SAN DIEGO (AP)—El Duque did it all for the Mets.
“He’s a competitor,” manager Willie Randolph said. “We’re an aggressive running team, but El Duque ignites you if you’re just kind of laying back. He kind of forces you to play the game. I wasn’t surprised.”
Hernandez is the first big league pitcher to steal bases in consecutive starts since the Mets’ Tom Seaver May 17 and 22, 1967, against Atlanta and Los Angeles, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
“It’s not only the stolen bases,” Hernandez said through a translator. “Anything that you can do at the plate or steal a base that can benefit the ballclub to win a ballgame, I got to do it.”
Said Randolph: “He loves to beat you, and if you don’t pay attention to him, it’s almost insulting to him. If you leave him out to steal a base, he’ll take it. I’m sure you’ll see more and more teams holding him on.”
The Padres, shut out for just the third time this season, lost for the third time in five games.
Hernandez (6-4) held the Padres to two hits in seven innings, struck out four and walked two. San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez doubled twice, but the Padres failed to get a baserunner as far as third.
The right-hander has never lost to the Padres. He beat them in Game 2 of the 1998 World Series as a rookie with the New York Yankees, and is 3-0 in four starts against San Diego in the last two seasons.
“He just flat out knows how to pitch,” Padres leadoff batter Brian Giles said. “That was a well-pitched game.”
Hernandez’s offense was just as impressive as his pitching. He singled to left-center leading off the fifth, stole second and scored on Jose Valentin’s single up the middle. Hernandez, who stole a base on Thursday in a 3-2 win against Cincinnati, has three career stolen bases.
Carlos Beltran followed with a double that landed just inside the third-base line to bring in Valentin and make it 3-0. Lastings Milledge hit a sacrifice fly off Kevin Cameron in the eighth and Delgado hit a two-run single off former Mets reliever Royce Ring to highlight the three-run ninth.
Peavy (9-4), the NL starter in the All-Star game, has lost three straight decisions and consecutive starts for the first time this season. He allowed three runs and six hits in six innings, struck out five and walked two.
“The game was over when I gave up that run there in the fourth,” Peavy said. He added that his outing “was good enough to win, but not tonight. I got myself in trouble with the walks. I was trying not to give up more runs knowing El Duque was awfully good tonight.”
New York got its first run when Beltran walked leading off the fourth and eventually scored on Lo Duca’s single.
Lo Duca also drove in a run on a groundout in the ninth.
“I was probably trying to be too fine,” Peavy said. “I probably had to go after them a little bit more.”
The Mets stole three bases to pad their major league-leading total to 114. Jose Reyes stole his 47th, tops in the bigs. … San Diego CF Mike Cameron sat out a night after homering in a 5-1 win. Hiram Bocachica started in his place. … The Padres will unveil a statue of Tony Gwynn on Saturday night in the Park at the Park beyond the outfield wall at Petco Park. Gwynn will be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with Cal Ripken Jr. on July 29.