Mets 7, Diamondbacks 1

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NEW YORK (AP)—The makeshift Mets boosted New York to a 7-1 victory over Arizona on Saturday and manager Willie Randolph knew all along that they could do it.

With his lineup depleted by injuries, Randolph is starting bench players these days and they delivered, ending the Diamondbacks’ eight-game winning streak.

Ruben Gotay had three hits including a three-run homer and David Newhan and Ramon Castro contributed key hits to back another strong pitching effort by journeyman Jorge Sosa (5-1).

“It was a great job by the bench,” Randolph said. “They come to play every day. They’re part of this team, part of what we do.”

Newhan has been on teams where that wasn’t always the case.

“Sometimes, you wonder if they know you’re still there,” Newhan said. “Willie does a good job keeping all 25 guys involved. We’re here for a reason. I come here every day expecting to play. You’ve got to stay ready. That’s why we’re here.”

“We’re here for a reason,” said Castro, replacing regular catcher Paul Lo Duca in a day game after a night game. “We’re good. Put me in and I do my best.”

Gotay’s best was plenty good. He singled in the middle of a three-run rally in the fourth after Carlos Delgado opened the inning with his 415th career home run. Then in the seventh, he broke the game open with a three-run homer.

“It’s tough,” he said of his backup role. “I come here to play every day. If I play, I’ll be ready.”

Sosa has been a boost to the pitching staff since being recalled from Triple-A New Orleans. He limited the Diamondbacks to five hits in 6 2-3 innings to earn the victory. It was the fifth time in six starts that Sosa has allowed two runs or fewer and the fourth time he has pitched at least six innings.

A year ago, he was 3-11 with Atlanta and St. Louis.

“His command is better,” Randolph said. “He’s spotting his fastball, throwing all his pitches for strikes when he’s behind in the count. He’s been able to execute pitches when he has to.”

Sosa, speaking through a translator, said he has changed his approach. “It’s not how hard you throw,” he said. “It’s location.”

Eric Byrnes, who homered off Sosa in the third, was impressed with the Mets starter.

“He throws sliders about 60 percent of the time, which is rare, and he obviously had a good one. He’s been throwing strikes. That’s the big difference. He always had the stuff, but it’s amazing what throwing strikes will do for a pitcher’s performance.”

Arizona took the lead in the third when Byrnes lined the first pitch from Sosa into the Diamondbacks’ bullpen for his 10th home run of the season. It extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

Delgado tied it in the fourth when he hit a 3-2 pitch into the right-field bullpen for his eighth home run of the season against Livan Hernandez (5-3).

Hernandez, who threw 120 pitches over six innings, said “I didn’t feel too good today. I threw too many pitches. My shoulder is sore and my neck is killing me. It was a tough day.”

Delgado’s homer touched off a five-hit Mets rally. Castro, Gotay and Newhan followed with consecutive singles giving New York a 2-1 lead and Ben Johnson delivered a sacrifice fly for a 3-1 Mets lead.

Sosa pitched into the seventh, striking out five and walking one. After he walked Miguel Montero with two outs in the seventh, he was lifted and reliever Joe Smith struck out pinch hitter Alberto Callaspo to end the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, David Wright, returning to the lineup after missing a game with back spasms, walked and Delgado doubled into the left-field corner. Then, with two outs, Gotay tagged reliever Juan Cruz for his second homer of the season.

“We’ve been playing well,” Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. “You’re going to have a game like this every once in a while. I guess what we do now is try to start another one tomorrow.”

Notes

Wright’s first-inning steal was his 11th of the season. … Delgado’s homer gave him 40th place on the career list. … Sosa struck out cleanup hitter Mark Reynolds three times.

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