The return of Beltran made the Mets' bench stronger. Endy Chavez, as good a No. 4 outfielder as there is, had four hits in his most recent 24 at-bats as a starter. And he was back in the role that suits him best when the Mets engaged the Phillies in the first game of their three-game series.
Beltran, saying that the three games he missed because of his bruised right knee made his sore quads less tender, added that he still needs to play carefully. He said the knee was "80 to 85 percent."
The return of Alou could be tied to the Mets' six upcoming Interleague road games -- with the designated hitter rule in effect -- in their first nine games after the Phillies series. They play the Tigers this weekend and, after three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers, play three games at Yankee Stadium.
Manager Willie Randolph said that the club wants Alou to be close to fully recovered from the strained left quad before playing him, and noted that Alou would have to run the bases if he were the designated hitter. But the Mets could use the extra offense, and chances are they would benefit from someone other than Alou playing left field in Detroit's spacious Comerica Park.
Power shortage: Through Monday, the Mets had hit merely seven home runs since May 22, the fewest in the big leagues.
A better beginning: When Tom Glavine retired the side in order in the first inning of Tuesday night's game, it marked the first time in five starts that he didn't allow a run in the first. He had allowed five runs, eight hits and four walks in his previous four first innings. He threw nine pitches to begin Tuesday's game, having averaged 30 pitches in the first in his last three starts.
This date in Mets history, June 6: A sacrifice fly by Ken Boyer in one game and a home run by Ron Swoboda in the other, each off Elroy Face in the 10th inning, produced the winning runs in the Mets' 1-0/3-2 doubleheader sweep of the Pirates at Forbes Field in 1967. The doubleheader was the Mets' third in four days. ... After the umpires upheld the Mets' appeal, ruling Lee Mazzilli out for leaving third base too early on a potential sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, the Mets scored in the 13th on a wild pitch to beat the Pirates, 2-1, at Three Rivers Stadium in 1984.
Darryl Strawberry hit a two-run, pinch-hit homer off Doug Drabek in the seventh inning to provide the decisive margin in a 4-2 Mets victory against the Pirates at Shea Stadium in 1987. ... A year later, Strawberry hit a two-run homer off Larry McWilliams in the sixth inning to give the Mets a lead and drove in two other runs in the Mets' 6-2 victory against the Cardinals in St. Louis. ... The ill-fated '92 Mets moved within two games of the first-place Pirates on this date, winning, 15-1, in Pittsburgh. ... Limited to two hits by Tim Wakefield and Tom Gordon, the Mets beat the Red Sox, 1-0, at Fenway Park in 1998 on a combined five-hitter by Bobby Jones (eight innings) and John Franco. Brian McRae scored the lone run on a balk charged to Wakefield in the sixth inning. ... The Mets scored seven runs in 2 2/3 innings off Roger Clemens and beat the Yankees, 7-2, in the Bronx in 1999.
Coming up: Orlando Hernandez and Adam Eaton are the starting pitchers for the second game of the series, at 7:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less