Cory Sullivan homered and made a diving catch in left field to help the New York Mets, boosted by Bobby Parnell's stellar start, beat the Chicago Cubs 6-2 on Friday night.
Pinch-hitter Fernando Tatis came through with a tiebreaking single that triggered a five-run eighth inning. Sullivan had an RBI single during the outburst and Omir Santos added a two-run single.
Parnell pitched seven shutout innings, striking out seven in the best start of his brief career. The rookie allowed five hits and escaped a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the seventh.
It was an encouraging performance for the fourth-place Mets, auditioning Parnell for a 2010 starting role as they play out the string this season. The hard-throwing right-hander, who spent much of the year in the bullpen, was roughed up in his previous three starts, including last Saturday by the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Carlos Zambrano delivered a solid outing for the Cubs, allowing only Sullivan's solo homer in six innings. The big right-hander yielded three hits and struck out seven, but remained winless in five starts since July 22.
Brian Stokes (2-4) gave up Jeff Baker's tying single with two outs in the eighth but got the win.
Francisco Rodriguez, pitching on his bobblehead night, entered with the bases loaded in the ninth and got two outs for his 29th save in 34 chances. He retired Aramis Ramirez on a popup and struck out pinch-hitter Jake Fox.
It was only the second time since July 30 that the Mets won consecutive games.
The Cubs began the day six games behind NL wild-card leader Colorado. Before the game, manager Lou Piniella said left fielder Alfonso Soriano is out indefinitely with a sore left knee.
Piniella said the team plans to hold Soriano out of the lineup for a while, giving him time to rest and treat his ailing knee. Piniella said at some point the club will "revisit" the situation, but he's not sure when.
Sullivan hit his first homer with the Mets in the second inning, a drive to right that reached the railing above the facade of the second deck.
He also made a terrific grab in the fifth, robbing Kosuke Fukudome of a hit.
With the score tied at 1 in the eighth, Luis Castillo beat out an infield single. David Wright, who struck out his first three times up, singled to left-center off Kevin Gregg (5-6), sending Castillo to third.
Tatis put New York ahead with an opposite-field single to right off left-hander John Grabow.
NOTES: Mets CF Carlos Beltran (knee) made his third rehab start for Class-A Brooklyn. He played seven innings in center field and went 0 for 3 against Lowell. ... Sullivan also walked twice during a perfect night at the plate. ... Cubs 1B Derrek Lee missed his second consecutive game to be with his wife, who gave birth to their second child early Thursday morning. Piniella said he expected Lee back on Saturday. "I hope he remembers it's a day game," Piniella said, laughing. Micah Hoffpauir started at first base. ... The Cubs also recalled infielder Bobby Scales from Triple-A Iowa and claimed right-hander Thomas Diamond off waivers from Texas.