The New York Mets don't want to rush All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes back from a hamstring injury. The way his teammates are filling in, Reyes may get all the time he needs for a thorough recovery.
Angel Pagan, Carlos Beltran and Daniel Murphy had RBI doubles in the sixth inning after the Mets were held hitless through five by Rubby De La Rosa, and they went on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-2 on Monday night.
"That's the only way we've played," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Guys have just stepped up."
Chris Capuano (8-7) allowed six hits and two runs in six innings. The left-hander struck out five and walked two in winning his third decision in a row.
"I didn't feel like I really had my best stuff out there, so it was kind of a grind," he said. "I'd been feeling like I was in a pretty good groove up until probably my last start and this start. Sometimes you get a little off with your mechanics and you just have to try to find what's working that day and try to go with it."
Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth to earn his 21st save in 24 chances.
Collins said he's willing to play with a 24-man roster for a few days while Reyes recovers from a strained left hamstring rather than immediately placing him on the disabled list, ensuring he would be out 15 days. Reyes plans to run before Tuesday's game and if he feels no pain, he may play, although the Mets might hold him out another day or two as a precaution.
Reyes left Saturday's game against the Yankees after feeling tightness while running to first base in the first inning. The Mets have won their last two games without him.
De La Rosa (3-4) gave up five hits and three runs over seven innings in his sixth career start, struck out five and walked a season-low one while losing his fourth straight outing. One of his victories came in relief.
"We were attacking early with De La Rosa and weren't getting very good pitches to hit," Collins said. "Cripes, we didn't build his pitch count up at all."
Ruben Tejada singled to open the sixth for the Mets' first hit. He was 2 for 4 with a run scored filling in at shortstop for Reyes.
"I didn't lose my concentration or my focus after the first hit," De La Rosa said. "I was pitching the same. Everything was working for me. I thought I was attacking the zone aggressively, but in the sixth I was behind a lot in the count."
Pagan was 2 for 5 with two runs scored while hitting in Reyes' leadoff position. His RBI double snapped an 0-for-11 slide and keyed the Mets' comeback in the sixth.
"De La Rosa was pitching really well," Pagan said. "We were chasing some of his pitches close to the plate, but we were able to make the adjustment and win the ballgame."
Pagan prefers to hit lower in the lineup, but he's filled in for Reyes leading off before.
"Last year I did really good with men in scoring position. I told Terry, based on the numbers, I'd rather be in the middle of the lineup," Pagan said. "But leading off is something I've done pretty much my whole minor league career and three years in the big leagues. It's nothing new for me. I can do it. I told Terry whenever they need me to do it, I'll do it."
After Capuano sacrificed Tejada to second, he scored on Pagan's RBI double to right field. The Mets tied the game at 2 on Beltran's double to right with two outs.
Murphy followed with a double to right, scoring Beltran and giving the Mets a 3-2 lead. They added two runs in the eighth on RBI singles by Jason Bay and Lucas Duda.
Bay hit the auxiliary scoreboard in left field while catching a ball hit to the warning track by Aaron Miles in the seventh, bringing back memories from a year ago when Bay crashed into the left-field fence at Dodger Stadium and sustained a season-ending concussion.
After doing what he described as a "system check" on himself, Bay said he smiled at the thought of what a good story it would make later for writers covering the game. He said kneepads he was wearing absorbed some of the blow.
The Dodgers' runs came on RBI singles by James Loney in the second and fourth that scored Matt Kemp both times.
"Just made a couple poor finishing pitches," Capuano said. "We had a good game plan, I just didn't execute that game plan late in the count."
Andre Ethier was 0 for 4 with a strikeout and didn't hit a ball out of the infield, while Kemp was 1 for 2 with two walks, one intentional, for the last-place Dodgers, who dropped their third in a row and fifth in their last six. They fell a season-worst 12 games below .500.
NOTES: The Dodgers purchased the contract of INF-OF Eugenio Velez and optioned SS Dee Gordon to Triple-A Albuquerque. ... In 16 starts, Capuano has yet to allow a run in the first inning, the only major league pitcher with a minimum of five starts to do so. ... The Mets improved to 13-15 on the road on July 4.