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Dodgers riding their best streak since 1899

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Thrusting his arms wide open, the width of his wingspan only eclipsed by the width of his smile, Nick Punto welcomed Danny DeVito into a warm embrace.

Addressing the crowd after the game as the Los Angeles Dodgers' hero du jour -- his seventh-inning solo home run Monday night in a 4-2 win over the visiting New York Mets provided an important insurance run -- the Los Angeles utility infielder watched as DeVito waddled over in Punto's No. 7 jersey and took the microphone.

Even Hollywood stars are trying to get in the act.

It's that good to be an L.A. fan these days.

It's better to be a Dodger.

Thanks to some timely hitting, Los Angeles overcame an early deficit to notch its 38th win in 46 games, a stretch of success that ranks as the best in modern club history and the best in Major League Baseball since Oakland went 38-8 during a long streak in 2001.

"It feels like one of those teams," Punto said. "The fan support has been incredible. We feel really good about this team. What a night."

The last time the Dodgers were running this good, they weren't even the Dodgers.

In 1899, the Brooklyn Superbas went 38-8 several times during 46-game stretches between April and June.

And they didn't even have Adrian Gonzalez.

Gonzalez delivered his team-high 75th RBI with a sixth-inning single that led to two runs, one scoring on a Mets error. Yasiel Puig followed with a sacrifice fly to give Los Angeles a 3-2 lead.

After the Mets squandered a bases-loaded opportunity in the seventh inning, Punto smashed a Carlos Torres offering over the right field wall to give the Dodgers a two-run advantage.

"That was a good one," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "And it happened quick. Their guy (starter Jenrry Mejia) was pretty good tonight. He's got good stuff, he kind of had us down, and they jumped Ricky (Nolasco) early but he hung in there. Then just boom, boom, boom and we got the lead and held on.

"It wasn't that pretty, but it was pretty enough in the end."

The offensive output was enough to let Nolasco even his season record at 9-9 and improve to 4-1 with the Dodgers. He settled down after a rocky beginning.

Four of the seven hits Nolasco allowed came in the second inning, but he gave up just two runs in 6 1/3 innings as he won his third straight start.

Mets starter Jenrry Mejia (1-2) started well but went on to allow six hits and three runs (two earned) in six innings. He struck out four and didn't issue a walk.

"He really made good pitches when he had guys in situations, especially in the heart of that lineup," Mets catcher John Buck said. "Other than the really tough plays for (third baseman David) Murphy, they really didn't put their bats on the ball."

Gonzalez had three hits while no other Dodger had more than one, but the Mets had four players with multiple hits. Buck, Eric Young, Marlon Byrd and Omar Quintanilla each had two hits for the Mets, who stranded nine baserunners.

New York jumped on Nolasco in the second inning, collecting four consecutive hits to take a 2-0 lead.

Ike Davis opened the inning with a single and moved to second on a Wilmer Flores hit. Buck followed with a single, scoring Davis, and Quintanilla singled home Flores.

However, the Dodgers' confidence never wavered.

"We're confident, but each game is individual and you'd really rather not be behind," Mattingly said. "We are at a point where we feel like we can score. Doesn't mean you're always going to do it, but I think the fact that guys believe we can do it is a lot different than earlier in the year."

NOTES: It was Gonzalez's seventh consecutive game with an RBI, the longest streak for a Dodger since 2004. ... RHP Shawn Tolleson made his first rehab appearance Sunday for the Dodgers' rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League. Tolleson pitched a scoreless inning in his first live action since having surgery April 25 to repair a herniated disk in his back. He's pitched just once for the Dodgers this year, April 12. ... Mets C Travis D'Arnaud is expected to fill in when Buck misses time for paternity leave. D'Arnaud has been sidelined much of the year with a fracture in his left foot, but he returned to minor league action in late July. ... The Dodgers acquired C Eliezer Alfonzo from the Mexican League and assigned him to Triple-A Albuquerque. They released INF Ian Stewart to make room. ... Mets RHP Jeremy Hefner had his elbow examined Monday and is reportedly scheduled to be re-examined Wednesday by team doctors. Hefner has struggled this year in 24 games, going 4-8 with a 4.34 ERA. He's been particularly bad since the All-Star break, 0-2 with a 9.13 ERA in five starts.
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