Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito performed their magic over the final three innings and the result was an important victory that, hopefully, reversed the recent slide.
Manager Grady Little pointed out, "What we saw in nine innings yesterday and the first two innings tonight were 11 innings of the worst baseball we've seen all season long, so to do what we were able to do was admirable."
Wolf finally found his rhythm despite working with a sore ankle from a ground ball off the bat of Carlos Beltran, and won his eighth victory to tie for the league lead. After the game, X-rays of the swollen ankle were negative.
Luis Gonzalez, who may have misplaced his home run swing but who has steadily moved up the all-time doubles list, whacked a pair of two-basers to pass hitting coach Eddie Murray for 19th on the all-time list with 561, scored twice and drove in a run. In his last five games, Gonzalez is 8-for-19 with two homers, six doubles and seven RBIs.
Rookie first baseman James Loney, replacing a tired Nomar Garciaparra for a second game in succession, doubled in the tie-breaking run in the sixth inning. Loney has had an RBIs in each of the two games hes played since being promoted from Triple-A.
Russell Martin, Andre Ethier and Wilson Betemit also drove in runs. Martin also stole his 11th base, one more than last year, moving within one of the Los Angeles record for catchers held by John Roseboro.
The bullpen was perfect over the final three innings, Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton set up Takashi Saito, who started a new streak with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. Counting Wolf's final inning, Dodgers pitchers retired the final 12 Mets batters.
Wolf said his problems the first two innings were primarily with his off-speed pitches, but he was able to adjust the second time through the lineup to boost his career record to 9-5 against the Mets.
Gonzalez's first double drove in Russell Martin. The rally began with a rare walk by Juan Pierre, just his 10th in 280 plate appearances. Andre Ethier then drove in Gonzalez with an RBI single to left, tying the score and slicing what had been a 3-0 Mets lead to 3-2.
Gonzalez lined his second double leading off the sixth and one out later Loney banged a shot off the left field wall to score Gonzo with the eventual winning run.
Loney went to third when the center fielder mismisplayed the ball for an error, but then was tagged out by catcher Paul Lo Duca while trying to score on Tony Abreu's suicide squeeze attempt.
The wild sequence contined when Lo Duca tried to double up Abreu at first, and threw the ball into the outfield, with Abreu moving to third on the error. Pinch-hitter Wilson Betemit drove him in with an RBI single to complete the scoring, moving the Dodgers within a game of idle Arizona and San Diego for first place in the National League West.
With days off Thursday and next Monday, Little said he would juggle his starting pitchers so left-handers Randy Wolf and Hong-Chih Kuo would not pitch back-to-back. However, tonight Kuo (0-1, 4.85) will face John Maine (6-3, 2.78) in the second game of the series.
Score by innings New York 200 100 000-3 Los Angeles 000 302 00x-5 Los Angeles ab r h bi ave Furcal ss 4 0 0 0 .286 Pierre cf 2 1 1 0 .273 Martin c 4 1 1 1 .298 Kent 2b 3 0 0 0 .261 Gonzalez lf 4 2 2 1 .297 Kemp rf 0 0 0 0 .381 Ethier rf-lf 4 0 1 1 .263 Loney 1b 4 0 1 1 .250 Abreu 3b 4 1 0 0 .262 Wolf p 2 0 1 0 .120 Betemit ph 1 0 1 1 .200 Billingsley p 0 0 0 0 .000 Broxton p 0 0 0 0 .000 Saito p 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 32 5 8 5 New York 35 3 9 3 Error- Martin (6). 2B- Gonzalez 2 (14), Loney (1). RBI- Martin (41), Gonzalez (27), Ethier (28), Loney (2). SB- Pierre (20), Martin (11). LOB- Los angeles 6, New York 6. Los Angeles in h r-er bb so era Wolf (8-4) 6.0 9 3-3 0 3 4.08 Billingsley 1.0 0 0-0 0 0 3.27 Broxton 1.0 0 0-0 0 2 3.98 Saito (sv 17) 1.0 0 0-0 0 2 1.73 PB- Martin (4). WP- Wolf. T- 2:59. Att- 40,487.Martin Tops All-Star Ballot-- Russell Martin has overcome a huge deficit in All-Star votes to take over the top spot at the National League catcher position, 13,000 ahead of Paul Lo Duca. Just two weeks ago, Martin was in fourth place, more than 140,000 votes behind the Mets' catcher. Martin, who tied his career high with his 10th stolen base of the season, leads all NL catchers in RBI (40), hits (63), on-base percentage (.377), slugging percentage (.488) and runs scored (39) and ranks second among all NL catchers with seven homers and a .307 batting average. He has also thrown out 33 percent of runners trying to steal against him (16 of 48) and his 3.59 catcher's ERA is third-best in the NL. Praise came from the Dodgers' previous All-Star catcher and current Met, Paul Lo Duca. "He's done everything right. I wasn't as talented as Russell at his age, I didn't have the catching skills," said Lo Duca, who reached the Major Leagues at age 26, compared to 23 for Martin. "He's so polished behind the plate. Pitchers are comfortable throwing to him, he understands the game and he's an unbelievable offensive player. I just told him to get his rest, take your days off. He reminds me of myself, he doesn't want to take time off, neither did I. You get older, you realize it pays off."
Dodger Blue Notes-- Chin-hui Tsao threw in the outfield Monday and was pleased to report the discomfort in his shoulder was gone. Yhency Brazoban, also disabled with shoulder problems, will have a bullpen session Tuesday. ...Scouting director Tim Hallgren reported that seven of last week's picks in the First-Year Player Draft had either signed or agreed to terms. They are Erik Kanaby (10th round), Paul Koss (11th), Jessie Mier (12th), Bobby Blevins (13th), Cal Stanke (15th), Andres Santiago (16th) and Franklin Jacobs (17th). He was confident the club's first five choices would soon agree. That would include first-rounder Chris Withrow, who will receive a bonus of about $1.35 million. The highest pick that figures to be a difficult sign is fifth-round pitcher Kyle Blair. ...Reliever Rudy Seanez fired a scoreless ninth inning yesterday and continues to give the Dodgers quality innings in his 16th Major League season. Seanez has posted a 3-1 record and 1.88 ERA (5 ER/24.0 IP) in 20 games since April 19, the best ERA among all Dodger relievers during that span. The right-hander has fanned 23 and walked just five in that stretch. ...The average age of the team is now 30.0, with nine players age 25 or younger – Tony Abreu (22), Chad Billingsley (22), Jonathan Broxton (22), Matt Kemp (22), James Loney (23), Russell Martin (24), Hong-Chih Kuo (25), Wilson Betemit (25) and Andre Ethier (25). With yesterday's promotion of James Loney, seven members of Double-A Jacksonville's 2005 team are currently on the big league club – Loney, Russell Martin, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton and Matt Kemp were part of a group of prospects, dubbed the "Jacksonville Five," which also included third baseman Andy LaRoche, who made his Major League debut this season. Tony Abreu also appeared in 24 games and Hong-Chih Kuo pitched in 17 games for the Suns that season. ...The Dodgers are 25-4 when scoring first this season, the best winning percentage in baseball (.862) ahead of the Padres (.828), according to STATS, LLC. ...The Dodgers are 15-7 in one-run games this season, the best winning percentage in the Major Leagues (.682). Arizona (.680) ranks second while the Mets are third at .667. ...Pitcher Yhency Brazoban, who is on the 15-day disabled list, is expected to throw his first bullpen session today in his return from a strained right shoulder. Brazoban turns 27 today and shares his birthday with fellow Dominican and current Mets' shortstop, Jose Reyes. ...Luis Gonzalez doubled twice yesterday to give him 559 for his career, the third-most among active players behind Craig Biggio and Barry Bonds and 20th all-time, one behind Dodger hitting coach Eddie Murray. Gonzalez hit his 334th career homer as a left fielder on Friday night which ties him with Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner for third on the all-time home run list by a left fielder. The duo trails only Ted Williams (477) and Barry Bonds (710).