Using a four-inning start from Oliver Perez and a six-run second inning, highlighted by Anderson Hernandez's two-run triple, New York ended their most successful campaign since 1999 on a high note.
But it could have been a very different story, had a brush between Carlos Beltran and Cliff Floyd in the third inning been anything more than a close call.
The two outfielders nearly collided chasing Brian Schneider's fly ball to left-center, with Floyd challenging his sore left Achilles as though the ball had postseason ramifications. Floyd's jersey came untucked and unbuttoned in the swipe.
It turns out, that might have been necessary only for Floyd's own peace of mind. Mets manager Willie Randolph was confident all along that Floyd – who received a precautionary, just-in-case cortisone shot in New York last week – would be on the postseason roster, though Endy Chavez could still score playing time, particularly against left-handed starters.
Now, the Mets eye their next game, the franchise's first postseason action since Mike Piazza flew out to Bernie Williams, ending Game 5 of the 2000 World Series. Orlando Hernandez will throw the Mets' first pitch after that ill-fated one, while the Dodgers are planning on sending 16-game winner Derek Lowe to the hill.
Third baseman David Wright was among the Mets who, before Sunday's game, proclaimed the club ready to end the regular season and pursue some October magic.
"We understand what we've done this year has been pretty special," Wright said. "We understand that we have a good team. But we have a lot of pressure on ourselves. We want to win a World Series.
"We want to put a ring on our finger. There's nothing else that's going to satisfy us this year. So to us right now the goal is the World Series, and that's it."
Billy Wagner said that the players are looking forward to seeing the spotlights go on at Shea Stadium late Wednesday afternoon.
"We've been sitting here for two weeks, waiting to see who we're going to play and where we're going to play," Wagner said. " I think everybody's just excited to really have 25 guys in here ready to play playoff baseball. I think New York's ready for playoff baseball."
Delgado aching, Floyd better: 1B Carlos Delgado missed the final two games of the season, but is expected to be in the lineup for NLDS Game 1. Delgado reported feeling "a little weird" in his chest and back after a recent swing, he told the New York Daily News.
Trax back: RHP Steve Trachsel was on his way back to New York from Phoenix Sunday after attending to a family issue. He is expected to be with the team Tuesday for an early afternoon workout at Shea Stadium.
Scouting the Dodgers: At MLB.com, Tom Singer takes a deeper look at what a Mets vs. Dodgers playoff series means, skirting any obvious references to 1988 and Mike Scioscia. Indeed, the Dodgers' attack is well-balanced and their makeup resilient, if a large amount streaky.