LOS ANGELES -- Johan Santana rarely kept the ball down. No matter, his teammates were all over the outfield making dramatic catches and generating some rare offensive support.
"It was great for me and the whole team," Santana said. "We played great defense and I think it was the difference in the game. It was huge to win."
Manager Jerry Manuel wasn't around to see the victory having been ejected in the second inning for arguing an incorrect call by first base umpire Doug Eddings.
The Mets, 2-7 on their trip, had been held to four or fewer runs in 13 previous games, going 3-10 in that stretch. This time, though, they managed to win against a team that was coming off back-to-back 2-0 victories.
"It's not over yet," said Santana, who is 4-0 with a 0.65 ERA in his career against the Dodgers. "We still have to be consistent. That will be key in order for us to climb up."
Santana (8-5) allowed one run and five hits, struck out four and walked one. The left-hander has allowed no more than one run while pitching at least seven innings in any of his last five starts.
"He's always tough," Dodgers second baseman Blake DeWitt said. "When you come into a game against him, you know you're going to have to just go out there and battle and try to score runs any way you can. But we weren't able to do that."
The Mets ended a streak of 17 scoreless innings when they took a 1-0 lead in the first. The run was unearned, the result of an error by DeWitt. The Mets had runners at the corners with one out in the first when Luis Castillo took off for second on a third strike to David Wright. The throw from Russell Martin was in time, but the ball popped out of DeWitt's glove as he applied the tag and Jose Reyes sprinted home.
"He never had the ball [securely] in his glove," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. "It was a little bit of a snow cone. If it was just a force play, it would have been fine. But when he made the tag, the ball jumped out. It was tough, because Russell made a good throw and Reyes hadn't crossed home plate yet."
The Dodgers' bullpen imploded in the eighth when the Mets parlayed four walks, a sacrifice fly by Wright and a bases-loaded double by Jason Bay into a four-run rally. Torre used four relievers, including Travis Schlichting, who gave up the double to Bay on his first pitch.
Vicente Padilla (4-3) allowed two runs -- one earned -- and six hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked none in his second straight loss.
"I imagine it's frustrating for a pitcher when you pitch like that and don't get a W," Martin said. "But there's certain things you can't control when you're not in the game anymore. Santana threw the ball well and they made some nice plays for him, especially in the outfield."
While jump-starting their offense, the Mets' defense was outstanding. Bay made an inning-ending catch of Jamey Carroll's extra-base bid on the warning track in left field in the second before his momentum sent him crashing face-first into the Dodgers' bullpen gate. He eventually got up and walked off.
"I'll probably have a little bump and bruise tomorrow," Bay said. "I kind of hyper-extended [my left knee]. It's not the usual way to get contorted. I haven't even seen the replay. I heard everybody yelling, 'Ohhh.'"
Bay was removed as a precaution in the bottom of the eighth.
Right fielder Angel Pagan made a sliding catch of Blake in the fourth that sent him into the wall in front of the box seats along the first base line. Carlos Beltran made a diving catch in shallow center field of a ball hit by Andre Ethier in the sixth.
The Dodgers' lone run came on Carroll's sacrifice fly in the fifth. Pagan caught the ball and fired dead-on to the plate, but Henry Blanco tried to make the catch with one hand and dropped the ball, allowing Martin to score.
Manuel was tossed for the third time this season. He came on the field and gestured wildly in protest after Eddings ruled Castillo out. Replays showed Castillo's foot was already on the bag before shortstop Furcal's throw reached the glove of Loney. Bench coach Dave Jauss took over as manager.
"I felt he was ready to make an out call regardless of what he saw," Manuel said of Eddings. "He said I was yelling. I think I was."
The Dodgers committed two or more errors in a game for the 20th time this season, falling to 9-11 in those games. ... The Dodgers designated RHP Justin Miller for assignment and recalled RHP Kenley Jansen from Triple-A Albuquerque. Torre said Jansen will be used in the later innings. ... The Mets recalled RHP Manny Acosta from Triple-A Buffalo. ... Dodgers All-Star reliever Hong-Chih Kuo turned 29 Friday.