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Pelfrey, Wright, Duda fill void for Mets

Jose Reyes #7 and David Wright #5

Jose Reyes #7 and David Wright #5 of the New York Mets celebrate after scoring in the first inning. (July 27, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

CINCINNATI -- Of course, the Mets know Carlos Beltran is going to a better place, while they are left behind to deal with this imperfect world.

Then again, life goes on. Wednesday night, Angel Pagan provided two first-inning runs with a double. The team's new rightfielder, Lucas Duda, homered. So did David Wright, a show-your-muscle 412-footer with two men on, and he added a single. Daniel Murphy had four hits, a career high. Jose Reyes added two hits to raise his league-leading average to .347. Mike Pelfrey pitched his second complete game of the season, scattering seven hits without a walk, and raised his record to 6-9.

And the Mets beat the Reds a third consecutive night, 8-2, to inch two games above .500 at 53-51.

"There's still gonna be a game,'' Wright said of carrying on without Beltran, who most likely will be in playoff paradise in October. "We've still got to go out there and perform.''

So after an early-afternoon Beltran farewell in the clubhouse -- "We all wish him well and wish him health,'' Pagan said -- Pelfrey said that reserve infielder Willie Harris "made the comment, 'Let's make the playoffs, too. Let's beat Carlos Beltran.' Almost like it's a motivation. If that happens, it would be great."

Beltran's name was still on the roster Wednesday night but his body already was absent while the trade for Giants pitching prospect Zack Wheeler was being finalized. Manager Terry Collins said he would tell Beltran, "Good luck. Sorry to see you go. Thanks for all you did. Thanks for all you are.''

What they will be missing, R.A. Dickey said, is "a very complete individual, not only on the field, but off. It's kind of sad.''

For weeks, with talk of Beltran's inevitable departure hounding the Mets, it was accompanied by the question of whether his soon-to-be-former teammates' slim postseason possibilities would leave with him.

But Collins reminded again that "we knew it was going to happen, whether we liked it or not. If he's here, great. If he's not here, we got to pick it up. So let's find out. We'll probably have to pick it up.''

Last night's performance, Collins said, demonstrated that "they've bought into the program. They've bought into the fact that, no matter the situation or who's out there, you go and play as hard as you can.''

Beyond the most obvious subtraction -- the offensive punch of Beltran's .289 average, league-leading 30 doubles and a career-best 32 consecutive games of reaching base safely -- Dickey cited how "it comes very natural to Carlos'' to counsel and encourage younger players, "and that may be missed more than anything.

"But we're fortunate that in this clubhouse,'' Dickey said, "we've developed a culture here where it's very important to people to be professional. You don't have to baby-sit guys like you do in some other clubhouses, so I don't fear that at all.

"But for me personally, it's a sad day because I love Carlos. I think he's a great teammate, I think he's a fantastic guy.''

Wright figured the injuries and setbacks this season toughened the players for their Beltran-less stretch run.

"I tell you,'' Collins said, "these guys are something to be around.''

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