Mets unable to stop Beltre's bat



He went 5-for-5 with his 42nd home run in the Dodgers' 4-2 win.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK -- Try finding a pitcher who can get Adrian Beltre out right now. The New York Mets certainly couldn't.
Beltre went 5-for-5 with his major league-leading 42nd home run, and the Los Angeles Dodgers got a pair of big pinch hits in a 4-2 victory Saturday.
"A tremendous game to win, especially the way we did it," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "I don't know what else you can say about our third baseman. I don't know the last time I've seen him hit a ball softly."
Eric Gagne pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 36th save in 38 chances and first since Aug. 15. His 143rd save since 2002 broke Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley's major league record for most in a three-year span. Eckersley had 142 from 1990-92 with Oakland.
Boost lead to 5
Two other Los Angeles relievers also dominated during the late innings, and the Dodgers extended their NL West lead to five games over the San Francisco Giants, who lost 9-3 in Atlanta.
"The last couple of years we've been chasing them, now they're chasing us," Beltre said. "We have to keep playing good ball because we know for sure that the Giants will."
Jeff Keppinger led off the first inning with his first major league homer for the Mets, who lost for the sixth time in seven games.
Richard Hidalgo hit an RBI single and starting pitcher Jae Seo left with a 2-1 lead in the seventh, but Beltre and the Dodgers rallied against New York's shaky bullpen.
LOS ANGELESNEW YORK
abrhbiabrhbi
Izturis ss4120Kppngr 2b2111
SFinley cf5000Valent ph1000
Brdley lf5000Looper p0000
Beltre 3b5252Zeile 1b3110
ShGren rf4110Floyd lf4010
Choi 1b3000Hidalgo rf4011
Saenz ph1011Cmeron cf2000
Brzban p0000Wright 3b3000
Gagne p0000JPhllps c3000
Cora 2b2000Stanton p0000
JHrndz 2b1011DGrcia 2b0000
Mayne c4010WDgdo ss3000
OPerez p2000Seo p2000
Grbwsk ph1000Flciano p0000
Carrar p0000Bttlco p0000
Werth rf1000VWilsn c1000
Totals384114Totals28242
Los Angeles001000021--4
New York100100000--2
E--Wright (8). DP--Los Angeles 2, New York 1. LOB--Los Angeles 10, New York
2. 2B--ShGreen (25). HR--Beltre (42), Keppinger (1). SB--Izturis (21). CS--Floyd (4).
IPHRERBBSO
Los Angeles
OPerez642233
Carrara W,4-1100002
Brazoban100002
Gagne S,36100001
New York
Seo6 1-351135
Feliciano2-300000
Bottalico1-311101
Stanton L,2-6 2-331101
Looper121100
Umpires--Home, Larry Young; First, Angel Hernandez; Second, Mark Wegner; Third, Mike Everitt. T--2:55. A--40,660.
Braves 9, Giants 3
ATLANTA -- Paul Byrd allowed one run in six innings and hit a pair of run-scoring singles off Jason Schmidt, leading the Braves.
Rafael Furcal had four hits and four RBIs for the Braves, who have won six straight. They moved a season-high 22 games over .500 and improved to 15-1-3 in their past 19 series.
The two hits and two RBIs were career highs for Byrd.
Barry Bonds went 1-for-3 with an infield single, a day after hitting his 694th homer.
SAN FRANATLANTA
abrhbiabrhbi
Drham 2b4110Furcal ss5144
Ardsm p0000NGreen 3b0000
Przyns ph1000MGiles 2b5020
Tucker cf3000JDrew cf5010
Alfonzo 3b3111CJones 3b5000
Bonds lf3010Colon p0000
Mohr lf1000JuCruz p0000
Snow 1b3110JEstda c4122
Ledee rf4011Lroche 1b5010
DCruz ss3001Mrrero rf3210
Trralba c4010Thmas lf2421
Schmdt p1000Byrd p2122
WFrkln p0000Alfnsca p0000
Rnsom 2b2000DeRosa ss1000
Totals32363Totals379159
San Francisco001000020--3
Atlanta02041020x--9
LOB--San Francisco 9, Atlanta 12. 2B--Durham (13), Laroche (18), Thomas (8). 3B--Thomas (3). SB--Furcal (21), MGiles (12). S--Byrd. SF--DCruz.
IPHRERBBSO
San Francisco
Schmidt L,15-53 2-3106628
WFranklin2 1-311103
Aardsma242231
Atlanta
Byrd W,5-4641131
Alfonseca100000
Colon122211
JuCruz100012
HBP--by Aardsma (Thomas), by WFranklin (Thomas), by Byrd (Alfonzo). WP--Schmidt. Umpires--Home, Jerry Meals; First, Paul Schrieber; Second, Jerry Layne; Third, Ed Montague. T--3:06. A--42,549.
Astros 7, Cubs 6
CHICAGO -- Roger Clemens pitched six innings for his 324th victory and the Astros made the most of three Chicago errors.
Clemens (14-4) allowed five runs and eight hits on a cool, windy day at Wrigley Field as Houston won for the 10th time in 13 games. Staked to an early 5-0 lead, Clemens tied Don Sutton and Nolan Ryan for 12th place on the career wins list.
Brad Lidge struck out two in the eighth to stop a Chicago rally attempt and finished for his 18th save in 21 chances. With a man on first in the ninth, Michael Barrett hit a hard liner down the third-base line, and Mike Lamb made a diving catch on the line to end the game.
Houston pulled within five games of Chicago, which holds a one-game lead over San Francisco in the NL wild-card race.
HOUSTONCHICAGO
abrhbiabrhbi
Biggio lf3210CPttson cf5110
CBeltrn cf2310DeLee 1b4000
Bgwell 1b5032TWalkr 2b5011
Brkmn rf4000Alou lf3111
JKent 2b3000SSosa rf5110
Lidge p0000ARmrz 3b4131
Lamb 3b5110Rmlngr p0000
JVzcno ss5011Grdzln ph0000
Asmus c5130Barrett c5120
Clmens p3000REMtiz ss4011
Lane ph0000Zmbrno p1100
Springer p0000Dmpstr p0000
Qualls p0000Macias ph1001
Brntlett ss1000Rusch p0000
Grcprr ss1011
Totals367103Totals386116
Houston140002000--7
Chicago002003010--6
E--JVizcaino (6), ARamirez (9), Barrett (6), Zambrano (1). LOB--Houston 11, Chicago 10. 2B--Bagwell (24), Lamb (9), Ausmus (13), Barrett (25). SB--Biggio (6). CS--Ausmus (2). S--Lane. SF--Alou.
IPHRERBBSO
Houston
Clemens W,14-4685515
Springer100010
Qualls1-331100
Lidge S,181 2-300023
Chicago
Zmbrno L,12-85 2-377364
Dempster1-300011
Rusch220012
Remlinger110001
Umpires--Home, Eric Cooper; First, Chuck Meriwether; Second, Mike Reilly; Third, C.B. Bucknor. T--3:19. A--39,081.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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