NEW YORK (AP) -- The rain was pounding down mercilessly at Shea Stadium on Saturday night when Ian Kinsler, ever the trouble-making ringleader, had an idea.
The Texas Rangers' second baseman hopped to his feet, raced from the dugout and dived across the tarp over the infield, by then a giant Slip 'n Slide.Josh Hamilton, Michael Young, Josh Rupe and Milton Bradley -- bad knees and all -- followed suit to a big ovation from the hardy New York Mets fans who had already weathered an hour of lightning strikes, downpours and teases from the public address announcer who promised the rain would subside."I've done this before. It's a good thing we stuck around. We had some good routines going," Kinsler said. "It was awesome. We're just having fun tonight. We haven't had any rain problems this year, so we might as well have some fun."Shea Stadium security ushered them off the field, drawing a chorus of boos, but they emerged moments later and slid across the tarp one more time."It was spontaneous," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Guys just blowing off some steam. No harm done, no damage to the field. When was the last time you heard Rangers chants in Queens?"The game between the Rangers and Mets was called after a delay of 1 hour, 10 minutes, and will be made up as part of a doubleheader Sunday with the first game set to start at 1:10 p.m.The Mets will send right-hander John Maine out in the opener with Pedro Martinez pitching the second game. The Rangers will counter with Kevin Millwood in the first game and Kason Gabbard, recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma, to start the second.The Mets begin a West Coast road trip immediately following Sunday's doubleheader, starting with a three-game set against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.The Mets played a Sunday night game before their last West Coast trip. New York had won five of six at home before heading to San Francisco, but looked fatigued from an overnight flight that landed about 5 a.m. local time. The Giants routed New York 10-2, and the Mets wound up losing five of seven against San Francisco and San Diego.That ramped up the pressure once again on beleaguered manager Willie Randolph, whose slumping club was expected to contend for the NL East but instead wallows two games below .500 and seven games back in the division.Randolph was given a tepid vote of confidence from general manager Omar Minaya before a 7-1 win over the Rangers on Friday night, but Minaya was noncommittal when asked whether Randolph would be the manager the rest of the season."These games have been tough for me lately because we've been doing some good things and haven't been getting the results," Randolph said. "Hopefully we can get a win and another and start playing the way other teams in our division are."Even Minaya said the high-priced Mets' poor play this season is hardly Randolph's fault. There's been the constant struggles in the bullpen, including three straight blown saves by All-Star closer Billy Wagner, and a number of injuries that have poked holes in Randolph's lineup card.Randolph will get at least a little help Sunday, when veteran outfielder Trot Nixon joins the club following a trade Friday night with the Arizona Diamondbacks.The 34-year-old outfielder arrived about 25 minutes before the schedule first pitch Saturday night from Triple-A Tucson, where he had been toiling with the Diamondbacks' minor league club since failing to make the major league roster out of spring training."I know my job is to go out there and play the game the way it's supposed to be played," said Nixon, who spent 11 years with the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians. "If I do that we should put ourselves in position to win."Nixon said he had no qualms about joining a club in disarray, where the manager is on the hot seat and a $138-million payroll can't seem to string together wins.He's just happy to be back in the big leagues."It wasn't that I was miserable in Triple-A," Nixon said. "I had to accept the fact that this was where I was going to be. Once I did that, I began feeling a lot more comfortable."