"I told it to get up," Woodward said. "I've never done it before. I've got game-winning hits but I never got to run around the bases."
Woodward's pinch-hit homer with one out in the 11th inning gave New York a 3-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night. He was greeted at home plate by a bouncing bunch of teammates who patted him on the helmet in rhythm as he touched the plate.
"I've said from day one how important he is to our ballclub," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "He's been a gem, as far as I'm concerned."
Woodward, who is hitting .314, homered on an 0-1 pitch off Chris Hammond (5-1) after Mike Piazza, dropped to sixth in the order for the first time since May 12, 1993, singled with one out. It was the second game-ending homer this season for the Mets, who moved above .500 at 47-46. Cliff Floyd hit the first on June 11.
Braden Looper (3-4) pitched two innings for the win.
"To have that team back out on the field we'll see how it goes now," Padres starter Brian Lawrence said. "We're running out of excuses now that these guys are back."
Cliff Floyd homered off the scoreboard in right-center in the fifth, the Mets first base runner against Lawrence and tying it 1-all. Khalil Greene connected off Kris Benson to open the top of the fifth.
Then the Mets fell flat, leaving seven runners on base after the sixth inning. They had runners on first and second with one out in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings but failed to score against the Padres' bullpen.
"When you leave guys out there it gets to be a little bit frustrating," Randolph said, "but you can't think about that as you go along."
In the seventh, Doug Mientkiewicz grounded into a double play, and in the eighth Mike Cameron grounded into a fielder's choice and Carlos Beltran flied out. In the ninth, pinch-hitter Jose Offerman popped out and Miguel Cairo struck out.
Benson allowed five hits and two walks in seven innings, striking out four. Three of the hits were by Greene.
"Tonight was the hottest game I ever pitched in as far as sweating," Benson said of the extremely humid night. "You just try to keep the game within reach so the guys can win."
Lawrence had lost three consecutive starts coming in, but he was perfect for the first four innings and his only real mistake was Floyd's 23rd homer.
He was pulled after giving up two hits in the seventh and made a deliberate walk to the Padres dugout, scratching his head. Lawrence gave up five hits, walked none and struck out four.
"Unfortunately, he's pitched well but we haven't done too much for him," Greene said.
Center fielder Dave Roberts helped Lawrence with three catches at the wall in left-center after long runs, each more dangerous than the next. The first came in the third on Floyd's flyball, which he caught just in front of the wall.
In the fourth, Roberts ran down consecutive drives to the same spot in left-center, first running into the wall as he caught Cameron's fly, then sliding into the wall to catch Beltran's fly.
When he came to the plate in the top of the fifth, Roberts was booed by the Shea Stadium crowd of 37,945.
- Loretta and Nevin were a combined 1-for-8.
- The Mets-Cubs game Aug. 7 will start at 8:05 p.m. ET to accommodate national television. It was originally scheduled for a 1:10 p.m. start.
- Mets RHP Steve Trachsel (back surgery) is to make a rehab start Wednesday for Class-A St. Lucie.
- The Padres don't face an NL West team until they host Colorado Aug. 26-28.
- Roberts, the Padres leader in stolen bases with 16, was thrown out at second in the eighth inning by Piazza, who has thrown out just eight of 66 runners.