NEW YORK (AP) — In a game between teams short on cash, Jason Pridie came up with the money hit.
Pridie’s three-run homer in the sixth inning overcame another big night by Andre Ethier and carried the New York Mets past the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-3 Friday in the opener of a weekend series between baseball’s most financially troubled teams.
Pridie, a 27-year-old with just four big league at-bats before this year, came up with the Mets trailing 3-2. The Dodgers’ Don Mattingly, managing for the first time in the city where he starred for the Yankees, had ordered an intentional walk to Ike Davis, who homered leading off the second.
Pridie turned on an 0-1 splitter from Hiroki Kuroda (3-3) that drifted over the middle of the plate and sent it bouncing off a bullpen roof in right-center.
“I’m not insulted, obviously,” Pridie said. “I know when you’ve got Ike Davis at the plate and you see Jason Pridie behind him, you’re probably going to want to pitch to Jason Pridie. But after I saw him walking, I sort of got into that competitive mode and really said to myself, ‘I’m doing this. I’m getting a hit right here,’ and really kind of locked in. It spurs a little emotion there.”
Pridie hit his first career home run April 24 against Arizona — also a three-run drive. Taking advantage of playing time while Angel Pagan is on the disabled list, Pridie has three homers and eight RBIs in 37 at-bats to go along with a .243 average since he came up from the minors on April 22.
Jason Bay added an RBI single in the seventh against Blake Hawksworth following another intentional walk, this time to Carlos Beltran.
“You don’t view it as disrespect. It’s part of the game,” Bay said. “But I think the gratification after that is a little sweeter.”
The Mets had not had four RBIs following intentional walks since July 27, 2009, when Fernando Tatis hit a grand slam after Colorado walked Jeff Francoeur, according to STATS LLC.
“You always think you’re an idiot when you walk Davis there and get to him, and he does that,” Mattingly said. “Kind of your last thought is a three-run homer there, again, especially in this ballpark. There were some balls that were crushed that didn’t go out tonight.”
Jose Reyes tripled twice in a game for the second time this season and then doubled in the ninth as the Mets won for the third time in eight games following a six-game winning streak. Ryota Igarashi (2-0) got one out for the win. A day after throwing 42 pitches, Francisco Rodriguez got his eighth save in nine chances — even though manager Terry Collins said he likely would be unavailable.
Ethier extended his hitting streak to 30 games but the reeling Dodgers (15-18) lost for the fifth time in six games and matched their season low of three games under .500 (6-9).
Once prosperous powers, Los Angeles and New York have become baseball’s prime paupers. The Dodgers needed a $30 million loan from Fox, their television partner, earlier this year and may not have enough cash to make payroll at the end of the month. Its owners being sued by the trustee recovering money from the Bernard Madoff Ponzi scheme, the Mets borrowed $25 million from Major League Baseball during the offseason and are seeking to sell a minority interest in the franchise.
The Mets are without a World Series title since 1986 and the Dodgers since 1988. Commissioner Bud Selig has appointed a monitor who must approve any expenditure by Los Angeles of $5,000 or more and Selig may attempt to force a sale of the team.
“To say it’s none of our business wouldn’t be accurate. It is our business,” Ethier said. “But it’s something where it’s out of our hands and out of our control. It’s really had no decision or no bearing on what we do or what we say or how we play. It’s between Major League Baseball and the owner.”
Ethier singled on a 3-0 pitch in the first inning, lining the ball to center to become the first major league player with a 30-game hitting streak since Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman from April 8 to May 12, 2009. The 29-year-old Ethier was scratched from the starting lineup Wednesday because of an inflamed left elbow.
Ethier has the 45th single-season streak of 30 or more games, the 38th from 1900 on. He is one game shy of the Dodgers record, set by Willie Davis in 1969. Ethier went 3 for 5 and is hitting .397 (46 for 116) during the streak.
“I’m not really thinking about it other than for the fact there’s been a lot of support from the teammates, from fans at home,” Ethier said. “I’ve even had fans on the road cheering me on. It’s like: `I want you to get a hit, but don’t do too much. Just get one, and have it in a non-key spot.’ You don’t want to let them down when they’re cheering for you like that.”
NOTES: Chris Cannizzaro, a 10-year-old from Staten Island who met President Obama on Thursday, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. His father, Brian, was a New York City firefighter who died on 9/11. … Reyes, who leads the majors with six triples, hit another three-bagger with two outs in the fifth. It was Reyes’ second two-triple game this year and the sixth of his career.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)