Green helps Mets break out broom on Dodgers in NLDS

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Shawn Green glided toward the right-field
foul line to make the final catch, just as he envisioned.

Green and the hitters started fast, Billy Wagner closed it out
quickly and the New York Mets completed their first postseason
sweep since 1969, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-5 in Game 3
Saturday night.

After rolling in the first round, the Mets will open the NLCS at
Shea Stadium on Wednesday against the San Diego-St. Louis winner.
The Cardinals lead 2-1 in that best-of-five series.

"We played all kind of ball," Mets manager Willie Randolph
said. "We played long ball, small ball. Whatever it takes to get
it done."

Green had three hits and two RBI in a game decided by the
bullpens after starters Steve Trachsel and Greg Maddux made early

Wagner got the final out in all three games, retiring
pinch-hitter Ramon Martinez on a fly ball to Green to finish the

"The irony of this is crazy, to be celebrating in the visiting
clubhouse," said Green, who played for the Dodgers from 2000-04
and was acquired by the Mets from Arizona on Aug. 22.

"It's a little weird, after doing this in '04 on the other side
of the field," he said. "I was actually out there hoping that the
last ball came to me, and it did. It feels incredible."

Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca was moved to tears when he was traded
by the Dodgers to Florida in July 2004. Sent to the Mets last
offseason, he has no regrets now.

"There's a lot of guys in here who want to prove something,"
he said. "It's a good feeling to get it done," he said.

It was a familiar ending for the Dodgers, who are 1-12 in
postseason games since 1988, when they beat the Mets in the NLCS
and the Oakland Athletics in the World Series.

Jeff Kent had four hits, including a two-run homer, for Los

"We just got outplayed -- pitching, hitting, defense -- but
there's no sense in being specific," Kent said. "It doesn't
really matter. We got beat by a team that was playing better
baseball than us.

"We got, what, 16 hits and scored five runs? That's one you
shake your head at and wonder why. They got two less hits than we
did and scored almost twice as many runs."

The Mets, with Randolph guiding a roster assembled by general
manager Omar Minaya, had the NL East championship virtually wrapped
up by the All-Star break, and went on to win a league-high 97

But having to go without the injured Pedro Martinez and Orlando
Hernandez against the Dodgers seemed to make for a dicey

That turned out not to be the case because the Mets scored 19
runs in the three games, and their bullpen did its job.

"This is small step," Wagner said. "We're excited today, but
we know Wednesday we have to get ready again. We know there's a lot
we want to accomplish."

The relievers needed to come through -- Mets starters pitched
only 13 2/3 innings in the series.

Hardly a repeat from 1969, when the Tom Seaver-led Mets swept
the best-of-five NLCS from Atlanta.

"When El Duque and Pedro went down, we bounced back," Lo Duca
said. "I didn't get to pop the champagne here in 2004. I did in
2006. It's a happy day."

Lo Duca said he didn't watch any of the Dodgers' postseason
action in 2004.

While the Mets were breezing into this postseason, the streaky
Dodgers won their last seven games of the regular season to earn
the wild-card berth.

Perhaps they ran out of energy against New York. The Dodgers
certainly ran themselves out of a chance in Game 1 when they had
two runners tagged out at the plate on the same play.

Pedro Feliciano, the fourth of seven New York pitchers, earned
the victory. He got just one out, but it was a big one, as he
retired pinch-hitter Nomar Garciaparra on a grounder to the box
with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth and the Mets
trailing 5-4.

The Mets took a 7-5 lead in the sixth by scoring three runs off
losing pitcher Jonathan Broxton on consecutive one-out RBI singles
by Jose Reyes, Lo Duca and Carlos Beltran -- all softly-hit balls
that fell in front of charging outfielders.

Lo Duca blooped another run-scoring single off Brett Tomko in
the eighth, and the Mets got their final run on third baseman
Wilson Betemit's throwing error.

The Mets scored three times off Maddux in the first on
consecutive two-out singles by Beltran, Carlos Delgado, David
Wright, Cliff Floyd and Green.

It could have been worse for the Dodgers, but Lo Duca, who drew
a one-out walk, was thrown out trying to take third on Beltran's
hit, and first baseman James Loney made a leaping catch of Jose
Valentin's liner to end the inning.

The Mets got another run in the third on a two-out single by
Floyd and an RBI double by Green -- a ball that hit the top of the
left-field fence over the leaping Marlon Anderson.

Loney, a rookie replacing the injured Garciaparra at first base,
hit a two-run single in the fourth to chase Trachsel.

Darren Oliver, who relieved with one out and the tying runs in
scoring position, speared pinch-hitter Andre Ethier's liner and
threw to third to complete an inning-ending double play.

The Dodgers took a 5-4 lead by scoring three runs in the fifth
after Oliver retired the first two batters. Anderson singled and
Kent followed with a two-run homer.

J.D. Drew singled to chase Oliver, Russell Martin singled off
Chad Bradford, and Betemit walked to load the bases. Feliciano
relieved and walked Loney to force home the tiebreaking run before
retiring Garciaparra, who was limited to pinch-hitting duties after
tearing his left quadriceps in Game 2.

"We've been doing that all year," Wright said of the Mets'
success in rallying. "We're a resilient team. It seems when we get
down, it pushes us, motivates us more to take the lead."

Kent's ground-rule double in the sixth put runners at second and
third with two outs, but Guillermo Mota retired Drew on a fly to
center. Mota, another former Dodger, worked two scoreless inning
before Aaron Heilman and Wagner finished with one inning each.

Neither starter lasted long. Trachsel, making his postseason
debut at age 35, allowed six hits and two runs in 3 1/3 innings.

The 40-year-old Maddux, a winner of 333 career games and making
his 30th postseason start, gave up seven hits and four runs in four

"I think a lot of guys were trying to hit the first good
strike," Green said. "Everyone knows how crafty he is. But we
came right out that first inning and got a bunch of hits in a row,
and that was the key."

Game notes
Floyd was replaced in left field by Endy Chavez in the
bottom of the third because of what the Mets called a strained left
Achilles. ... Wright has hit safely in 15 straight games -- the
final 12 of the regular season and all three in the division
series. ... Rafael Furcal and Kenny Lofton, who bat 1-2 in the
Dodgers' lineup, went a combined 3-of-24 in the series. They hit
.300 and stole 59 bases between them during the regular season.