Mets advance to NLCS with sweep of Dodgers

Mets advance to NLCS with sweep of Dodgers

The Mets' intent was to never let the series get back to New York, as much as they've enjoyed playing at home this season and with the built-in cushion of a guaranteed deciding game.

Instead, the Mets opted to spray bubbly liquids as soon as possible in the visiting clubhouse at Dodger Stadium. The Mets advanced to the National League Championship Series with a 9-5 victory in Game 3 Saturday at Los Angeles, completing a NLDS sweep.

The Mets will enjoy a few days to rest, flying back to the East Coast and preparing to take on the winner of the Padres – Cardinals NLDS series on Wednesday.

Facing veteran Greg Maddux, the Mets opening up a three-run lead in the first inning and extended it to four runs in the third when Shawn Green stroked a run-scoring double – the second RBI of the evening for the former Dodger, who was benched in Game 2 at Shea Stadium but returned with a flourish.

Steve Trachsel started for the Mets and got through the first three innings unscathed before allowing a two-run double to James Loney in the fourth inning, turning the game over to the relievers.

It would again be up to the bullpen, as usual for a club lacking both Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez in the postseason: Mets starting pitchers only tossed 13 2/3 innings in the NLDS.

Darren Oliver surrendered a game-tying solo home run to Jeff Kent in the fifth – one of four hits for the former Met infielder - and Chad Bradford allowed a walk and a hit, leaving the bases loaded for reliever Pedro Feliciano.

The left-hander issued a walk to Loney, briefly giving Los Angeles a 5-4 lead, before escaping the inning. It would again be up to the bullpen, as usual for a club lacking both Pedro Martinez and Orlando Hernandez in the postseason: Mets starting pitchers only tossed 13 2/3 innings in the NLDS.

The Mets came back with three runs in the sixth, taking the lead they would not relinquish. Jose Reyes tied the game with a single to center and Paul Lo Duca gave New York the lead with a run-scoring hit to left that brought home Michael Tucker, and Carlos Beltran increased the lead to two runs with a single to left that scored Reyes.

New York tacked on insurance runs on Lo Duca's hit and a Wilson Betemit throwing error in the top of the eighth, and in the ninth, all that was left was for Billy Wagner to record the final three outs – as he did in all three games of the series.

The final out came when Wagner induced Ramon Martinez to fly out to Green in foul territory down the right field line, ending the Division Series at 11:56 p.m. ET.

Perhaps the lone negative in the contest came in the third inning, when Cliff Floyd re-injured his troublesome left Achilles, scoring on Green's double. Floyd covered his head with a towel when he returned to the bench and needed to be helped to the clubhouse, as he was replaced in left field by Endy Chavez.

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