|L.A. Dodgers «||0||0||4||1||1||3||0||0||0||9||14||0|
NEW YORK -- Maybe the Los Angeles Dodgers should try some more first-time starters.
Stults, a 26-year-old left-hander making his first major league start, combined with three relievers on a three-hitter. On Friday, Hong-Chih Kuo and three relievers teamed on a four-hitter in a 5-0 win.
"There's no way we could ask for any better," Dodgers manager Grady Little said. "We had two kids that we knew we could put out there with decent stuff, that we knew they would compete."
Kenny Lofton gave Stults the lead with a three-run triple in the third off a shaky Steve Trachsel, and Nomar Garciaparra added a three-run homer and four RBI for the Dodgers, who remained 1½ games ahead of second-place San Diego in the NL West. The Padres beat the Giants 10-2 Sunday night.
The Mets, who beat Brad Penny and Greg Maddux in the other two games of the series, saw the magic number for clinching their first NL East title since 1988 trimmed to four when Philadelphia lost to Florida.
Pitching in place of Mark Hendrickson, who is working on his mechanics while pitching in relief, Stults gave up a single up the middle to his second batter, Endy Chavez, and didn't allow another hit until Jose Reyes homered to left-center with two outs in the sixth.
After Chavez's hit, Stults got Paul Lo Duca to hit into an inning-ending double play.
"I had to kind of regain my composure and, fortunately, after that I kind of settled in and felt really comfortable," Stults said. "You get through that first inning and nothing was hurt, put up a zero, it's always easier to go out there the next inning. It takes a little pressure off."
Stults (1-0) struck out three and walked two, throwing 86 pitches, and he also got his first major league hit. He was 10-11 with a 4.23 ERA this season at Triple-A Las Vegas, then allowed three runs and five hits over three innings in his major league debut Tuesday at Milwaukee.
"That helped a lot. That took a lot of the nervousness away," he said.
Stults' wife, 7½-month-old daughter, parents and in-laws all were on hand to watch. He had spoken to his wife about the start Saturday night.
"She was asking, `Are you nervous?' I decided to kind of tell her and tell myself that it's still baseball. You still have to go out and execute pitches," he said.
Stults and Kuo spent much of the last few years together as they both came back from elbow ligament replacement surgery.
"It was special watching Kuo go out and do what he did," Stults said. "That helped a little bit. He kept cheering me on today."
There was a solemn ceremony before the game marking Monday's fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but by the sixth inning it resembled a spring training contest at Vero Beach or Port St. Lucie, with both teams liberally substituting.
Trachsel (14-7) lost his second straight start after going 12-1 in an 18-start stretch from May 23 through Aug. 29.
After Trachsel retired his first six batters, Los Angeles loaded the bases on three second-inning singles. Lofton, who had been 0-for-6 with the bases full this year, batted with one out and worked the count to 3-2, then pulled a high fastball down the right-field line.
His helmet flipped off as he rounded second and he easily made it to third with a triple, then scored when Garciaparra singled over third baseman David Wright with the infield in.
"It's something mechanical I'm doing, something that's causing me to miss pitches or miss location," Trachsel said.
Perhaps putting his postseason starting spot in jeopardy, he allowed four runs, five hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings, with his ERA rising to a season-high 5.17. Trachsel couldn't throw his curveball for strikes.
"Every once in a while, he's going to have a bad one," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "I'm not concerned. He'll turn it around."
Fans booed as Trachsel walked off the mound.
"I don't know how I looked, but I'm definitely not happy," he said.
"At this point," Lofton said, "we have to just win."
|Eric Stults pitches with poise against the Mets, giving up just one earned run in six innings of work. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Rafael Furcal, SS||4||2||3||1||0||0||0|
|a- Ramon Martinez, PH-2B||1||0||0||0||0||1||1|
|Kenny Lofton, CF||4||1||1||3||0||0||3|
|Matt Kemp, CF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Nomar Garciaparra, 1B||3||1||2||4||1||0||0|
|James Loney, 1B||1||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|J.D. Drew, RF||3||0||1||0||1||0||2|
|Jason Repko, RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|Jeff Kent, 2B||4||1||1||0||0||1||2|
|Julio Lugo, 2B-SS||1||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|Marlon Anderson, LF||3||0||0||0||1||0||2|
|Delwyn Young, LF||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Wilson Betemit, 3B||4||1||1||1||0||1||3|
|Russell Martin, C||2||2||1||0||1||0||0|
|b- Toby Hall, PH-C||2||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|Eric Stults, P||2||1||1||0||0||1||2|
|c- Olmedo Saenz, PH||1||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|Elmer Dessens, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Mark Hendrickson, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|d- Oscar Robles, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1|
|Aaron Sele, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|a-struck out for Furcal in the 7th|
|b-popped out for Martin in the 7th|
|c-singled for Stults in the 7th|
|d-grounded out for Hendrickson in the 9th|
|3B - Kenny Lofton (, Trachsel), Jeff Kent (, Bannister)|
|HR - Nomar Garciaparra (, Bannister)|
|SF - Wilson Betemit ()|
|SH - Eric Stults ()|
|RBI - Rafael Furcal (), Kenny Lofton 3 (), Nomar Garciaparra 4 (), Wilson Betemit ()|
|SB - Rafael Furcal (, 2nd base off Bannister/Lo Duca), Russell Martin (, 2nd base off Bannister/Lo Duca)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|DP - Betemit-Kent-Garciaparra, Betemit-Kent-Garciaparra|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Eric Stults (W,-)||6||2||1||1||2||3||1|
|Pitches-Strikes - Eric Stults 86-54, Elmer Dessens 26-15, Mark Hendrickson 13-9, Aaron Sele 10-6|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Eric Stults 5-8, Mark Hendrickson 1-2, Aaron Sele 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Eric Stults 20, Elmer Dessens 6, Mark Hendrickson 3, Aaron Sele 3|
|New York Mets|
|Jose Reyes, SS||3||1||1||1||0||0||1|
|Darren Oliver, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|a- Ricky Ledee, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Chad Bradford, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Endy Chavez, CF||4||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|Paul Lo Duca, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||1|
|Julio Franco, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Carlos Delgado, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Shawn Green, 1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|David Wright, 3B||1||0||0||0||2||0||0|
|Mike DiFelice, C||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jose Valentin, 2B||3||0||1||0||0||1||1|
|Michael Tucker, RF||2||0||0||0||1||0||1|
|Lastings Milledge, LF||3||0||0||0||0||2||3|
|Steve Trachsel, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Royce Ring, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|b- Chris Woodward, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Brian Bannister, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|c- Anderson Hernandez, PH-SS||2||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|a-lined out for Oliver in the 8th|
|b-walked for Ring in the 3rd|
|c-struck out for Bannister in the 6th|
|HR - Jose Reyes (, Stults)|
|RBI - Jose Reyes ()|
|2-OUT RBI - Jose Reyes ()|
|Team LOB - 4|
|New York Mets|
|Steve Trachsel (L,-)||2.2||5||4||4||2||1||0|
|Pitches-Strikes - Steve Trachsel 67-36, Royce Ring 5-2, Brian Bannister 72-42, Darren Oliver 30-21, Chad Bradford 18-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Steve Trachsel 2-5, Royce Ring 1-0, Brian Bannister 2-6, Darren Oliver 3-1, Chad Bradford 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Steve Trachsel 15, Royce Ring 1, Brian Bannister 17, Darren Oliver 8, Chad Bradford 4|
|Attendance - 48760|
|Game Time - 2:50|
|Temperature - 71|
|Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Bill Miller, Second Base - Eric Cooper, Third Base - Gerry Davis|