Beltran homers twice, Pelfrey gets first win in 11 starts

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- A few encouraging wins and a promising start to a road trip weren't enough to save Willie Randolph's job.

The New York Mets manager was fired about two hours after his team defeated the Los Angeles Angels 9-6 on Monday night. Bench coach Jerry Manuel takes over on an interim basis for Randolph, who led the Mets to within one win of the 2006 World Series.

Pitching coach Rick Peterson and first base coach Tom Nieto also were dismissed early Tuesday morning.

"I honestly don't think we go out there thinking, `Well, I've got to make sure we win this game so Willie can keep his job,' because that's out of our control," closer Billy Wagner said after saving the victory. "I think we're all out there just trying to do our job."

They did Monday night, but Randolph's fate was sealed. His job was in jeopardy for weeks as the $138 million Mets (34-35) kept hovering around the .500 mark. The disappointing start followed the team's colossal collapse last September, when they lost 12 of their last 17 and missed the playoffs as Philadelphia rallied to win the division title.

Ken Oberkfell, the club's manager at Triple-A New Orleans, and Dan Warthen, pitching coach for the Zephyrs, will join the major league staff along with Luis Aguayo, a Mets field coordinator.

"If we get the job done, everything's fine," Wagner said. "We just have to turn those negatives into positives."

The Mets will have to do that without Randolph now. The announcement of Randolph's firing -- the first in the majors this season -- came at a stunning time because the Mets had won three of four and just completed a win over the AL West leaders to start a six-game road trip.

Carlos Beltran homered twice and Mike Pelfrey (3-6) won for the first time in 11 starts, allowing six runs, eight hits and two walks in six-plus innings. He did not strike out a batter in his first regular-season start against an AL team.

The right-hander, coming off three consecutive no-decisions following six straight defeats, won for the first time since beating Washington 6-0 on April 15 at Shea. Last season he went eight straight starts during one stretch without a victory before beating Atlanta on Sept. 1.

"It's huge. I'm definitely excited that I got the W," Pelfrey said. "I'm being more aggressive and throwing more strikes. I'm not nibbling as much on the corners as I was, so I think the confidence is higher and I'm more capable of executing pitches."

The Mets scored in each of the first three innings against Jered Weaver (6-7). He allowed six runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings, striking out five.

"He's not going to be locked in every time he goes out there," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We just didn't get the ball in the zones we needed to tonight and those guys scored a lot of runs. We kept playing baseball, but we just dug ourselves a little bit too much of a hole."

Two of the runs charged to Weaver came during a four-run seventh that extended New York's lead to 8-3. Luis Castillo greeted rookie Jose Arredondo with a two-run single, David Wright followed with an RBI double and Wright scored on an error by first baseman Casey Kotchman.

The Angels narrowed the gap to 8-6 with three runs in the bottom half. Jeff Mathis chased Pelfrey with an RBI single, and Pedro Feliciano gave up run-scoring singles to Chone Figgins and Garret Anderson before Aaron Heilman struck out Vladimir Guerrero and Torii Hunter with the potential tying runs on base.

Duaner Sanchez pitched a perfect eighth and Wagner earned his 15th save in 20 chances -- his second in two days after blowing three consecutive opportunities. The Angels put two on in the ninth, but Figgins was doubled off second base on Anderson's liner to shortstop, ending the game.

"We got a break," Randolph said. "Billy kept you on the edge of your seat -- well he kept me, anyway. It kind of felt similar to the way things have been going, but it was a nice all-around victory for us. Some guys swung the bats a little bit, we added on some runs, played good defense and got some good pitching."

Serving as a DH for the first time this season, Beltran drove a 1-0 pitch into the first row above the 18-foot wall in right-center to cap a two-run first. He homered again with two outs in the third, hitting the next pitch he saw from Weaver to left-center for his 10th of the season and a 4-1 lead.

It marked the 23rd multihomer game and first this season for the four-time All-Star, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on both knees last October to relieve tendinitis.

"I'm not 100 percent, but I feel a lot better and every day it's improving," Beltran said. "My right knee feels great, my left one is still a little bit behind. There's some days where I feel sore, but that's part of it. The doctor said it's not going to get worse. It's supposed to improve every day, so I'm not worried about it. I'm just going to keep coming to the ballpark early, do my treatments, and hopefully one day I'll wake up with no pain."

Seven of Beltran's 246 regular-season home runs have come as a DH. He had some experience in that role with Kansas City but was not used in that capacity last season.

"For me, it's kind of like a half a day off," Beltran said. "Every time before my at-bat, I came inside, went to the cage and took some soft toss to keep myself loose. Being a DH is not easy, to be honest."

The Angels got RBI singles from Guerrero and Howie Kendrick in the fourth, but ran themselves into two outs during the rally.

Game notes:

With Randolph's firing, Scioscia is the only current manager who played in the 1989 All-Star game at Anaheim. The Angels will host the event again in 2010.