Four-run first inning keys Mets' victory

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Shawn Estes felt lucky he didn't get hurt, and
thrilled to earn a victory.

Roberto Alomar hit a two-run homer in a four-run first inning,
and the New York Mets beat the San Diego Padres 5-2 Saturday night
for their fifth straight win.

Estes (2-4) was struck twice by balls hit up the middle, but he
stayed around for six innings to improve to 11-4 career against the

"I'm going to be pretty sore for four days, but we're on a good
roll right now," Estes said. "The offense is picking up, and the
pitching's still there. We have to ride this one out. This is what
we've been waiting for all year."

Estes, who gave up two runs on seven hits, was struck in the
right calf by Trenidad Hubbard's ground single in the fifth and
then in the back of the neck at the base of the skull when he was
knocked over by Ray Lankford's line single in the sixth.

"It was target practice out there. I've never had a game like
that. There were four (balls) that had a chance to hit me and two
that did," Estes said. "The one that was scarier was obviously
the one in the back of the head just because I hadn't been hit in
the head before. But the one that feels worse is the calf."

Joe McEwing added a two-run single in the first as the Mets
jumped on San Diego starter Brett Tomko one night after beating the
Padres 13-4 for their highest-scoring game of the season.

David Weathers and Scott Strickland each worked a scoreless
inning of relief, and Armando Benitez pitched a perfect ninth for
his eighth save in as many chances.

"This is a real solid game. We pitched well, we hit well and
turned out plays when we had to," Mets manager Bobby Valentine
said. "Shawn is a real tough guy. He got hit real solid twice, but
he kept pitching. He made one mistake for two runs, but other than
that, he was flawless."

Bubba Trammel hit a two-run homer, his fourth of the season, to
cut the Padres' deficit to 5-2 in the sixth.

New York's five-game winning streak comes after losing eight of

The Mets opened the game with four straight hits off Tomko
(3-3), who allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings to fall
to 1-5 career against the Mets.

"If I could erase the first inning, I threw a decent
ballgame," Tomko said. "But I can't erase it. If I could take
back a couple of pitches here and there, it's a different game."

Tomko has given up 29 earned runs in 34 2/3 innings over seven
appearances against New York.

Roger Cedeno singled leading off the first, and Alomar connected
on the next pitch for his fourth homer of the season. Mo Vaughn
singled, and Mike Piazza followed with a double, putting runners at
second and third.

One out later, McEwing knocked in both runners.

"The first inning just got us," Padres manager Bruce Bochy
said. "Brett had trouble getting the ball where he wanted in the
first inning, and it cost him."

The Mets increased their lead to 5-0 in the third, when Jeromy
Burnitz hit a two-out single, stole second and scored on a single
by Timo Perez.

Game notes
McEwing played his seventh position of the season for the
Mets when he made his first start at third base. He has seen action
at every spot except pitcher and catcher. He was previously the
only player in the majors to have started at six positions. ...
Tomko made his 100th career start. The loss left him with a record
of 43-35, spanning six seasons with three clubs. He came to San
Diego this season in a trade with Seattle. ... Vaughn is nine RBIs
shy of 1,000. ... While his San Diego teammates took batting
practice on the field, injured 1B Phil Nevin worked out in an
indoor cage. He went on the 15-day disabled list with a strained
left elbow May 12.