LOS ANGELES (WFAN/AP) — Jason Bay’s bat is coming around for the Mets, who have been waiting a long time to see him regain his power stroke.
The three-time All-Star homered twice and drove in four runs, leading the Mets to a 6-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Bay, who missed the final two months last season with a concussion after running into the outfield fence at Dodger Stadium, is hitting .347 with 17 RBIs over his last 18 games.
“I try not to get too high or too low. At times, it’s easier said than done, but I’m happy lately with the way things have been going,” Bay said. “A lot of it is a confidence thing and a preparedness thing.”
Bay made it 3-0 with a leadoff homer in the sixth against Ted Lilly and broke the game open in the eighth with his sixth of the season, a three-run shot off Blake Hawksworth. It was his first multihomer game since June 28, 2010, at Florida, when he went deep twice against Ricky Nolasco.
“I’m having a little bit more fun now, and I think that helps,” Bay said. “I missed the first 20 games or so, then I came back and I had a couple of good games. Then things went south from there and I felt like I was digging a hole for myself, trying to work on stuff. But it wasn’t working. I finally got to a point about three weeks ago where we had a few things that clicked, and I got to build off that.”
“I feel like I am getting there,” Bay added. “I feel like I’m being more of a hitter than a swinger.”
Carlos Beltran also went deep and Mike Pelfrey (5-7) stranded seven runners in scoring position through six gritty innings. The right-hander, who came in having beaten every NL team except the Dodgers, scattered five hits and escaped bases-loaded jams in the fourth and fifth. He won on the road for the first time since May 10 at Colorado, his only other victory away from home this season in nine decisions.
Ted Lilly (5-9) gave up three runs and six hits in six innings after getting an extra day’s rest because of a tender elbow. The 35-year-old left-hander is 0-4 with an 8.71 ERA over his last four starts and has allowed a team-high 18 home runs. The loss put the Dodgers 13 games under .500 (37-50) for the first time since finishing the 2005 season 71-91.
First-time All-Star Matt Kemp helped quash a Dodgers rally with his baserunning in the fifth after leading off the inning with a single. One out later, Juan Uribe doubled toward the right-field line and Kemp coasted into third. But when Beltran’s relay went to second base instead of home, third base coach Tim Wallach sent Kemp to the plate. He was thrown out by shortstop Ruben Tejada, starting his third straight game because of Jose Reyes’ sore left hamstring.
“I was sending him. It was a high throw to second and I was trying to make something happen. I almost did,” Wallach said. “If the shortstop doesn’t catch it and pick him up right away, he scores easily. We’ve been trying to be aggressive as much as possible, and I think that was a good spot for it. Matt slowed a little bit, but he did that more to take a peek behind him. So we were on the same page.”
The Mets capitalized on their good fortune their next time up and grabbed a 2-0 lead. Angel Pagan singled and was at third base with two outs when Beltran drove his 13th homer into the pavilion seats in left-center on the first pitch. The Mets have scored 162 runs with two outs, second-most in the majors behind Boston’s 166.
LISTEN: Angel Pagan talks Mets’ victory with Ed Coleman
It was the third straight game in which a Dodgers starting pitcher took a shutout into the fifth inning and came away with a loss.
Los Angeles stranded a runner at third base in the second, then stranded two more in scoring position in the third. In the fifth, the Dodgers loaded the bases again after Pelfrey retired the first two batters. But Uribe lined out to center field, lowering the team’s average in bases-loaded situations to .179 (14 for 78).
“In those situations, they hit balls right at guys and allowed me to work out of it. Uribe hit that ball 120 mph right to the center fielder,” Pelfrey said. “Early in the game I had good command, and then I kind of lost it. But in the last inning I was able to find it again.”
Mets reliever Pedro Beato added to the Dodgers’ collective frustration in the seventh, slipping a called third strike past Kemp after a two-out triple by Aaron Miles.
Beltran turned in the defensive gem of the game, robbing Rafael Furcal of extra bases with a diving, backhanded catch in the alley.
NOTES: It was the second time in Pelfrey’s last 13 starts that he didn’t allow a home run. … Miles left the game with a bruised right elbow after getting hit by a pitch. … Reyes didn’t do any running Tuesday, but took part in some baseball drills and took batting practice from the right side. He also did some treadmill work and rode a stationary bike. “It’s better than yesterday, but it’s still not quite what it needs to be,” said Reyes, who has a major league-best .354 average and is scheduled to start in next Tuesday’s All-Star game. “I don’t want to push anything. We need to see how it’s going to feel in the next few days and we’ll decide what we’re going to do.” … Dodgers RHP Jon Garland, sidelined since June 2 because of shoulder problems, is scheduled to undergo season-ending exploratory surgery Monday. … Dodgers RF Andre Ethier didn’t play because of a high temperature. … Kemp was chosen to participate in the All-Star Home Run Derby.
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