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Article:How a Small Game Becomes a Big Win

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On Monday, the New York Mets triumphed in five ways: Pedro Martinez looked good, the Mets finally broke through the .500 barrier, the offense fired on all cylinders, the bullpen almost choked but didn't, and of course, the Mets took a four game series from the first-place Philadelphia Phillies. Going into the game, it was a big game; coming out, it was a huge victory.

Last night, by both comparison and independently, looked like a small game. That is, it was one of the 150 or so nondescript games that a team players over the course of the season; one that is both forgotten and boiled down to a single letter: W or L. Tim Lincecum, the shining star of the downtrodden San Francisco Giants hopped on the mound, his 10-1 record and sub-3.00 ERA ready to return the Mets to .500.

But less than three hours later, it was Mike Pelfrey who looked like the superstar, giving up three hits and no walks in 7 shutout innings; two of the hits did not even leave the infield. Carlos Delgado continued his ascension to mediocrity with a solo home run. Carlos Beltran went 3-4 with a tone-setting three-run shot in the first. Fernando Tatis added his own longball as the game waned.

Just a win? Hardly.

The Mets won their fourth game in a row -- something they hadn't done since April -- and did so in resounding fashion. Here is a team which since mid-April has been treading water, repeatedly matching winning bursts with losing streaks. But yesterday, they continued their winning ways and did so by excellence in execution on both sides of the ball, and by almost every player to take the field. In one prediction market, HubDub, the Mets odds to win the NL East doubled, from about 13.5% to 26%.

At the end of the year, no one will look back at this game and see it for anything more than a W. But the day after, it feels like the Mets turned a page on the 2008 season. Here's to hoping that this feeling is right.

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