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Game 97: Mets @ Dodgers

12:49 a.m.: Two final impressions of a 6-1 Mets win

Jason Bay may rate 21st in +/- (Fielding Bible stat) but he showed some big defensive value Thursday. Say this about his defense. It's better than it looks, and he's made good plays even when his bat hasn't performed.

Johan Santana: Fifth straight start of seven-plus innings with one run or fewer allowed. That's the best single-season streak by a Mets pitcher since Dwight Gooden in 1985! The club record for a single-season is Jerry Koosman, six straight in 1969.

12:40 a.m.: Top storylines from the first eight innings -- 1) Jason Bay, 2) Mets outfield defense, 3) bizarre managing decisions from both teams, 4) Padilla's eephus pitch is no longer infallible.

12:39 a.m. : For those who missed it, the answer to our trivia question about the Mets all-time single-season leader in outfield assists. Leader is Rusty Staub, 19 in 1974.

12:28 a.m.: First, Jason Bay has a stellar catch. Then, after his pregame hitting tutorial, he delivers a three-run double. Mets lead, 6-1.

12:16 a..m.: Mets take a 3-1 lead on David Wright's sacrifice fly in the eighth.

11:35 p.m. -- Off the Pagan near-assist, we ask our trivia question: What met holds the record for outfield assists in a season? Did it in the 1970s.

11:31 p.m. Baseball Info Solutions defensive databases told us a few weeks ago that Ike Davis and James Loney lead the majors in stealing foul balls from spectators. Now we see why.

11:26 p.m. -- OK, so we're even now in defensive drops that led to a run scored. Would have been another assist for Pagan who was racking them up huge in first part of the season. 2-1- Mets after five. Interesting to see if Santana can be economical enough to last eight ... or nine.

11:20 p.m. -- Vicente Padilla settling in nicely. You can see why he looked so good in his last two starts. Mets might not score again today, thankful for good defense on their part, and Padilla's eephus.

11:14 p.m.: Looks like one of those games where Johan Santana's BABIP will tell the story of how well the Mets defense played behind them. Angel Pagan challenging for Web Gem honors in the third. Mets up 2-0 after four Defense has been playing well behind Santana throughout this recent run of success.

11:06 p.m.: The answer to our trivia question -- The Met with the most home runs against the Dodgers is Kevin McReynolds, who had 14. Next was Dave Kingman with 12.

11:05 p.m.: Bobby Valentine had talked on Baseball Tonight about watching Santana's arm speed on his changeup in comparison to how it is on his fastball. The Furcal at-bat was an example of one where the arm speed looked the same. Dodgers go 1-2-3, Jason Bay survives. 2-0 Mets after three.

10:58 p.m.: Mets rank tied for seventh in majors in Web Gem points. Think the late edition of Baseball Tonight will be on top of that one by Bay. Reds lead in Gem Points. Brandon Phillips looking like he's going to unseat last year's Web Gem champ Ryan Zimmerman. Quick half-inning from the Mets. 2-0 after 2 1/2.

ESPN Stats and Info chimes in with this tidbit: The Davis HR was the slowest pitch to be hit for a HR this season, surpassing a 60-mph eephus pitch from Padilla that Jay Bruce hit for a HR.

10:55 p.m.: Impressions and notes from two innings:

Santana looked sharper in the top of the second, with the help of a Web Gem worthy catch from Jason Bay ... The strikeout of Dewitt on a high fastball was what we were talking about earlier with regards to hitters chasing that pitch more lately ... Henry Blanco: first infield hit of the season. He actually had seven last season for the Padres ... Jerry Manuel: career ejection number 31. His three this year match his total from 2009. He led the majors with 10 in 2003 (thanks, Retrosheet)

10:48 p.m.: OK, time for our trivia question. I've got two actually. Let me get the one not tied to steals of home out of the way. Who has the most home runs for the Mets against the Dodgers. Hint: He played for the Mets in the 1980s and 1990s, and he DIDN'T play for the Dodgers.

10:45 p.m.: -Slowball number 45 from Padilla nets a groundout from Reyes. Inside Edge notes Padilla has thrown more pitches slower than 60 mph than anyone in MLB. Only other pitcher close is Tim Wakefield, who entered day with 25. Roy Oswalt (2) is only other pitcher with more than one.

10:40 p.m.: 44th time this season that Vicente Padilla has thrown a pitch from 51 to 59 mph. Ike Davis's home run was the first hit against any of those pitches this season. Then Jason Bay snaps an 0-for-7 against Padilla with a hit.

10:35 p.m.: First-inning impression of Santana -- Fastball peaked at 90. Changeup from 75 to 78. Blake, who is the Dodger most familiar with Santana, hit the changeup like he knew it was coming, snapping an 0-for-7 drought against him. Looked like he got away with the 3-1 fastball he grooved to Loney, but recovered to get the strikeout. Santana threw 24 pitches, got only one swing-and-miss, something to watch as we go. 1-0 Mets after one.

10:28 p.m.: Stolen bases taken away. Score it CS, E4 (allowing Castillo to be safe and runner to score) if you're scoring at home.

10:18 p.m.: Interesting way to break a scoreless drought. Jose Reyes credited (for now)with his first career steal of home. First Mets steal of home since Moises Alou in 2008. If anyone wants to study up, we'll make our trivia question -- after top of second inning -- related to steals of home.

10:13 p.m.: Mets offense in business. Reyes was 1-for-his-last-eight leading off games prior to that double. Runners on corners with no outs to start.

10:07 p.m.: Mets offense has scored four runs or fewer in 13 straight games (nowhere near club record of 24, set in 1965). That's tied for second-longest streak in majors this year. Only Mariners (16 games) had a longer one. First pitch just a few moments away ...

9:50 p.m.: Some things to watch, after a quick perusal of our Inside Edge video review data:

The two keys to Johan Santana's success this month -- He's getting a lot more outs with his fastball than he had been in May/June (hitters have shown a propensity to chase it when it's out of the strike zone) and his changeup has been much more of a weapon with two strikes, perhaps attributable to corrections made when it became clear Santana was tipping pitches. One trouble spot: His slider has been more hittable than usual, particularly his last two starts.

Santana has allowed one run in 20 2/3 innings against the Dodgers. His 0.44 ERA is the third-best (minimum 20 IP) against the Dodgers since the team moved to Los Angeles prior to the 1958 season.

Vicente Padilla has been very, very good in his last two starts, not allowing a run in either. He's had an incredible amount of success in getting counts into his favor (hitters are fouling off pitches in bunches ... those had been going for base hits in the early part of the season). It's a bizarre quirk, but seven of the nine hits he's allowed this month have come on two-strike pitches.

9:30 p.m.: Hi folks, Mark Simon filling in for Adam Rubin on the liveblog tonight. We'll try to make this interactive, as we did last week (trivia question after the top of the second inning). Feel free to reach me on Twitter at @msimonespn

The Mets anemic offense has been particularly dreadful deep in counts. Thanks to some checking by my Stats and Information colleague Puneet Nanda, we can tell you the Mets are hitting an MLB-worst .101 with two strikes since the All-Star Break, and based on Inside Edge video review data, are swinging nearly 50 percent of the time on two-strike pitches thrown out of the strike zone.

For now, your lineups, and some other notes

Mets

Jose Reyes, SS

Luis Castillo, 2B

Angel Pagan, RF

David Wright, 3B

Carlos Beltran, CF

Ike Davis, 1B

Jason Bay, LF

Henry Blanco, C

Johan Santana, LHP

Dodgers

Rafael Furcal, SS

Andre Ethier, RF

Matt Kemp, CF

Casey Blake, 3B

James Loney, 1B

Russell Martin, C

Blake Dewitt, 2B

Jamey Carroll, LF

Vicente Padilla, P

Game Notes: Jason Bay last started in the No. 7 spot last Aug. 10 against the Tigers. He hit a home run, and didn't hit seventh again the rest of the season ... Angel Pagan has hit in the No. 3 spot once this season. He went 1-for-4 in a loss to the Marlins on May 15 ... The Mets are 3-11 in their last 14 games, with the wins coming in games started by Johan Santana. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, their 11-game losing streak in non-Santana starts is bettered only by one team in 2010-- the Orioles had a 15-game losing streak in games not started by Brian Matusz.