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Mets Turn the Page, Top Cubs

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Field reporter Kevin Burkhardt, left, interviews New York Mets' Justin Turner after Turner was hit with a shaving cream pie by teammate Willie Harris after a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Sept. 9, 2011, at Citi Field in New York. Turner hit the game-winning walkoff-single in the ninth inning to defeat the Cubs 5-4. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

Field reporter Kevin Burkhardt, left, interviews New York Mets’ Justin Turner after Turner was hit with a shaving cream pie by teammate Willie Harris after a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs on Friday, Sept. 9, 2011, at Citi Field in New York. Turner hit the game-winning walkoff-single in the ninth inning to defeat the Cubs 5-4. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

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By MIKE FITZPATRICK
AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ By the time the boos had faded, the New York
Mets were already mounting the winning rally.

Justin Turner doubled in the decisive run with two outs in the
ninth inning and New York beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4 on Friday night
moments after blowing a one-run lead.

A scrappy rookie who has proven reliable in clutch situations,
Turner recalled that his other game-ending RBI this season came
when he was hit by a pitch.

“Yeah, this one definitely felt better,” he said.

Turner also had a tiebreaking double in the fifth and finished
with three hits. Jason Bay doubled twice and threw out a runner at
the plate for New York in the opener of a weekend series that
culminates Sunday night with a pregame ceremony to mark the 10-year
anniversary of 9/11.

The Mets are offering free tickets to New York City first
responders and their families for that game.

Earlier on Friday, several current and former Mets visited New
York City firehouses _ from David Wright and Bobby Parnell to Mike
Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo, Robin Ventura and John Olerud.

Wright and Bay each had an RBI to help the Mets overcome an
early 3-0 deficit for their 11th victory in 16 games. Mike Pelfrey
recovered from a rocky start as New York evened the all-time series
against the Cubs at 345-345 with two ties.

“Regardless of where you’re at, those are always exciting,”
Bay said about walk-off wins. “And you could see by the way we run
out there and try to beat up whoever does it.”

Late in a lost season, the Mets are trying to groom a potential
closer for the future. Parnell has failed to grab hold of the role,
however, and Manny Acosta (3-1) couldn’t put this one away.

Acosta, who saved a 1-0 win Wednesday at Florida, gave up a
tying single to new father Darwin Barney with two outs in the top
of the ninth. Aramis Ramirez flied out to end the inning, but the
crowd of 27,639 let Acosta hear it.

His teammates responded right away.

Nick Evans singled off Sean Marshall (6-6) to open the bottom
half and pinch-runner Jason Pridie advanced on Josh Thole’s
sacrifice. After pinch-hitter Ruben Tejada hit a soft liner for an
out, Jose Reyes was intentionally walked.

Turner hit a long drive to center over the head of Marlon Byrd,
who was playing shallow. The ball bounced on the warning track and
over the fence _ it was initially ruled a single, then changed to a
ground-rule double.

“Just kind of hung that curveball down the middle and Turner
put a good swing on it,” Marshall said. “The ball stayed in the
air for a while, the ball kind of carried and that was it.”

Turner touched second and was swarmed by excited teammates. Then
he was pelted in the face with a cream pie during a TV interview on
the field.

“Of all the guys on the team, he probably has the most
disciplined swing in those situations,” Mets manager Terry Collins
said. “He just wants to put the bat on the ball. He doesn’t care
where it goes.”

Carlos Pena extended his power surge with a long two-run homer
for Chicago, which has lost 12 of 18. Bryan LaHair had an RBI
triple before he was thrown out by Bay at the plate on pitcher
Casey Coleman’s fly to left.

Reyes, trying to hold off Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun for the NL
batting title, blooped a ground-rule double in the fifth and scored
on Turner’s soft double to put the Mets up 4-3. Reyes has hit
safely in all 12 games since returning from the disabled list.
Pelfrey caught a break in the seventh when pinch-hitter Blake
DeWitt hit a one-out grounder that appeared headed into right field
for a single that could have put runners at the corners. But the
ball bounced up and hit pinch-runner Tony Campana for the second
out.

After Castro was hit by a pitch, Josh Stinson retired Barney on
a flyball to end the inning.

“We battled it all the way to the end and we gave ourselves a
shot,” Pena said. “We had one of our best on the mound and they
beat us. That’s the only way to look at it.”

Pelfrey loaded the bases with one out in the first, prompting a
visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen. The big right-hander then
struck out Alfonso Soriano and got Byrd on a liner to shortstop to
escape unscathed after 29 pitches.

NOTES: Mets ace Johan Santana, sidelined all season following
shoulder surgery, tossed three innings in a rehab start with
Class-A Savannah in a South Atlantic League playoff game. He gave
up two hits and an unearned run, with one walk and one strikeout.
The left-hander threw 39 pitches, 27 for strikes. Next, the Mets
hope Santana recovers well enough to pitch again in five days _
either in another minor league playoff game or a simulated or
instructional league game. “I’m not looking for results. I’m not
looking for velocity,” Collins said. “I’m looking to see how he
comes out of this tomorrow.” … Barney rejoined the team in time
for batting practice. He flew in from Oregon following the birth
Wednesday of his daughter, Zoey Jane Leilani. … RHP Randy Wells
(7-4) tries to extend his career-best five-game winning streak when
he starts Saturday for Chicago against LHP Chris Capuano (10-12),
who is 8-3 against the Cubs.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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