In 2006 the New York Mets took over first place on April 6th, never losing a lead & finished up 12 games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Willie Randolph's Mets (91-58) sent Steve Trachsel (14-7) to the mound to face Joe Girardi's Florida Marlins & pitcher Brad Moehler (7-8).
Steve Trachsel who at the time was the longest tenured Met, pitched into the 7th inning without giving up any runs, allowing only three hits, walking just one & striking out three Marlins. He earned his 15th win of the year (15-7).
Relievers Guillermo Mota & Aaron Heilman(8th inning) led the way to closer; Billy Wagner who finished it out with a perfect 9th inning.
The Marlins, Josh Willingham flew out to left fielder; Cliff Floyd for the final out & the Mets celebrated in victory.
Quotes: "I got that ball in my back pocket. For a small fee, I might give it up," Floyd said, laughing.
In the Mets 3rd inning, Shawn Green was hit by a pitch, then that night's hitting star; Jose Valentin hit a two run HR making it 2-0. Valentin homered again in the 5th inning, a solo shot making it 3-0 New York, as the fans went wild. It was Valentin's 16th & 17th HRs of the year.
In 2006 the 36 year old Jose Valentin was the Mets primary second baseman hitting 18 HRs with 24 doubles, 62 RBIs & a .271 batting average.
In the 6th inning, Cliff Floyd singled to right field, bringing in Carlos Beltran with the final run.
In the joyful Mets clubhouse the team celebrated with cigars & champagne. The lockers were covered so none of the fancy clothes get wet & the players wore goggles to protect their eyes from the burn of the bubbly.
Back on the field after the game, the two young faces of the franchise; David Wright & Jose Reyes celebrated & posed for the press in celebration.