NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — After squandering late leads in each of the previous two games, the San Diego Padres were determined not to let it happen again.
Will Venable sparked San Diego’s surging offense with four hits from the leadoff spot and the Padres’ proud bullpen rebounded from consecutive flops, finally holding off the New York Mets in a 9-5 victory Wednesday night.
“It was a shocker and we were just like, there’s no way how it’s going to happen three nights in a row,” All-Star closer Heath Bell said. “We kind of figure we have to be really good. We’ve got to be on our A game or we’re not going to win.”
This one didn’t come easy, though.
An error by second baseman Logan Forsythe allowed the Mets to cut the deficit to four in the ninth inning. With the bases loaded, Forsythe then made a leaping grab of Willie Harris’ line drive for the final out.
“It’s nice to get another shot at it, especially to help Heath out,” Forsythe said. “I wanted the ball again because I wanted to redeem myself. Because I’d be a lot more frustrated right now if that would have hurt us.”
Aaron Harang (11-3) won his second straight start despite giving up at least 10 hits in each outing. Cameron Maybin had two RBIs and the Padres built a cushion with a three-run ninth.
Venable scored three times. He tripled, singled and doubled twice for the Padres, who rank at or near the bottom of the National League in nearly every major offensive category. But they have 56 runs in their last six games, going 4-2 during that stretch.
“It’s been great. I mean, I think it’s something that slowly started a while ago,” Venable said. “It’s disappointing sometimes as an offensive player not to give the pitchers the support that they deserve offensively, and to be able to get that started a little bit is nice and hopefully we can all just keep rolling.”
Josh Thole had four of New York’s 15 hits. Ruben Tejada added three hits and a spectacular play at shortstop for the Mets, who stranded 13 runners in a shoddy performance.
New York knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (5-11) retired his final 11 batters but lost his third straight start.
“Just a real sloppy game for us, collectively,” he said. “And I need to own up myself. I made a poor throw in the second that led to two runs and I had an opportunity to drive in a run with the bases loaded and nobody out and I didn’t get that done. So, look no further than this locker right here because I could have left that game very easily winning.”
Center fielder Angel Pagan left with lower back spasms, further depleting New York’s injury-riddled lineup.
“Nothing severe. Probably a day or so,” manager Terry Collins said.
The last-place Padres arrived in New York with a four-game winning streak and the best bullpen ERA in the majors. But they blew two games in a row after leading by at least two runs in the eighth inning.
The Mets tried to rally again Wednesday, trimming it to 6-4 in the eighth on a pinch-hit single by Harris. Luke Gregerson, however, got out of the inning on Justin Turner’s double-play grounder.
Bell, who blew a save Monday night, worked a shaky ninth.
“No matter what happens the night before,” Venable said, “we have all the confidence in the world in those guys that have been doing their job all year long. They’re the backbone of the team.”
Venable doubled off Bobby Parnell in the top of the ninth and scored on a single by Jesus Guzman, who later stole home as part of a double steal. Maybin also had an RBI groundout.
“We had some lapses on the mental side, which can’t happen here,” Collins said.
New York began chipping away with Dickey’s run-scoring single in the fourth, but left fielder Kyle Blanks threw out Tejada at the plate for an inning-ending double play.
Curiously, Tejada went in standing up as he tried to score on pinch-hitter Jason Pridie’s flyout.
“That’s just not accepted, I don’t care what level you’re at,” Collins said. “I asked him, ‘Why didn’t you slide?’ He just didn’t know. He said he saw the catcher come off the plate and thought he could score. It was just a mistake there. And they come back at this level to hurt you.”
David Wright doubled for the Mets, tying Ed Kranepool’s franchise record with 2,047 total bases.
Tejada, filling in at shortstop for injured Jose Reyes, turned in a jaw-dropping play to end the sixth. Tejada went into the hole to backhand a grounder and quickly released a rocket of a jump-throw in mid air, easily getting Luis Martinez at first.
“He had plenty on the throw. You don’t see that play that often when you throw the guy out by 10 feet,” Wright said.
NOTES: Padres manager Bud Black said it’s possible C Nick Hundley (right elbow surgery) will rejoin the team this weekend in Cincinnati. … Padres LHP Wade LeBlanc is scheduled to start again Sunday against the Reds. … San Diego 2B Orlando Hudson sat out after leaving Tuesday night’s loss with a strained right groin. … Padres 3B James Darnell singled in the ninth for his first big league hit. … Venable matched his career high for hits, as did Thole. … San Diego LHP Cory Luebke faces 11-game winner Jonathon Niese in the finale of the four-game series Thursday, a 12:10 p.m. start.
(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)