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Balance of power: Ishii in control vs. Mets

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kazuhisa Ishii looked like a completely
different pitcher Thursday night.

Ishii allowed one run in six innings and Cesar Izturis drove in
three runs to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 6-1 victory over
the New York Mets on Thursday night.

Ishii tied a career high by walking six batters in his previous
start against Pittsburgh but had more control against the Mets --
walking just three.

"I saw a more consistent pitcher from the windup," manager Jim
Tracy said. "They made an adjustment with his lead foot to try to
improve his balance. I observed a very big difference, a very
positive difference."

Ishii also got his hair cut between starts, showing off a close
cropped cut instead of the floppy 'do he used to have,

"I was lighter than usual, and maybe especially so on one
side," he joked.

The Dodgers have won nine of 13 after taking two of three
against New York in a matchup of the two worst offenses in the
National League.

Los Angeles scored 10 runs in the series but that was more than
enough against a Mets' team that played the three games without
All-Star catcher Mike Piazza in the starting lineup.

Piazza received seven stitches in his abdomen earlier this week
after having a mole removed and had just two pinch-hitting
opportunities in the series. Before the game, the Mets talked to
Piazza about beginning the process of learning to play first base.

Izturis hit a go-ahead groundout in the seventh against Tom Glavine (4-3) and a two-run single in the eighth. Fred McGriff had
a pair of RBI with a single in the first and double in the eighth.

New York, which has lost eight of 11, scored only five runs in
the three games.

"Tonight was a typical game for us," Glavine said. "We hit
the ball hard and did not have a lot to show for it."

The Dodgers scored more than four runs for just the fourth time
in the past 16 games, but they are 10-6 in that span because of the
best pitching staff in the majors.

Ishii (3-1) didn't allow a runner to reach third base until the
sixth inning, helped by two double-play grounders. He allowed six
hits, including an RBI single to Tony Clark in the sixth that tied
the game at 1.

"It's not perfect yet but I've been trying to raise my arm more
quickly, faster than usual and improve my tempo," Ishii said
through an interpreter. "At least I pitched better than my last
outing."

The Mets could have had more in the sixth.

But Ty Wigginton popped out with runners on first and third and
one out and Brian Jordan made a twisting catch at the left field
wall to rob Jason Phillips of extra bases to end the inning.

"That kind of changed the momentum of the game," Mets manager
Art Howe said. "That was a heck of a save in left field. They got
some runs in the next inning and changed the game in a hurry."

What made the catch even more impressive is the assortment of
injuries Jordan is playing with, including a sore shoulder and a
sore knee that will keep him out of Friday's starting lineup in
Montreal.

"That's a critical situation right there," Jordan said. "You
make that catch and all of a sudden their heads go down. We had the
momentum from there."

The Dodgers took the lead for good in the seventh. Jordan
started it with a one-out walk and went to third on Ron Coomer's
double. After Jolbert Cabrera was intentionally walked, Izturis hit
a slow grounder in the hole at shortstop and beat the relay for a
double play.

Pinch-hitter Mike Kinkade followed with an RBI single to make it
3-1 and Los Angeles then turned the game over to its stellar
relievers.

Paul Quantrill pitched two scoreless innings and Guillermo Mota
finished, lowering Los Angeles' bullpen ERA to a major
league-leading 1.31.

Mota made his first appearance against the Mets since hitting
Piazza with a pitch in spring training, setting off a brawl that
led to suspensions for both players.

The Dodgers broke on top early against Glavine, stringing
together three straight singles in the first inning, including
McGriff's RBI hit.

Glavine allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings.

Game notes
The Dodgers have scored 124 runs this season, one more than
New York. ... Dodgers 3B Adrian Beltre did not start. Beltre struck
out in the eighth to extend his hitless streak to 16 at-bats. ...
The Dodgers are 14-3 when they score at least four runs. ... Mets
RHP David Cone (hip injury) will make a rehab start for Class-A St.
Lucie on Sunday against the Tampa Yankees. ... New York 1B Mo Vaughn will get a second opinion on his injured left knee in the
next couple of days in Georgia.