That's the kind of afternoon it was for the New York Mets.
"Yesterday everybody was wishing we could Franco in the ninth," manager Bobby Valentine said. "Today they got their wish. Sometimes that gets the laughter out of the guys. It wasn't planned, but it is a by-product."
The Mets remained a half-game in front of Atlanta in the NL East because the Braves lost to San Francisco 5-2.
An injury to the middle finger on the right hand of starter Rick Reed (10-4) forced Valentine to go to the bullpen in the second inning. By the ninth, even the relievers needed relief.
Franco took the mound for the second time in his career and reliever Chuck McElroy went to left field.
"The first time was fun," Franco said. "This time I wanted to get out of there as soon as I could. Hopefully we won't be in that position too many more times."
Franco, who allowed a homer to GeralWilliams in his only other appearance on July 2 against Atlanta, allowed a leadoff single to Paul LoDuca and three walks to score a run.
"He threw me a couple of curveballs, maybe a slider and a fastball, I guess," said Todd Hollandsworth, who walked on four pitches with the bases loaded. "I was going to take him deep. I wasn't looking for a little single."
McElroy made a nice running grab of Craig Counsell's fly to left and with the crowd chanting, "Let's go Franco," Dave Hansen was called out on strikes for the second out. Hansen wasn't in any mood to talk after the game.
Franco got Trenidad Hubbard to fly out to end the inning.
Mondesi hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning on reliever Pat Mahomes' first pitch. With two outs in the seventh, Mondesi once again hit Mahomes' first pitch over the wall in left for a two-run homer. Mondesi has 24 homers and four multihomer games this year.
Mondesi passed up a chance for a third homer, letting LoDuca bat for him in the ninth against Franco.
"I don't mind facing a pitcher who throws 100 mph, but I didn't want to face him," Mondesi said. "It just messes up your concentration. You don't know where he's going to throw it. I didn't want to take a chance."
Dreifort (9-11) allowed two runs one earned and six hits in 6 1-3 innings, while striking out seven. The right-hander, who hit .327 with 22 homers as a DH for Wichita State in 1993, also went 1-for-2 with the homer, a walk, three RBIs and two runs scored.
"He can crush the ball," Dodgers catcher Todd Hundley said. "He's so strong. You should see what he does in batting practice. It makes me want to quit the game."
Eric Karros went 3-for-4 with two doubles and four RBIs for the Dodgers, who won consecutive games for the first time since July 19-20 against Pittsburgh.
Reed (10-4) left the game in the second inning with a strained right middle finger after allowing an RBI double to Todd Hundley and a two-out walk to Counsell. An MRI showed no structural damage and Reed will see a hand specialist Monday. It is uncertain if he can make his next start Friday in San Francisco.
Masato Yoshii, making his second career relief appearance after 49 starts, came in and allowed Dreifort's homer to center. It was his second career homer, the other coming July 28, 1998, against Arizona's Omar Daal.
"I'm a pitcher," Dreifort said. "Hitting's fun for me. I got a good pitch to hit and that's what happened."
Reed, who had won his previous seven decisions since June 5, allowed three runs and two hits in 1 2-3 innings.
Dreifort was also involved in the Dodgers' five-run fifth inning. He led off with a walk against Yoshii and moved to second on Mark Grudzielanek's single. Two outs later, Karros hit a two-run double. After Hundley walked, Mondesi homered to make it 8-1.
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