SAN DIEGO -- David Wells was wearing an "Old Guys Rule" T-shirt, which pretty much summed up his night.
Michael Barrett went 3-for-4 with three RBI, his best game since coming over in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on June 20. Mike Cameron homered for the Padres, who led the NL West at the All-Star break before falling into second place behind Los Angeles after losing two of three at Arizona over the weekend.
Wells (5-5) was pitching for the first time since he was suspended for seven games and fined $3,000 by the commissioner's office for his animated argument with an umpire on July 14.
Wells appealed, so the penalty can't start until after a hearing and a decision.
The 44-year-old lefty broke out the knuckleball for the first time since throwing one to Jose Canseco more than a decade ago.
"He popped up to third and cursed me all the way to first. I loved it," Wells said.
"Hell, I don't throw 90 anymore, so I might as well invent something else. Wilbur Wood out there, huh?" he said, referring to the left-handed knuckleballer who pitched in the majors from 1961-78.
Wells' last pitch of the night was a knuckleball to Paul Lo Duca, who lined out to second.
"He just eyeballed the hell out of me," Wells said. "I just looked and said, 'My bad, Dawg! That was a good one.'
"To me, it's another pitch in the arsenal. I'm not going to get carried away. You pick your spots with it. My other stuff's pretty good, too, so I'll stick with that."
Wells, who had a pretty good curveball going, allowed one run and seven hits, struck out two and walked one. The Padres have won his last four starts after losing nine of his first 14.
Barrett said he caught Wells in a side session during the weekend and the lefty bounced knuckleballs off his mask and shoulder.
"I don't know if he learned it from Tim Wakefield or if he's just been playing around with it, but it's a real good pitch for him," Barrett said. "The thought of even playing around with a knuckleball just shows how talented he is."
In his final start before the break, Wells was ejected by Ed Hickox for questioning calls. The portly pitcher had to be restrained by San Diego manager Bud Black, two coaches and catcher Josh Bard, then fired a ball against the screen as he walked off the field.
On Monday night, the only hint of disagreement Wells seemed to have with home plate umpire Chad Fairchild was when he didn't get the call he wanted on an 0-1 curveball to Lastings Milledge in the fifth. Wells, who's barked plenty at umpires this season, simply hopped in disappointment.
"With an aggressive team like us, Wells pounded the strike zone," said New York's David Wright, who had three hits. "This offense runs best when we're drawing some walks, having long at-bats. We didn't do that tonight. You have to tip your cap to him."
Mets right-hander Jorge Sosa (7-4) lost in his return from the disabled list. He had been out since July 1 with a strained left hamstring.
Barrett hit a two-run single in the second off Sosa and added an RBI single off Aaron Heilman in the eighth.
Heilman also gave up Cameron's leadoff homer to center in the eighth, his 12th.
Wells didn't allow a baserunner until Sosa got his first career double with two outs in the third.
Trailing 2-0, the Mets broke through in the fourth with three straight one-out hits. Wright singled to right, advanced on Carlos Delgado's hit to right and scored on Lo Duca's grounder between shortstop and third base. Shawn Green then grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Mets had runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth when Wells got Carlos Beltran to ground to second.
Beltran is 1-for-16 with five walks since his All-Star start. ... Rickey Henderson was in uniform in San Diego for the first time since playing for the independent -- and now defunct -- Surf Dawgs in 2005. Henderson was hired last week as the Mets' first-base coach. Henderson played for the Padres from 1996-1997 and again in 2001, when he got his 3,000th hit on the last day of the season, which was the last game of Tony Gwynn's career. ... The Mets optioned RHP Mike Pelfrey to Triple-A New Orleans.