Weaver pitches well but Mets win

In a scary reminder of 2003, Jeff Weaver pitched well enough to win but the Dodger hitters didn't hit well enough. Weaver gutted out some real trouble spots but the Dodgers never got the big hit when it was needed and dropped a 6-1 decision and the series -- the first at home -- to the Mets in front of 32,067 disappointed fans. Weaver has received an average of only 3.2 runs of support in his first five starts

More important than the loss, center fielder Milton Bradley left the game for a defensive replacement in the seventh inning after he aggravated the left ankle he sprained last week in Colorado.

Mets pitcher Jae Seo had allowed 11 earned runs in 15 innings this season, and during spring training the Dodgers scored 12 earned runs off Seo in 7 innings. But Thursday as he held the Dodgers to one run on six hits in 6 innings.

Cesar Izturis continues to remind some of Ozzie Smith. The soft-handed shortstop had three hits but the 3-4-5 spots in the batting order went a combined 1-for-11 and the Dodgers failed to hit a home run for the first time in six games.

Weaver (1-3) worked a quality start, allowed three runs in the first two innings, but then pitched four shutout innings and looked mostly sharp overall. He allowed five hits and ended his outing by striking out Mike Piazza on a full count with the bases loaded in the seventh. Weaver walked three and struck out eight. It was the most strikeouts Weaver (1-3) had recorded since striking out nine Toronto Blue Jays in July 2002 as a member of the New York Yankees.

Again it was a former Dodger who did big damage to his old team. Karim Garcia, Baby Blue Rookie of the Year in 1993, led off the second with a single Two more one-base hits made it 1-0.

In the third, Mike Piazza walked (him again) and Garcia boomed a towering shot halfway up the right-field pavilion for a 3-0 lead.

The Dodgers finally got on the board in the fourth. After two deep shots were caught, Juan Encarnacion doubled down the right-field line. Adrian Beltré, who entered the game tied for the team lead with 18 RBI, hit a sharp single to left and Encarnacion easily beat the poor throw to the plate.

Wilson Alvarez, who hadn't pitched for six days, had his first bad outing of the season, allowing two runs in the eighth and a single run in the ninth. His ERA jumped from 0.75 to 2.57.

With the loss, the Dodgers (13-8), are percentage points ahead of San Diego (14-9) for first place in the National League West heading into a three-game weekend series against Montreal.

Dodger Blue Notes--Eric Gagné was available Thursday, one night after staying in a game despite taking a line drive off his right thigh. He came back to convert his major league-record 69th consecutive save opportunity dating to August 2002. He announced himself ready to pitch if needed Thursday night. ... Darren Dreifort was unavailable out of the bullpen having thrown the two previous nights. ... Beltré entered Thursday night's game with seven home runs. In four previous Aprils he hit a total of nine home runs. April has historically has been one of Beltré's best months. Coming into this season his career April average was .286, trailing only the .293 of August. ... Tonight's starter, Kazuhisa Ishii, pitched his first major-league shutout and complete game in his last start, Sunday against San Francisco, after three previous uneven performances. Pitching coach Jim Colborn said he believed Ishii could maintain that level of success for the entire season.

Special Note--As a special bonus, a 2004 Dodgers Blue Book/Baby Blue combination, A $12.00 value, will be sent to every subscriber who signs up for a full year on the ladugout web site. This offer is good only while supplies last.