Tracy Wins 400th Game as Dodgers Top Mets 6-5

NEW YORK, New York-- The Dodgers won their third game in a row, beating the Mets 6-5 and handing manager Jim Tracy his 400th major league win at Shea Stadium to pull within 5 1/2 games of struggling San Diego. Jeff Weaver was staked to a 6-0 lead, then gave most of it back with a pair of home runs before he was saved by a strong effort by the bullpen and sparkling defensive play at first base by Hee-Seop Choi.

Jeff Kent's 17th home run provided the first run in the third inning. He later added a double. Jayson Werth singled twice and scored a run in addition to stealing a pair of bases. Weaver (8-8) knocked in a run himself as did Choi and Jason Phillips.

But a two-run homer in the fifth and a three run shot in the sixth gave the Mets new life and gave Weaver the rest of the evening off.

Duaner Sanchez allowed two hits but no runs in the seventh, Wilson Alvarez and Steve Schmoll worked a scoreless eighth, and Yhency Brazoban notched his 18th save with a spotless ninth, setting a team record for saves in a season by a rookie.

The most significant milestone belonged to Tracy, who is 400-344 (.538) since becoming manager in 2001. Even though his winning percentage has taken a beating lately, it is better than all but five Dodger managers — William McGunnigle (.667), Charlie Dressen (.637), Burt Shotton (.598), Leo Durocher (.560) and Walter Alston (.558).

Tracy ranks sixth in victories behind Alston, Tom Lasorda, Wilbert Robinson, Durocher and Ned Hanlon -- all Hall of Fame managers. He credited his coaches and players with enabling him to reach the milestone.

"I'd like to think I'll have a lot more," he said. "When I started there was a lot of sentiment that someone else would be sitting in this chair before I got to 50."

The Dodgers had 15 hits, including two doubles by Choi, a double and two singles by Ricky Ledee and two singles, two RBI and two stolen bases by Jayson Werth.

Fiery Milton Bradley, who has been out since May 29 because of a torn ligament in his right ring finger, is apparently in mid-season form, hitting the ball hard, fielding well and getting ejected for arguing a third strike on a rehab start with Las Vegas. \

And boy does the team need him.

The Dodgers were 26-23 when he was injured and are 18-29 since. Bradley's big bat back in the middle of the lineup will make quite a difference.

The Dodgers decided to activate him for the Saturday game in Shea Stadium and Bradley quickly drove from Colorado Springs -- where the Las Vegas team was staying -- to Denver and catch a redeye flight to New York.

Dodger Blue Notes-- Hee-Seop Choi has never been a candidate for a gold glove, as the Dodger pitching staff can attest to. Some weeks ago the big first baseman asked coach Glenn Hoffman for some help with his glove. Hoffman taught him to dive for balls by putting him on his knees at first base and Friday night in New York he made four sparkling plays included three to his backhand side, one that saved a run, and an ESPN highlight stop of a sizzling shot of a potential double which he fed Yhency Brazoban to end the game. Weaver asked him if he had a new glove. …The third-place Dodgers (44-52), who have won three in a row for the first time since June 4-6, moved within 5 1/2 games of division-leading San Diego. The Padres are just three games above .500. …Brazoban took sole possession of the Dodgers' rookie save record Friday night, pitching a perfect ninth inning. He broke Steve Howe's 25-year-old record with his 18th save. …The Dodgers are carrying 12 pitchers, but the most logical roster move to make room for Bradley will be to send outfielder Chin-Feng Chen back to the minors, although he is out of options and would have to clear waivers. Chen entered Friday with just eight at-bats since his contract was purchased from Las Vegas on July 4. …Brad Penny is appealing his five-game suspension and $2,000 fine for charging and arguing with home plate umpire Rob Drake after being ejected on July 14. Penny might want to take Tracy to argue his case. … Jose Valentin missed the second game of his injury rehab because of a tender biceps tendon in his throwing arm. …Left-hander Derek Thompson, who had a 3.50 ERA in four games (three starts) in late May and June after being promoted from Double-A, was told by Dr. Frank Jobe that he has a torn elbow ligament and needs Tommy John surgery, which will end his season. The news is particularly disappointing to Thompson, who was acquired after the 2002 Rule 5 Draft and missed the entire 2003 season with a similar injury. At that time, the decision was made to repair a partial tear instead of transplant a new ligament. …Rookie D.J. Houlton draws former Dodgers hurler Pedro Martinez on Saturday. Because of the All-Star break and days off, Houlton hasn't started since July 8 and hasn't pitched since taking a loss with a four-inning relief outing on July 14 when Penny was ejected.