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Vicente Padilla gives Dodgers another strong start, but this time it's not enough as Mets win, 6-1

July 23, 2010 | 10:00 pm

Dodgers1_300 This time, strong starting pitching wasn’t enough for the Dodgers.

Vicente Padilla (pictured at right) gave them a third consecutive outstanding start, but was outpitched by the Mets’ Johan Santana. All that before the Dodgers bullpen imploded.

So the Dodgers' mini-winning streak was snapped at two, the Mets rolling on to a 6-1 victory Friday that returned the Dodgers to six games behind the San Diego Padres in the National League West.

There was little more that Padilla could have done. Save for one pitch to Ike Davis, he was just as masterful as starters Chad Billingsley and Hiroki Kuroda had been before him.

Padilla went seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits. He struck out six and did not walk a batter. Fifty-five of his 77 pitchers were strikes. During one stretch, he retired 17 consecutive Mets.

Padilla (4-3) was simply continuing his recent string of strong outings. In his last six starts, he has a 1.30 earned-run average.

The Mets, however, got to him for an unearned run in the first.

Jose Reyes led off the game with a double. Luis Castillo was able to beat out a bunt for a single to put runners on the corners.

Padilla struck out Angel Pagan and David Wright, but on the latter Castillo took off for second. When catcher Russell Martin fired to second, Reyes broke for home.

Martin’s throw was on line and Pagan would have been out for an inning-ending double play … except Dodgers second baseman Blake DeWitt dropped the ball for an error.

There was nothing unearned about the Mets’ second run. Padilla tried to throw one of those slow, looping curveballs past Davis and the first baseman waited patiently and rocketed it into the left-field pavilion for his 14th home run.

With Mets outfielders making a series of outstanding catches, Santana had the game in control for New York.

Like Padilla, Santana (8-5) wasn’t messing around, consistently throwing strikes. He gave up one run on five hits in his seven innings. Of his 98 pitches, 74 were strikes.

The only run the Dodgers scratched together off Santana came in the fifth when Martin led off with a double, advanced to second on a DeWitt groundout and scored on Jamey Carroll’s flyout to shallow right.

After the starters called it a night with the Mets clinging to a 2-1 lead, New York broke the game open against the Dodgers' bullpen.

Manager Joe Torre utilized four different relievers, all of whom struggled. Jeff Weaver walked two and James McDonald allowed a sacrifice fly and an intentional walk.

New left-handed specialist Jack Taschner then looked a lot like the old left-handed specialist (George Sherrill), walking the left-handed Davis.

Travis Schlichting’s first pitch was then lined by Jason Bay for a bases-clearing double.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

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