Series: Game 3 of 4

New York leads 3-0 (as of 5/18)

Game 1: Thursday, May 16
New York 3Final
San Diego 1
Game 2: Friday, May 17
New York 13Final
San Diego 4
Game 3: Saturday, May 18
New York 5Final
San Diego 2
Game 4: Sunday, May 19
New York 3Final
San Diego 4

Mets 5

(24-19, 13-9 away)

Padres 2

(21-22, 14-7 home)

    10:05 PM ET, May 18, 2002

    Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California 

    123456789 R H E
    NYM 401000000 5 - -
    SD 000002000 2 - -

    W: S. Estes (2-4)

    L: B. Tomko (3-3)

    S: A. Benitez (8)

    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 Padres.

    "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 nine.

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press