LOS ANGELES (AP)—As Eric Gagne limped into the dugout after being struck on the leg by a line drive in the eighth inning, Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy was certain the Dodgers’ Cy Young closer would go back out for the ninth.
Gagne, a former youth hockey player in his native Montreal, did go back out, and he earned the save in the Dodgers’ 3-2 victory over the New York Mets on Wednesday night.
The save was his sixth of the season and 69th in a row dating to Aug. 28, 2002.
“Hockey players don’t really come out of games unless you have to take them in the back and stitch them up,” Tracy said, smiling.
Gagne, who chased the ball down after Jason Phillips’ liner struck him and threw Phillips out at first to end the eighth, said he wasn’t worried a bit about the bruise on his right quadriceps muscle, saying, “Hey, it’s meat.”
He even appreciated the fact that the ball hit him, since the potential tying run was on second.
“If it didn’t hit me, it’s a run,” he said.
And it would’ve been the end of his major league-record string of consecutive saves.
Mets manager Art Howe obviously wished the ball hadn’t struck the Dodgers pitcher.
“We got an unfortunate break with the line drive off Gagne’s leg. I mean, if that ball goes through, we’ve got a tie ballgame, and who knows? He just got in the way of it,” Howe said.
Gagne gave up consecutive two-out singles in the ninth before getting Mike Cameron to foul out on an 0-2 pitch.
Dave Roberts hit a two-run homer, Adrian Beltre added a solo shot, and Milton Bradley robbed Cameron of a home run leading off the sixth inning. Bradley leaped high, extended his glove about 1 1/2 feet over the fence in left-center and snared the ball.
Los Angeles pitcher Odalis Perez said `Wow!’ on the mound and clapped his left hand against his glove.
Cameron, a two-time Gold Glove center fielder who’s made similar catches himself, said, “I never had that happen to me before. It’s a bad feeling. As you could see, it was clearly going to be a home run.
“It happens sometimes, but I never expected it to happen to me. I guess the baseball gods are paying me back right now.”
Perez (2-1) allowed seven hits and walked two in six innings, but held New York to two runs—including Kazuo Matsui’s homer leading off the first inning.
The Mets’ Mike Piazza, who tied Carlton Fisk atop the all-time list for homers by a catcher when he hit his 351st home run—he has 362 overall—the previous night, singled twice, walked and grounded out in his four plate appearances.
Beltre drove a 2-2 pitch from Steve Trachsel over the fence in right-center for his seventh homer of the season, giving the Dodgers a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning.
The Mets closed to 3-2 on Phillips’ bases-loaded sacrifice fly later in the inning.
Trachsel (2-3) gave up three runs and five hits in six innings. He walkedthree and struck out one.
Los Angeles SS Cesar Izturis went 0-for-4, ending his career-high 14-game hitting streak. … The start was the 100th of his career for Perez, who is in his sixth season and has a 40-38 record. … Gagne, the 2003 Cy Young winner, received another award in a pregame ceremony—last year’s NL outstanding pitcher as voted by his peers in the league. … Roberts is off to a 14-for-14 start in steals this season. … Los Angeles is 7-0 in one-rungames this year.