DENVER (AP) -- The pressure was off Willie Randolph at least for a day.
The New York Mets finally ended their five-game skid with a 9-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday.He was definitely feeling a sense of relief as he sat behind his desk."We were able to get the 'W', just to get these guys feeling good about themselves again," Randolph said. "There's no doubt in my mind that we're going to play well and win our share of games."New York general manager Omar Minaya made the holiday weekend trip to Colorado, leading to speculation that Randolph is under evaluation and his job could be in jeopardy.Minaya made it a point to tell Randolph congratulations after the game."It's good to get a win with the week we had," Minaya said. "It gets you laughing and looking forward to playing tomorrow."A pitcher throwing on three days' rest and a left fielder making his major league debut helped the Mets break out of their funk.Claudio Vargas (1-2) threw seven solid innings for his first win with the Mets and Nick Evans had three doubles and two RBIs."That's the way it works sometimes," Randolph said. "That's baseball."David Wright hit his ninth homer of the season, and Carlos Beltran had a three-run double as part of a five-run first."We've been struggling lately so we'll take the win," Wright said. "Now, we can kind of take a deep breath, relax. Losing five straight isn't fun. To get that win, now we can settle down and play our game."Evans arrived at Coors Field about three hours before game time after New York purchased his contract from Double-A Binghamton. He took the spot of Marlon Anderson, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.The 22-year-old is the first player to get three extra-base hits in his debut with the Mets since Kaz Matsui on April 6, 2004, in Atlanta. Matsui had two doubles and a home run in the game.Evans finished 3-for-4 before being lifted in the eighth as part of a double switch."It's been a blur," he said of his debut.For his effort, Evans received a shaving cream pie to the head after the game, courtesy of closer Billy Wagner."He handled himself well, wasn't overwhelmed," Wagner said. "It was fun to see the nervousness."Not to mention the laughter returning to the clubhouse."I guess you kind of had to figure we were going to have to win one game eventually," Wagner said. "Vargas pitched a big game for the team."The right-handed Vargas gave up two runs and four hits.Vargas was let go by Milwaukee in late March and signed to a minor league deal by New York. His contract was purchased by the team on May 13."We needed it. He stopped the bleeding today for a minute," Randolph said. "That's what we needed for sure."Jeff Francis (1-5) struggled with his command in the first before settling down. He lasted six innings, allowing six runs and seven hits while striking out a season-high eight. He gave up just one run and two hits after the opening frame.Francis had been lights out in the daytime before Saturday, going 9-0 in his last 11 afternoon starts."Balls found the better part of the plate and they took advantage of them," Francis said.Matt Holliday went deep for a second straight game, helping him extend his hitting streak to 10. His solo shot off Vargas in the first was his eighth homer of the season.However, he slightly strained his left hamstring running out a grounder in the ninth. He will be evaluated Sunday.The Rockies are already without shortstop Clint Barmes (right knee sprain) and right fielder Brad Hawpe (right hamstring), who both went on the 15-day disabled list Saturday. They also had to scratch Garrett Atkins before the game because of a stiff neck."At this level, nobody feels sorry for you," Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said. "Half the people don't care."Carlos Delgado's homer in the ninth was the 439th of his career. He's in sole possession of 35th place on the career list, passing Andre Dawson.Not that he was even aware of the accomplishment."I'm not very good with numbers," said Delgado, who homered for the third straight game. "Right now, you don't want to count them, you want to play."When asked if he wanted to stick around long enough to hit 500, he just grinned."It's a nice number, a nice round number," Delgado said.
Mets RHP Pedro Martinez will throw a bullpen session Sunday in Port St. Lucie, Fla. ... INF Jose Valentin went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI on Friday night for Single-A St. Lucie in a rehab assignment. Valentin had surgery to fix his torn right ACL on Sept. 25. ... Randolph sat OF Ryan Church (mild concussion) for another game. "He still says he feels a little funny," Randolph said. ... New York's five-run first was its biggest opening inning since scoring five on Aug. 15, 2007, at Pittsburgh.