David Wells gets win in Dodgers debut as Los Angeles beats Mets 6-2

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NEW YORK (AP)—David Wells played a lot of golf and surfed after the San Diego Padres cut him earlier this month. He thought his big league career was over.

It turns Boomer may not be done after all.

Wells pitched five effective innings in his Dodgers debut and Los Angeles beat the New York Mets 6-2 on Sunday night to salvage the finale of the three-game series.

“It felt weird out there but I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Wells said. “It’s a big game, gimme the ball.”

Juan Pierre and Matt Kemp each had two hits and two RBIs for the Dodgers, who pulled within 3 1/2 games of wild card-leading San Diego. Rafael Furcal also went 3-for-4 and scored two runs.

David Wright doubled twice and drove in two runs for the NL East-leading Mets, who open up an important three-city, 10-game trip at Philadelphia on Monday night. The stretch includes four games against the Phillies, three at Atlanta and three against Cincinnati.

The Mets lead the division by six games over Philadelphia and seven over Atlanta.

Wells (6-8) allowed seven hits and two runs, walked three and struck out two in his first game in 20 days. He was 0-3 with a 14.04 ERA in his previous four starts before San Diego cut him earlier this month.

“I knew I had to stay back a lot more instead of lunging and flying open and all that kind of stuff,” Wells said. “That’s what I try to teach to others, big leaguers, minor leaguers, little leaguers, and you got to practice what you preach.”

The 44-year-old Wells became the oldest pitcher to start for the Dodgers since the franchise moved to the West Coast in 1958.

He didn’t appear too concerned about his Los Angeles debut, falling asleep on a couch as he watched the Little League World Series in the visitors’ clubhouse before the game.

Mets starter John Maine (13-8) was charged with six runs, three earned, and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings. He is 1-3 with a 7.77 ERA in five starts this month.

“I thought Johnny did a good job overall,” manager Willie Randolph said. “If we had given him a few runs early it might have been a different game.”

Wells made his first start since he lasted just four innings for San Diego on Aug. 6, allowing seven runs and 11 hits in a 10-5 loss at St. Louis. His hometown Padres cut him three days later and Wells said he thought he was done after 21 seasons in the bigs.

The Dodgers, hampered by injuries to three starters, decided to give him a chance and signed him to a prorated deal on Friday. They designated Brett Tomko for assignment and plugged Wells into the rotation in time to start in a nationally televised matchup with the Mets.

“It was good to see him back out there, helping us win a game,” manager Grady Little said.

Wells pulled out all the stops in his Los Angeles debut, even bunting for a hit to lead off the fifth. The burly left-hander smiled as he chatted with first base coach Mariano Duncan, and there were also some grins in the Dodgers dugout.

“They were all laughing at me,” a chuckling Wells said. “Somebody dropped a Rod Carew on me. That’s a compliment. He was one of my favorite hitters.”

Wells eventually came around to score on Kemp’s single. Ramon Martinez tacked on an RBI double as the Dodgers went in front 3-2.

Martinez didn’t start the game but came in to run for Jeff Kent after the slugger was beaned by Maine in the fourth. Kent staggered out of the box after Maine hit him on the side of the head with his second pitch of the inning.

Little, third base coach Rich Donnelly and a trainer all checked on Kent, who appeared to be groggy before he was escorted to the dugout but said he was OK after the game.

Los Angeles took advantage of first baseman Jeff Conine’s one-out error and scored three times in the sixth to chase Maine from the game. Pinch-hitter Luis Gonzalez, Pierre and Kemp all had RBI singles.

“They did a good job of hitting what I thought were good pitches,” Maine said. “That’s a good big league team over there.”

The Mets loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth when Wells uncharacteristically walked two straight batters after Lastings Milledge reached on an infield single. Wells then struck out Moises Alou with a curveball to get out of the threat.

“He was very impressive,” Furcal said of his new teammate.

Wells improved to 2-0 against the Mets this season and 6-1 with a 2.83 ERA in nine career starts.

Rudy Seanez, Joe Beimel, Jonathan Broxton and Takashi Saito combined to pitch the final four innings for the Dodgers.

Notes

After the game, the Mets designated C Sandy Alomar Jr. for assignment. They will activate C Paul Lo Duca off the disabled list before Monday night’s game against Phillies. … Dodgers All-Star C Russell Martin and Mets 1B Carlos Delgado got a day off. … Pierre extended his hitting streak to 14 games, matching his season high.

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