai Davis was caught stealing on a pitchout in the

Sanchez went 1-for-4 and is now hitting .340 -- one point behind
Florida's Miguel Cabrera in the NL batting race.

"We had our shots tonight but we didn't come through, that's
the bottom line," Randolph said. "But this team has a way of
bouncing back. We've done it all year long. The good thing about it
is it's a quick night and we will be back here early tomorrow.

"It's not like we are a game or two out and that makes it a lot
easier not to [fret over]."

Pittsburgh rookie Tom Gorzelanny made his first start since Aug.
15 and went four innings, allowing one run and four hits with two
walks. He had been on the disabled list with tendinitis in his left
elbow, and the Pirates were careful to monitor his pitch count. The
left-hander threw 71 pitches and left the game with the Pirates
ahead 2-1.

"That was the most fun I have had in a game in a long time --
especially the ending," Gorzelanny said. "It was good to get back
out there. The bottom line is I'm happy to be back and to go
against a good team like that and be pretty successful at that
stage made me happy."

Hernandez threw seven innings, allowing two runs and six hits
with a walk and seven strikeouts. He has allowed three earned runs
in 21 innings against Pittsburgh this season.

While the fifth-place Pirates celebrated wildly after the
winning hit, the Mets' clubhouse was quiet and somber -- an eerie
scene with clear plastic that was to be used to protect players'
belongings from spraying champagne rolled up above the lockers.

"Today would've been a great day to do it," Shawn Green said.
"But I'm pretty confident we'll get it done. Hopefully

Game notes
Pittsburgh OF Chris Duffy has a career-high 10-game hitting
streak and stole his 20th base. ... Youman had his first major
league hit, a single, to lead off the fifth. ... The last team to
clinch a division in Pittsburgh was the St. Louis Cardinals in