Pedro gets 200, Mets set tone

By Mets 4, Braves 3
Published April 18, 2006

NEW YORK - Pedro Martinez's 200th win meant a lot to the Mets for another reason: It came against Atlanta.

Martinez became the seventh active major-league pitcher with 200 victories, and New York edged Atlanta in the first of 18 meetings this season between the East rivals.

"It's a great accomplishment," the slender Martinez said in front of a large banner commemorating his milestone. "This is probably one of the biggest things that's happened in my career, because of how far I've come from the first day and all the doubts about my body type."

Carlos Delgado and Xavier Nady homered and drove in two runs each for the Mets (10-2), who improved the best record in baseball and extended the fastest start in franchise history.

Andruw Jones hit his fifth homer and second in two days for the Braves.

Tagged by Delgado again, former Rays pitcher Jorge Sosa lasted only four-plus innings.

Nady and Paul Lo Duca finished with three hits apiece for the Mets, who have been chasing Atlanta for years. This season, they think they have the talent to finally end the Braves' record run of 14 consecutive division titles.

"It's a big win. This is a big series. For April, this is as big as it's going to get," Lo Duca said. "We've got to dethrone these guys.

"When somebody has your number, you've got to play extra hard. We need to turn the tide."

One game hardly proves much, but New York is playing well. The new-look Mets already have a five-game lead in the division over Atlanta and Philadelphia, making them the first team in big-league history to build a cushion that big after 12 games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"Obviously, the Mets have been hungry for a while to put us in their rearview mirror," Atlanta's Marcus Giles said.

NOTABLE: Delgado, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games, is 14-for-27 (.519) lifetime against Sosa with seven homers and 14 RBIs. That includes Sosa's three-year stint with the Rays when Delgado, playing for Toronto, went 8-for-15 (.533) with five HRs and 10 RBIs off him. ... The other current major-leaguers with 200 wins are Greg Maddux (320), Tom Glavine (277), Randy Johnson (265), David Wells (227), Mike Mussina (225) and Jamie Moyer (205). Roger Clemens has 341 but has not said if he intends to return or retire.