Published May 08, 2011
| Associated Press
NEW YORK – Now that it's over, Andre Ethier is ready to put his 30-game hitting streak behind him.
"I compare this to a bad breakup," he said. "It was a fun little ride."
His final chance for a hit came in the eighth inning, but he struck out swinging at a pitch well off the plate with a runner on first. He was more upset by his poor at-bat than the end of the streak.
"That last at-bat was a tough out, swinging at the chase pitch," Ethier said. "Maybe I can start focusing on driving the ball more."
Ethier fell one game shy of the Dodgers record set by Willie Davis, who had a 31-game hitting streak in 1969.
The previous three major leaguers with 30-game hitting streaks also failed to reach 31: Ryan Zimmerman (2009), Moises Alou (2007) and Willy Taveras (2006). The last player to surpass 30 was Chase Utley (35) in 2006.
The Mets snapped an eighth-inning tie when pinch-hitter Justin Turner's bases-loaded drive to deep center glanced off the glove of center fielder Matt Kemp and went for a long two-run single. Kemp sprinted toward the wall and tried to make an over-the-shoulder catch, but couldn't do it.
The Dodgers have lost nine of their last 13, falling a season-worst four games below .500 at 15-19.
"We're better than this," manager Don Mattingly said. "We need to continue to get better in all areas."
Then, there's the off-field troubles.
The Dodgers needed a $30 million loan from Fox, their television partner, earlier this year and may not have enough cash to make payroll at the end of the month. Commissioner Bud Selig has appointed a monitor who must approve any expenditure by Los Angeles of $5,000 or more and Selig may attempt to force a sale of the team.
Ethier's hitting streak was a nice distraction. Now that's gone, too.
"(The end) would have come a lot easier if we had found a way to turn this around," Ethier said.
Emergency starter Dillon Gee pitched effectively into the sixth and Jason Pridie had a career-high three hits — one night after his three-run homer sent the Mets to a 6-3 victory in the series opener.
Jason Bay started the eighth with a walk against Mike MacDougal (0-1) before Hong-Chih Kuo came in and retired Ike Davis on a popup. Pridie dropped down a sacrifice bunt, but Kuo threw the ball over the head of first baseman James Loney for an error that left runners at first and second.
Paulino appeared to have an obstructed view and he retreated toward first base before Turner shoved him to keep from passing him on the bases. That held Turner to a single, and Paulino stopped at second.
Tim Byrdak (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning for his first win with the Mets and Francisco Rodriguez got three quick outs for his third save in three days. It was his ninth save in 10 chances — and his first 1-2-3 inning this season.
The Mets ran themselves out of a scoring chance in the seventh on Jose Reyes' second baserunning blunder of the night.
The Dodgers were wasteful, too. They left 14 on base and went 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Mets scheduled starter Chris Young was scratched shortly before the game began. The Mets said Young couldn't get loose in the bullpen. Gee started in his place.
He held the Dodgers to one run through five innings, but was yanked after allowing the tying run with one out in the sixth.
The Mets took a 2-0 lead in the second on Josh Thole's sacrifice fly and Reyes' single to center.
Dodgers starter Jon Garland gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings.
"We know we're better than this. We just need to keep pushing along," Garland said. "It's not a sprint. Don't get too worried, hopefully we can get into a nice little stretch."
NOTES: Citi Field was known as a pitcher's park in its first two seasons, but 37 homers had been hit there this season entering Saturday, third in the NL behind Chase Field in Phoenix (52) and Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati (51). ... Navarro picked off an inattentive Reyes at first with an easy, looping throw to end the second. ... Clips from "Seinfeld" were shown on the big screen all night, and the actor who played the Soup Nazi made an appearance in the stands, giving DVDs to trivia contest winners. After Wright's double in the fifth, character Kenny Bania was shown saying "That's gold, Jerry! Gold!" ... Kemp stole his 11th base in the seventh.