The Mets (86-52) have won 15 of their last 17 home games, including three games over NL Central-leading St. Louis from Aug. 22-24. New York also swept San Diego, then the NL West leaders, from Aug. 8-10.
That knocked San Diego out of first, and the Dodgers (74-65) have led the division since.
New York swept a doubleheader from Atlanta on Wednesday, winning 4-1 in the first game and 8-0 in the nightcap. The Mets are an NL-best 22-8 since Aug. 5 and trimmed their magic number for clinching their first division title in 18 years to just eight.
Recently acquired Shawn Green broke out of his slump by homering in both games. He finished the day 6-for-8 with four runs and three RBIs.
“It was a big day for us, to have the type of pitching performances we had and to put some runs up on the board,” said Green, who entered the doubleheader batting only .179 (7-for-39) since being acquired from Arizona on Aug. 22. “It was a great day all around.”
Green, who had career highs with 49 homers and 125 RBI with the Dodgers in 2001, is batting .400 (10-for-25) with three doubles in his career against Brad Penny (15-7, 3.97 ERA), Los Angeles’ starter in the series opener.
Penny leads the NL in wins, but hasn’t been overpowering in his last four outings. He’s gone 2-2 with a 7.52 ERA over that stretch, and has walked 12 in 20 1-3 innings.
He gave up five runs and nine hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 14-5 win over Colorado on Saturday, setting a new single-season high for wins.
“We hit the ball tonight,” said Penny. “They got me a seven-run lead quick, I let them back in and we built the lead back.”
The right-hander is 1-3 with a 8.57 ERA in his last four road starts, allowing six runs in three of those games.
Penny has been horrible at Shea Stadium during his career, going just 1-7 with a 6.28 ERA in nine career starts there. He is 3-9 with a 5.84 ERA in 15 career games against the Mets, his most losses against any opponent.
The Dodgers snapped a three-game skid with a 2-1 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday as Derek Lowe allowed an unearned run and three hits over eight innings.
“It was a win we needed to have,” he said. “Hopefully, this is the momentum we need to go into New York, where we all know where they stand in the division. They’re probably going to win it any day.”
Los Angeles trailed San Diego by seven games on July 27, but has gone a NL-best 27-10 since then to take a one-game lead in the division over the Padres.
Left-hander Tom Glavine (12-6, 4.13) makes his second start for the Mets since missing more than two weeks after being diagnosed with a blood clot in his pitching shoulder.
In his first start, Glavine allowed six runs and seven hits while throwing 93 pitches in five innings of a 8-7 win over the Astros on Friday. He did not factor in the decision.
“Right now my goals are simple, I just want to feel good and come out of the game feeling good and that happened tonight so that’s good,” Glavine said.
Glavine has won two Cy Young Awards and is 13 wins shy of 300 for his career, but is 19-18 with a 3.76 ERA in 47 games against the Dodgers in his 20-year career.
Glavine has won his last four starts against Los Angeles, and is 4-1 with a 4.02 ERA in five starts while with the Mets.