Mets spoil Torre’s return to NY
By: By The Associated Press
Joe Torre had a few feel-good moments in his managerial return to New York. There was, after all, that nice smattering of applause when he made a pitching change in the seventh inning. But David Wright and the suddenly resurgent New York Mets made sure Torre couldn’t fully enjoy the experience, taking advantage of a rare catcher’s interference call to beat his Los Angeles Dodgers 8-4 on Thursday night. Always popular in town, Torre managed his first game in New York since parting ways with the Yankees last October after 12 winning seasons. When many fans in the crowd of 52,886 at Shea Stadium cheered during that pitching change, Torre waved while walking back to the dugout. “That made me feel good. Considering the game, it made me feel good,” Torre said. “It was nice. The fact that I started it here. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago, but I look at the calendar, and it was.” The big blow for the Dodgers came in the fourth inning, with the Mets leading 2-0. With two outs and none on, pitcher Claudio Vargas appeared to ground out — it looked so routine he basically stopped running. But catcher Russell Martin was called for tipping Vargas’ bat, and the career .082 hitter was awarded first base. “Sometimes you hear it, sometimes you see it, sometimes you do both. I could see it and I heard it. It was pretty clear,” plate umpire Bill Welke said. “Once or twice a year.” Said Vargas: “First time I’ve gotten on base this year. It’s like I had to cheat or something.” The Mets took full advantage as Jose Reyes followed with a single, Luis Castillo hit an RBI double and Wright connected for his 11th homer and a 6-0 lead. “I should have known he has a long swing like that,” Martin said of Vargas. “Take away that blunder that I had, it’s a different ballgame. I take responsibility for that.” In other NL games Thursday, it was San Francisco 4, Arizona 3; Pittsburgh 7, Cincinnati 2; Atlanta 8, Milwaukee 1; the Chicago Cubs 8, Colorado 4; San Diego 5, Washington 2; and St. Louis 3, Houston 2. Wright had his first multihomer game of the season and eighth of his career for the Mets. He picked on a familiar victim, improving to 11-for-19 (.579) with four home runs and five walks against Dodgers starter Brad Penny (5-6). “It’s no secret that his best pitch is a fastball. When he gets behind, I gear up for a fastball,” Wright said. “I’ve gotten lucky a lot of times.” Penny’s problems at Shea continued as he fell to 1-10 lifetime at the ballpark that’s in its final year. The two-time All-Star didn’t fare any better against the Mets three weeks ago at home when they tagged him for a career-high 10 runs in 42/3 innings. Cardinals 3, Astros 2 At St. Louis, Kyle Lohse (5-2) carried a shutout into the seventh inning and Albert Pujols homered to cap a 6-for-10 series, helping St. Louis beat the Astros. Roy Oswalt (4-5) allowed three runs in seven innings, losing to the Cardinals for the first time in 11 starts dating to Sept. 27, 2005. In other Astros’ news of local interst, the team signed Ripley High School product Ray King Thursday to a minor league contract. Cubs 8, Rockies 4 At Chicago, Alfonso Soriano’s two-run single capped a late charge for the streaking Cubs. Matt Herges (2-2) picked up the loss in relief of Jeff Francis, while Michael Wuertz (1-1) got the win despite allowing Ian Stewart’s RBI double to left in the seventh inning. Braves 8, Brewers 1 At Milwaukee, Mark Teixeira homered and drove in four runs and Chipper Jones went 2-for-4 to raise his major league-leading average to .420. Jorge Campillo (2-0) got his first RBI in his fourth career start for the Braves. Brewers starter Seth McClung (2-2) worked out of trouble in the first four innings, allowing only an RBI single to Teixeira in the third, before faltering in the fifth. Giants 4, Diamondbacks 3 At Phoenix, Randy Johnson fanned nine to tie Roger Clemens for second in career strikeouts, but Arizona’s bullpen blew a lead and Randy Winn’s ninth-inning homer gave the Giants the win. Tony Pena walked in the tying run in the eighth, then Chad Qualls (0-5) gave up the homer to Winn. Arizona was swept for the second time in three series and has dropped eight of 10. Johnson, who left the game with a 3-2 lead after seven innings, has struck out 19 — in 13 innings — in his last two starts to tie Clemens with 4,672 strikeouts. Tyler Walker (3-3) pitched a scoreless eighth to get the victory. Pirates 7, Reds 2 At Cincinnati, Jason Bay and Xavier Nady each had a homer and a double to help Pittsburgh snap the Reds’ home winning streak at nine games. Phil Dumatrait (2-2) allowed one unearned run and two hits in seven innings, beating the team that let him get away last October. Aaron Harang (2-7) lasted only four innings and give up a season-high six runs. Padres 5, Nationals 2 At San Diego, Jody Gerut hit a three-run homer with one out in the eighth inning to help the Padres take two of three in a matchup of last-place teams. Khalil Greene and Michael Barrett followed with singles off Saul Rivera (3-3), who made way for Charlie Manning. He allowed Gerut’s shot into the seats down the right-field line. Heath Bell (2-3) pitched the eighth inning for the win. Trevor Hoffman pitched a perfect ninth for his 11th save in 13 chances.