By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Lucas Duda’s two-run single capped a three-run
ninth against All-Star closer Heath Bell, and the banged-up New
York Mets rallied past the San Diego Padres 9-8 on Monday night.
Angel Pagan, Jason Bay and David Wright homered for the Mets,
who started strong and finished with a flourish after putting their
top two hitters on the disabled list.
Shortstop Jose Reyes is sidelined with a strained left
hamstring, the same problem that landed the NL’s leading hitter on
the disabled list for 16 days last month. Daniel Murphy, who filled
in admirably for injured first baseman Ike Davis, is likely done
for the season because of a left knee injury.
Pagan moved up to Reyes’ spot at the top of the lineup and hit
his third career leadoff homer.
Ruben Tejada, recalled from Triple-A Buffalo, started at
shortstop and made a tough defensive play in an important
Jason Bartlett’s bases-loaded double capped a four-run eighth
that gave the Padres an 8-4 lead. But their normally reliable
bullpen couldn’t hold it, and San Diego’s four-game winning streak
Duda, who had three hits, singled to start a two-run eighth
against Chad Qualls. Bay walked and pinch-hitter Mike Baxter, just
promoted from Triple-A Buffalo, delivered an RBI double when left
fielder Kyle Blanks misplayed the deep drive, letting it glance off
Claimed off waivers from the Padres last month, Baxter grew up
in Queens about 10 minutes from the Mets’ home and went to games at
Shea Stadium as a kid. But he had never been to Citi Field, which
opened in 2009, before arriving in the clubhouse Monday.
After his key hit, Baxter clapped his hands at second base as
his family stood and cheered in the stands. It was his second major
league hit and RBI.
Ronny Paulino’s sacrifice fly cut it to 8-6.
Jason Pridie opened the ninth with a single off Bell (2-4), a
former Met, and moved up on a wild pitch as Pagan struck out.
Justin Turner’s single put runners at the corners and Wright laced
an RBI single up the middle.
Another wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third
before Duda grounded a single up the middle, just past diving
second baseman Orlando Hudson.
Wright scored the winning run with a headfirst slide into the
leg of plate umpire Marty Foster and the jubilant Mets mobbed Duda
near second base.
Willie Harris pelted Duda in the face with a cream pie as he was
interviewed on the field.
It was Bell’s third blown save in 34 chances.
Jason Isringhausen (3-2) worked a scoreless ninth for the win.
Jesus Guzman had two RBI singles for San Diego and Tim Stauffer
hung around for seven innings after serving up three early homers.
Coming off a three-game sweep at slumping Pittsburgh, the
last-place Padres fought back from a 4-1 deficit against Mike
Pelfrey with their latest offensive outburst.
San Diego, which began the day at the bottom of the NL rankings
in home runs (63) and batting average (.235), has scored 46 runs in
the last five games.
Bay hit his 200th career homer leading off the second and Wright
added a two-run shot to make it 4-1 in the third, but the Padres
tied it with a three-run sixth. Bartlett started the rally with a
single and Blanks capped it with an RBI double.
Wright also made two outstanding plays at third base. New York,
which had lost six of seven, moved back to .500 (57-57).
NOTES: Stauffer had given up only eight homers all season. …
San Diego placed 3B Chase Headley (broken left pinkie) and reliever
Ernesto Frieri (strained lower back) on the 15-day DL. … Pagan’s
previous leadoff homer came on Aug. 23, 2009, against Philadelphia.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)