Ready for Atlanta
Mets' bullpen leader focusing on Braves
Posted: Monday October 11, 1999 08:37 PM
Franco: "They had their way with us this year, that's for sure." AP
NEW YORK (AP) -- It took John Franco 16 seasons to make the
playoffs. He's not yet ready to look ahead to a possible Subway
Franco pitched a perfect 10th inning to win the deciding game of
the New York Mets' first-round victory over the Arizona
Diamondbacks on Saturday and immediately turned his attention to
the NL championship series.
"We have to think about Atlanta," Franco said after Todd
Pratt's homer gave the Mets a 4-3, 10-inning win and a 3-1 series
"We are enjoying right now what happened about 20 minutes ago.
All that other stuff, if it happens, it will be great," said
Franco, who shielded his son from a champagne celebration in the
locker room. "Right now we have to worry about playing the Braves
in a couple of days."
Franco, who went from closer to set-up man after an injury to
his middle finger in July, came into a 3-3 game in the 10th inning
after warming up three times earlier in the game.
He fell behind the first two hitters 2-0, but struck out former
teammate Kelly Stinnett and got Lenny Harris, another ex-Met, on a
grounder. Franco then retired Tony Womack on a grounder to third to
end the inning.
"I was hoping I didn't run out of gas and leave it in the
bullpen," he said. "Once you get called into the game, your
adrenaline starts going. The main thing is to give my guys a chance
to field the ball and that's what I did."
Pratt's homer gave Franco his first win, after 10 straight
losses, since Sept. 13, 1997. Franco shot out of the dugout and was
jumping up and down at home plate as Pratt rounded the bases.
He high-fived manager Bobby Valentine and embraced his teammates
during a wild celebration.
'Sometimes good things happen to those who wait,' said Franco,
who is second on the career list with 416 saves. "Hopefully some
more good things will happen down the road."
That road starts Tuesday night in Atlanta. The Mets will have
their hands full with a Braves team that beat them nine out of 12
games, including five of six the final two weeks of the season.
"They had their way with us this year, that's for sure,"
Franco said. "The three games we played down in Atlanta were three
tough games and the three we played here were tough. If this is any
indication of what is going to happen, it is going to be a hell of
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