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Grissom's homer helps Dodgers rally past Mets

8/17/2002

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Mets managed to scratch out a late
lead against reliever Kevin Brown, and still that wasn't enough.
Not the way they're playing these days.

Marquis Grissom hit a two-run homer off Mark Guthrie in the
eighth inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers sent the Mets to their
ninth straight home loss, 3-2 Friday night.

"Yeah, yeah, I blew it,'' Guthrie said. "Pretty frustrating.''

The Mets' skid at Shea Stadium is their worst since they set a
team record by losing their final 13 home games in 1979 under
manager Joe Torre.

"I was part of that. I was responsible for that,'' Torre
recalled Friday night before his New York Yankees played at
Seattle. "At home, you'd like to believe you have an advantage
over teams, but it's like that snowball going down the hill.

"Yeah, they're struggling right now. You know it's not fun to
go through,'' he said.

Despite taking a 2-1 edge in the seventh on an RBI single by
Timo Perez off Brown (3-3), the Mets could not stay ahead and tied
a season high by losing their sixth in a row overall.

New York desperately needed to win this one, too, as it dropped
10½ games behind the Dodgers in the NL wild-card race. Brown picked
up his first victory ever in relief as Los Angeles won its third
straight.

The Mets dropped into a tie for last place in the NL East with
Florida.

"Do or say? I talked to a lot of guys today and I thought we
had good spirits,'' Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "One pitch
and one swing, again.''

Grissom connected off Guthrie (5-2) following a one-out double
by Mark Grudzielanek. Grissom stretched his season-high hitting
streak to nine games with a drive over the left-field wall.

Guthrie has allowed seven runs in five innings since his
career-best 27-inning scoreless streak was snapped earlier this
month.

A day after coming off the disabled list, Brown made only the
fourth relief appearance of his career. He was placed on the DL for
the second time this season on May 27 and had surgery June 11 to
repair a herniated disk.

The Dodgers plan to pitch their ace out of the bullpen for now.
He took over in the seventh with the score tied at 1 and was not
sharp, walking three batters and giving Perez's go-ahead hit in the
inning. Brown walked another batter in the eighth.

"It's just a matter of day to day trying to get more
consistency,'' Brown said. "Yesterday, I felt real good throwing.
Today, not so good. But today is when I got into the game.''

Manager Jim Tracy was satisfied.

"This is the track you want to see this guy on after coming
back from two major surgeries in a year. I think it is unfair to
just take him and run him out there and expect the rest of the
Dodger team to jump on his back and ride him to Sept. 29,'' he
said.

Eric Gagne pitched the ninth for his 42nd save in 45 chances.

Starters Hideo Nomo and Mike Bacsik both excelled on a humid
night, each allowing a run in six innings.

Nomo gave up four hits, including rookie Ty Wigginton's homer.
The former Mets pitcher has lost just once in his last 17 starts,
winning nine times in that span.

Bacsik was even better, giving up three hits and an unearned
run. He was promoted from Triple-A to pitch in place of Shawn
Estes, traded Thursday to Cincinnati for two minor leaguers and two
players to be named.

The Dodgers made it 1-all in the fourth with the help of yet
another error by the Mets. After two walks, Paul Lo Duca singled
with one out and left fielder Roger Cedeno let the ball get under
glove, allowing a run to score.

Cedeno's mistake, on his 28th birthday, was the Mets' major
league-worst 108th error and accounted for the 59th unearned run
against them this year.

Game notes
Mets C Mike Piazza did not start for the fourth straight
game. An MRI confirmed he has tendinitis in his left wrist, though
he hopes to be in the lineup Saturday night. ... Mets 2B Roberto
Alomar got a day off to rest his strained left groin. ... The
Dodgers and Mets are likely to play two exhibition games in Mexico
City next year during spring training -- provided there is a spring
training. ... RF Shawn Green said he was among about 10 Dodgers
players at the players' union office earlier in the day when Aug.
30 was set as the strike date. ... Tony Tarasco went 0-for-3 for
the Mets while batting cleanup for the first time in his career.