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Mets Lose Wild Card Lead


Dave Mlicki didn't waste any time pitching in 101-degree heat with no breeze. He moved quickly through his former Mets teammates, striking out a season-high nine batters.
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  • "Everything felt great all night," he said. "I didn't walk anybody, which helped a lot and kept the pitch count down."

    Mlicki got offensive support from batterymate Tom Prince, whose tie-breaking two-run double in the seventh inning helped the Los Angeles Dodgers beat New York 4-2 Sunday night.

    New York's loss, coupled with Chicago's 4-3 victory at Colorado, left the Mets and Cubs tied for the NL wild-card lead.

    "I thought he was real fine," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said of his former pitcher. "He threw both of his breaking balls for strikes and his changeup. He got comfortable after a while."

    Mlicki (8-6) went the distance, giving up two runs on eight hits and retiring the last 13 in a row. The right-hander has beaten his former teammates twice since being traded on June 4.

    "Anytime you can finish a game it's a good feeling," he said. "It was hot at first, but luckily, it cooled off."

    Prince, who started when Charles Johnson was a late scratch because of stiffness in his right shoulder, doubled home pinch-runner Adrian Beltre and Mark Grudzielanek to put the Dodgers ahead 4-2.

    "I want to catch a good game first," said Prince, who threw out Edgardo Alfonzo attempting to steal second base in the fifth. "If I get a couple hits, grat."

    Prince went 2-for-3, including a double to left field in the fifth when the Dodgers trailed 2-0. Grudzielanek singled to left before Prince and Eric Young tied the game on a two-out RBI double to left.

    "We were a little flat at the beginning," Young said. "That hit seemed to give everybody a lift and we got two more after that."

    Dodgers right fielder Gary Sheffield sprained his left ankle in the eighth during a rundown between third base and home plate after Raul Mondesi was picked off and tagged out in a rundown between first and second on the same play. Sheffield was to have X-rays later Sunday.

    "Another blow after the win. That's a big concern," Dodgers manager Glenn Hoffman said. "That's a big guy to replace and I don't want to think of that."

    Carlos Baerga gave New York a 1-0 lead in the second when he hit a 3-1 pitch over the right-field wall. Alfonzo added a solo homer on a 1-1 pitch in the third.

    "Solo home runs are never going to kill you," Mlicki said. "I made two bad pitches and they hit them."

    Masato Yoshii (5-8) took the loss, giving up four runs and seven hits in six-plus innings. He struck out five and walked none.

    Notes

  • Mets catcher Mike Piazza left the game with a bruised right shoulder after former teammate Young fouled a ball off him in the first inning. Piazza fouled out to first base in his only at-bat. "He's going to let me know tomorrow," Valentine said. "It got him pretty good right on the shoulder tip."
  • New York catcher Todd Hundley left the team Sunday to join Triple-A Norfolk for a rehab assignment beginning Monday night in Durham, N.C.
  • The game was played in 100-plus temperatures for the second straight day.
  • Hoffman said Johnson is day-to-day. "It's the first time ever he's walked in the door and said something," Hoffman said, referring to Johnson asking for the day off.

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