After having minimal success with their bats in their first visit to Dodger Stadium this year, the New York Mets more than made up for it in their first game back.
The Mets look for a second straight win one night after their best offensive effort of the season when they continue their four-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
New York (53-42) scored a total of five runs and batted .222 in getting swept in a three-game series June 11-13 in its first trip to Los Angeles since last year’s playoffs.
The Mets began this series in completely different fashion by finishing with 16 hits and posting their highest run total of the season in a 13-9 victory on Thursday. Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado and Ramon Castro all homered as New York improved to 2-2 on a seven-game road trip.
“They say it’s contagious. People start hitting and next thing you know it doesn’t matter, whoever comes up gets a hit,” Delgado said. “You try to avoid that when you’re at the receiving end, but when you’re at the giving end, you try to enjoy it as much as you can.”
New York remained 2 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta for the NL East lead. Los Angeles (54-42) fell into a virtual tie for first place with San Diego in the West.
The top three hitters in the Mets lineup each went 2-for-5, including newcomer Marlon Anderson. The veteran outfielder, who was released July 9 by the Dodgers, had his contract purchased from Triple-A New Orleans before the game.
“This is the start of my season,” Anderson said. “Anytime that you’re wanted, it makes you feel good.”
New York starter Oliver Perez (8-6, 3.13 ERA) seeks his second straight victory since the All-Star break. Perez is limiting batters to a .211 average - the second-best mark in the NL.
The left-hander yielded two runs over six innings on Sunday in a 5-2 win over Cincinnati. He struck out six for the third time in four outings in his first start since being placed on the disabled list July 3 with stiffness in his back.
“He’s got the potential to be one of the best lefties in the game,” Beltran told the Mets’ official Web site. “And he proved it today.”
Perez was hammered in two starts against the Dodgers last season, losing both and finishing with a 14.04 ERA. He’s 1-4 with a 6.91 ERA in his last five outings against them.
The Dodgers watched Derek Lowe get pounded for nine runs in three innings on Thursday, creating another long night for their bullpen. The relievers have worked at least four innings in five of their last six games.
“We know we have to be real careful with what we’re trying to do,” manager Grady Little told the team’s official Web site.
Brett Tomko (2-7, 5.88) will try to give the bullpen a bit of a break when he makes his second straight start in place of an injured Randy Wolf. He won at San Francisco on Sunday by allowing three runs - one earned - over five innings in a 5-3 victory.
It was Tomko’s first start since he was demoted to the bullpen after starting May 21, and he added a cut fastball to his repertoire in his return to the rotation.
Tomko is 4-6 with a 5.28 ERA in 13 career starts against the Mets. He pitched a scoreless inning of relief against them in a 9-1 win on June 13.