Inside Pitch: Beltran hurts hamstring

The Mets' near flawless start might have hit a snag when center fielder Carlos Beltran did not play Sunday because of tightness in his right hamstring.

It is not known how much he will be available, if at all, for the three-game series beginning Monday at Shea Stadium, but he is optimistic the injury won't sideline him for very long.

"I woke up Sunday feeling sore," Beltran said. "We'll see about (Monday). To me, it's nothing major."

Beltran was hurt when he nearly collided with Milwaukee first baseman Prince Fielder on a play at the bag.

Beltran said he would be cautious with this injury based on the mistake he made last season with a tight quad.

"Last year, I tried to play through the quad and it didn't work the way I wanted," Beltran said. "I didn't take the time to heal completely."

REPLAY: It wasn't one of Brian Bannister's best games, but it was good enough for him to beat the Brewers 9-3 Sunday at Shea Stadium.

Bannister (2-0) threw 81 pitches through three innings and finished with 112 over five innings, giving up one run on six hits and five walks.

"He had a C-minus game but still made big pitches when he had to," manager Willie Randolph said. "That showed me something."

NOTES, QUOTES

  • CF Carlos Beltran did not play Sunday because of a tight right hamstring, and it is not known if he will be available Monday against Atlanta.

  • For the first time in their history, the Mets won their first four series to start a season. Their 9-2 record is the best start in franchise history.

  • RHP Pedro Martinez (2-0, 3.46) will start Monday's game against Atlanta.

  • Manager Willie Randolph on the Mets' three-game series beginning Monday against Atlanta: "It always is (a big series when we play them). They are the guys we have to go through to win."

  • RHP Jorge Julio continues to struggle, but manager Willie Randolph maintains he still has confidence in the reliever obtained from Baltimore for RHP Kris Benson in the offseason.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- The number of times a Mets starter worked less than six innings through their first eight games.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're playing with a swagger. We're not cocky, but we're playing with a great deal of confidence. We go to the park believing we're going to win." -- 3B David Wright on the Mets' fast start.

    ROSTER REPORT - MEDICAL WATCH

    RHP Pedro Martinez's sore right big toe is the key to the season. If he's ineffective, the Mets can kiss their season goodbye.

    RHP Victor Zambrano strained his left hamstring and then came down with the flu. He made his season debut April 13.

    RHP Juan Padilla is lost for the year with elbow surgery.

    2B Kaz Matsui opened the season on the disabled list with a knee injury.

    LHP Billy Wagner missed five days at the end of spring training with stiffness in the middle finger of his pitching hand but was healthy by Opening Day.

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