Wright, Beltran provide NL offense

Wright, Beltran provide NL offense

PITTSBURGH -- The Mets had a National League-high six players selected for the All-Star Game on Tuesday. Third baseman David Wright, center fielder Carlos Beltran and catcher Paul Lo Duca started for the NL, but Pedro Martinez and Jose Reyes bowed out with injuries, while Tom Glavine stepped aside after pitching on Sunday.

Wright was the Met who stood out the most for the Senior Circuit in the American League's 3-2 come-from-behind victory. He went 1-for-3, including his first All-Star home run. In the second inning, with the AL leading, 1-0, Wright sent a Kenny Rogers pitch over the left-field wall to tie the score at 1. Wright became the 13th player to homer in his first All-Star at-bat, and the first since the Rangers' Hank Blalock in 2003.

"I just went up there and tried to relax and be aggressive," Wright said. "With the All-Star Game, you have to get your hacks in, so I went up there, got a good pitch to hit and got a nice, easy swing on it."

Of all the Mets, Wright likely had the best time during All-Star week. He also finished second to Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard in the CENTURY 21 Home Run Derby on Monday night.

"It's a blast," Wright said. "The biggest thing I got out of this is I've been able to talk and hang out with some of the best players in the game. You play against them and watch them on TV. It's good to see the other side of them."

Beltran played the entire game on Tuesday, went 2-for-4 and left his heart and soul on the field. It was his legs that helped the NL take a 2-1 lead in the third inning. After he singled and went to second when Toronto center fielder Vernon Wells threw out Washington's Alfonso Soriano at the plate, Beltran stole third base and then scored on a wild pitch by the Blue Jays' Roy Halladay.

In the ninth inning, Beltran beat out a throw by Seattle's Jose Lopez, who was playing third base, and represented the tying run. As Beltran reached first, Toronto's Troy Glaus -- normally a third baseman, but playing on the other side of the diamond in the ninth -- stepped on Beltran as he hit the bag. Beltran stumbled but was not injured on the play. He crossed to second on a groundout by Howard, but was stranded there when Milwaukee outfielder Carlos Lee popped out to second to end the game.

"It was a good game," Beltran said. "It was tough in the end, but I think we put up a real good effort. We really battle those guys. They came through at the right time."

Beltran rebounded from an injury-plagued season in 2005 to have a great first half this year, hitting .279 with 25 home runs and 66 RBIs. But going to the postseason is on his mind right now.

"One of the reasons why we are here is because we put together a good first half," Beltran said. "We look forward to continue to play like that in the second half. Being 12 games ahead and in first place makes us feel good. But the second half is going to be tougher than the first. We need to maintain our focus and play the game hard."

Lo Duca had two at-bats and went hitless. The Mets catcher was behind the plate when NL starter Brad Penny of the Dodgers struck out the side in the first.

Even though he didn't contribute offensively, Lo Duca called his fourth appearance in the All-Star Game one of his best moments in baseball because he started for the first time.

"It's an honor to be in the clubhouse with these guys," Lo Duca said. "You are still in awe, even though you are getting a little older."

Lo Duca didn't seem surprised that the National League hasn't won an All-Star Game since 1996 in Philadelphia.

"They are a better league than us, especially this year," he said. "We need to prove that we can play with them. With free agency, [the tide] could turn in a couple of years, or a year. You never know. No excuses. They have kicked our butts the last few years."

There was supposed to be a fourth Mets starter in the game, but Reyes didn't play because of an injured left pinky finger. But that didn't stop him from having a good time with his parents, sister, daughter and a couple of cousins.

"Even though I didn't play, I still enjoy myself, especially [on Monday] with the Home Run Derby," Reyes said. "Carlos said it would be a lot of fun for me. He told me to enjoy it as much as you can with your family. It's great for them."

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.