Wright drives in game-winner as Mets beat Dodgers

NEW YORK (AP) -- Orlando Hernandez hadn't faced Greg Maddux since
the 1999 World Series, and their latest matchup felt every bit like
a duel in October.

If they meet again, it will be.

Hernandez allowed one earned run in seven innings, and David
Wright's two-run single after Maddux left tagged the 40-year-old
pitcher with a loss Saturday as the New York Mets beat the Los
Angeles Dodgers 3-2.

Just as El Duque did pitching for the Yankees in the World
Series opener seven years ago, he got the best of Maddux again.

"For me it was kind of cool because it brought back good
memories," said Maddux, who was pitching for Atlanta then.

The Mets are all but in the playoffs, and the Dodgers are in a
fight to get there.

New York won for the second time in three games against the
Dodgers in the matchup of NL division leaders. The Mets lowered
their magic number for clinching the East to five, while Los Angeles
maintained a 1-game lead over San Diego, which lost to San
Francisco 5-4 in 11 innings Saturday.

"I'm not thinking of the postseason. I'm thinking of my next
start," Hernandez said. "When you're not clinched, it's no good
to think about the playoffs."

Wright went 3-for-3, and his go-ahead hit with two outs in the
sixth off Brett Tomko, the third Dodgers pitcher of the inning,
gave the Mets their major league-leading 29th one-run victory.

The Dodgers thought Wright should've been called out on a close
2-2 slider, but the young third baseman hung in and hit a
full-count fastball up the middle to score Jose Valentin and Carlos

"He did a good job making pitches," Wright said. "It was a
battle all along."

Maddux was staked to a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth but got
lost because of his intentional walk to Beltran -- his last hitter
and the only free pass he issued.

Maddux (12-13) lost his second straight start and fell to 3-2 in
eight outings with the Dodgers. He allowed all three runs and five
hits in 5 1/3 innings, quite an improvement from his previous two
starts this season against New York when he gave up 12 earned runs
in 13 innings with Chicago.

Hernandez (10-10) was masterful, keeping the Dodgers off balance
with changeups, curves and sliders that hovered in the 70-80 mph
range, and fastballs that reached the low 90s.

"He's a master at what he does," Mets manager Willie Randolph
said. "He can go up in the zone and overpower you when he has to
with his fastball, then he can also drop and finesse you."

After Rafael Furcal's leadoff double on the second pitch of the
game, El Duque retired 15 straight hitters before running into
trouble in the sixth.

No. 8 hitter Russell Martin singled and advanced to second when
Maddux faked a bunt and swung away. Shortstop Jose Reyes was
covering second, and had to range deep in the hole to field the
grounder. His throw to first bounced in and out of the glove of
first baseman Carlos Delgado, allowing Maddux to reach on the

Furcal sacrificed, and Kenny Lofton drove in Martin with a
single to center. Maddux advanced to third on the base hit, then
was caught in a rundown when Nomar Garciaparra grounded into a
fielder's choice. J.D. Drew followed with a broken-bat RBI single
to put Los Angeles in front 2-1.

Hernandez got Jeff Kent to ground out with runners on first and
second to limit the damage.

He worked around a leadoff walk in the seventh and finished by
getting pinch-hitter Marlon Anderson on a broken-bat grounder.
Hernandez yielded four hits, one walk and struck out six. Billy
Wagner got three outs for his 36th save in 41 chances and 14th

With one out in the sixth, Valentin doubled, bringing Dodgers
manager Grady Little out of the dugout. Maddux walked Beltran and
was lifted after only 72 pitches, worn out after running the bases.

"I was tired," Maddux said. "We talked about the intentional
walk and I was OK with it."

Tim Hamulack got Delgado -- who hit his 37th homer in the second
inning -- on a long fly to center before Wright's hit gave the Mets
a 3-2 lead. Hernandez won for the third time in five starts and has allowed
only two earned runs in three outings since yielding a career-worst
11 in four innings at Philadelphia on Aug. 15.

Game notes
Mets RHP Pedro Martinez pitched a four-inning simulated
game and reported no problems. Martinez, out since Aug. 15 with a
strained right calf, threw 75 pitches -- 45 in game conditions. He
is expected to start next weekend in Pittsburgh. ... Delgado was
3-for-21 off Maddux and 2-for-15 on the homestand before his homer.
... The Dodgers held a closed-door pregame meeting. Little declined
to discuss it.