Mets beat San Diego, 5-3

August 7, 2008 4:01:51 PM PDT
David Wright hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth inning after the Mets bullpen blew another late lead for Johan Santana, lifting New York to a 5-3 victory over the San Diego Padres on Thursday. Santana, just 9-7 in his first season with the Mets, left with a 3-1 lead in the eighth. It was the sixth time in 24 starts this season that the bullpen cost him a potential win, and in five of those the collapse came in the ninth inning. He has eight no-decisions, and in seven of those allowed two runs or fewer.

Second baseman Argenis Reyes had started a spectacular double play in the eighth to preserve the lead.

Wright's drive off Heath Bell (6-5) was his 21st of the season and came after he committed base running blunders in each of the first two games of the series and a costly error in New York's 4-2 loss Wednesday night.

The Mets moved within two games of NL East-leading Philadelphia and remained a half-game behind second-place Florida, which opens a three-game series at Shea Stadium on Friday night.

New York led 3-1 Thursday when Luis Rodriguez and pinch-hitter Edgar Gonzalez singled off Santana.

Manager Jerry Manuel was booed when he brought in Duaner Sanchez, who hit Scott Hairston with his first pitch, loading the bases. Pedro Feliciano came in and induced pinch-hitter Brian Giles to hit a grounder that Reyes turned into a forceout at the plate. Adrian Gonzalez then singled in a run, with Hairston sliding into third base and holding, and Joe Smith relieved.

Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a hard grana back up. ... The Mets said ticket sales had reached 3.86 million, the third straight season they set a team record. New York projects it will draw 4 million in its final season at Shea Stadium. ... A handful of construction workers at Citi Field stood on the roof of the new ballpark and watched the game. One even danced to music played over the public address system. ... Headley got his first career steal when Santana caught him off first but he beat Evans' poor throw to second. ... Mets C Ramon Castro left in the fifth inning because of a sore right ankle.