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Mets' slides: 11 at home, 8 overall

NEW YORK (AP) -- The slumping New York Mets might be just as
happy to be heading to California as are the surging Los Angeles
Dodgers.

Marquis Grissom tripled, doubled and scored twice as the Dodgers
beat the Mets 2-1 on Sunday and sent them to their 11th straight home
loss and eighth in a row overall.

Conversely, the Dodgers wrapped up a 5-1 trip that started with
a tough loss in Montreal. Los Angeles, the NL wild-card leader, has
won four straight series after going 1-6-1 in the previous eight.

"It's a fantastic road trip at a very important time of the
year,'' Los Angeles manager Jim Tracy said. "We were one pitch
away from taking all six games.''

The Mets finished their homestand 0-6 after getting swept by San
Diego and Los Angeles. New York dropped one game to Houston and
four in a row to Arizona to finish off its previous stay at Shea
Stadium.

It was the seventh time in the Mets' 40-year history they had a
winless homestand of at least six games, last doing it in 1999.

The team's worst homestand was 0-9 in 1979, en route to a
team-record 13 straight home losses to end the season under manager
Joe Torre.

"Whether we're in the wild card or whatever, respectability is
important,'' Mo Vaughn said. "It's not anyone, there's no
finger-pointing, it's all of us. It's everyone in this clubhouse.''

The Mets start an eight-game road trip to San Francisco,
Colorado and Florida on Tuesday. They are not home again until the
strike date of Aug. 30.

Fans showed their frustration and impatience by prodding Mets
starter Steve Trachsel, a notoriously slow worker, with chants of
"Throw the ball! Throw the ball!'' during his 39-pitch third
inning.

"I know I wasn't working fast today,'' Trachsel said. "Mike
(Piazza) and I were having a little trouble with signs. I didn't
think I was getting credit for some of the pitches I made. I had
runners on base.

"I knew every pitch was important so I was taking my time.''

Andy Ashby (9-9) allowed one run on four hits in seven innings
to earn just his second victory in 10 decisions for the Dodgers

"I feel good,'' Ashby said. "The main thing is focus on
pitches, stay ahead in the count, and make the ball work.''

Eric Gagne pitched the ninth for his 43rd save, tying him with
Jeff Shaw for the Dodgers' second best single-season save total.
Todd Worrell set the club mark of 44 saves in 1996.

Trachsel worked out of several early jams, which caused his
departure after five innings and 102 pitches in 92-degree heat.

Trachsel (8-9) allowed both Dodgers runs on six hits. He struck
out six and walked three, stranding six runners on base.

Grissom got the starting nod in left field over Brian Jordan
largely because of his torrid hitting.

"I've been an everyday player my whole career, still am,''
Grissom said.

Grissom tripled with one out in the third and scored on Adrian
Beltre's single.

Two innings later, Grissom led off with a double, went to third
on another single by Beltre, and scored on Shawn Green's sacrifice
fly.

"Very simply, we pitched outstanding again today and we rode
the bats of Marquis Grissom and Adrian Beltre,'' Tracy said.

The Mets tied it at 1 in their half of the third when Roberto
Alomar walked, stole second and scored on Timo Perez's RBI single.

Alomar's injured groin, which kept him out of the two previous
games and slowed him considerably of late, showed marked
improvement. He stole his first base since July 26 and beat out a
bunt single in the sixth with a headfirst slide.

The heat seemed to cause short fuses all over.

Mets manager Bobby Valentine was out to argue with umpires in
each of the first two innings, and Dodgers first baseman Eric
Karros was ejected by home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom after he
argued a called third strike in the third.

Game notes
Grissom is batting .370 during his season-high 11-game
hitting streak. The Dodgers improved to 35-16 in games he's
started. ... Jeromy Burnitz was in right field and batted sixth for
the Mets after the slumping slugger was out of the starting lineup
four straight games. He went 0-for-3, with three flyouts to right
field. ... Jordan was also given the night off Saturday to rest his
sore back. ... Former OF Tommie Agee was posthumously inducted into
the Mets Hall of Fame. ... The Dodgers were perfect on four
stolen-base attempts.