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Ellis' two blasts lead Dodgers past Mets

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Mark Ellis had to wait 215 days to hit his 100th career home run. He only had to wait one turn through the order to belt his 101st.

Ellis' milestone homer tied the game in the fifth and his second homer -- a three-run shot down the left field line in the seventh -- snapped that tie and lifted the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 7-2 win over the New York Mets in front of 21,135 at Citi Field.

"I had to sit on 99 all last winter," said a grinning Ellis, who previously homered against the Nationals last Sept. 20. "So I thought about it a little bit. It's nice to get this one here."

The second homer capped one of the most memorable nights of Ellis' 11-year career. The two-homer night was Ellis' fourth all-time and his first since June 17, 2008, when he accomplished the feat for the Athletics against the Diamondbacks.

Coincidentally, Ellis' second homer on Tuesday came off Brandon Lyon -- the same pitcher who served up Ellis' second homer almost five years ago.

Ellis, who singled in his first two at-bats Tuesday, finished 4-for-5 -- the 13th time he's had at least four hits in a game -- with four RBI. He's had at least four RBI in a game 15 times.

And for good measure, a fan threw Ellis' first home run ball on to the field, where a teammate grabbed it and preserved it for Ellis.

"I'm glad I got it," Ellis said. "I don't have a lot of [memorabilia] so it's fun to have."

Over his last four games, Ellis is hitting .529 (9-for-17) with eight RBI. And as Ellis goes, so have the Dodgers: After scoring just 21 runs in eight games from Apr. 10-17, Los Angeles has scored 20 runs in its last four games, including seven apiece in the last two.

Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said before the game he believed his team was close to breaking through because it was collecting plenty of hits, just not many of the timely variety. Los Angeles entered play Tuesday ranked 14th in the NL in runs but ninth in hits.

"Throughout that stretch there, I know we didn't score any runs, but we were getting this amount of hits," Mattingly said. "The same amount of hits we're getting seven runs with, we were getting two.

"We talked about it. I think continue to get traffic on the bases [and] we were going to get our share. The game tells you: You keep getting 13 hits and a few walks, you're going to score more than two runs."

Ronald Belisario earned the win for Los Angeles with a perfect sixth inning in relief of starter Clayton Kershaw, who struggled through a season-low five innings. Kershaw retired the first eight batters he faced but ended up allowing two runs on three hits and four walks -- the second straight start he's walked four batters -- with five strikeouts.

Daniel Murphy had two hits, including an RBI single, for the Mets while David Wright also had an RBI single.

The Mets likely dodged a serious scare in the third, when Mark Ellis' comebacker caromed off the right leg of starter Jonathon Niese and knocked him out of the game.

Niese looked in the air, believing the ball had bounced up, before hopping to home plate and sitting down in pain along the first base line.

Niese was immediately lifted and was clearly favoring the right leg as he hopped down the dugout steps. But X-rays were negative and Mets manager Terry Collins said he is confident Niese will be able to make his next scheduled start on Sunday.

"He couldn't move his foot when we went out there, said he didn't have any feeling in his foot, which was a bad sign for us," Collins said. "But he's fine. He's walking around, getting better as the night goes along. So he'll be OK."

Niese allowed a run on three hits and three walks with one strikeout in 2 1/3 innings.

Lyon, the Mets' fourth pitcher, took the loss after allowing three runs on two hits and a walk in the seventh inning.

Kershaw threw only 37 pitches in setting down the first eight batters before he lost his command in the third. Kershaw walked Robert Carson -- who relieved Niese and was batting for the first time as a big leaguer -- and Ruben Tejada before allowing consecutive RBI singles to Murphy and Wright. Kershaw then walked John Buck before inducing Marlon Byrd to hit into an inning-ending fielder's choice.

"Two outs, you've got to take the bull by the horns -- don't let anybody get on base after that," Kershaw said. "Especially don't give up runs with two outs. Just a lot of cardinal mistakes that I made tonight."

NOTES: Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Billingsley was diagnosed with the tear last year but opted to try and rehab the injury instead of immediately going under the knife. He was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts this year before going on the disabled list Sunday. ... When Ted Lilly makes his season debut on Wednesday night, he'll become the eighth different starting pitcher used already this year by the Dodgers. "Most years you're probably going to need eight to 10 [starters]," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "But you probably wouldn't think you'd need them in the first 20 days." ... Mattingly said shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb while playing in the World Baseball Classic in March, is on pace to return within the estimated six-to-eight week timetable. Ramirez is able to swing a bat but is still having some trouble throwing. ... The Mets recalled outfielder Juan Lagares from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioned outfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis to the same affiliate. Lagares, whom the Mets signed as an amateur free agent in 2006, made his major league debut when he came in to play centerfield during a double switch in the fifth inning and went 1-for-2. He was hitting .346 with three homers and nine RBI in 17 games at Las Vegas. Nieuwenhuis was hitting .125 with an RBI in 16 at-bats for the Mets. ... Mets right-hander Shawn Marcum, who is recovering from nerve damage in his neck and shoulder, reported no problems Tuesday, a day after he threw five innings in an extended spring training game in Port St. Lucie. Marcum was expected to fly to New York Tuesday and is in line to make his Mets debut against the Phillies on Saturday. ... Tejada became the sixth different player to bat leadoff for the Mets in the first 18 games.
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