Wells controls himself, Mets in Padres' victory

Hero: Wells threw six strong innings in his first start since being suspended seven games for an argument on July 14. He is appealing.

Unsung hero: Michael Barrett went 3-for-4 with three RBIs in his best game since coming over from the Cubs.

Figure this: The Mets' lead in the NL East stayed at 1½ games since Atlanta also lost.

Quotable: "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 on his last pitch of the night, a knuckleball to Paul Lo Duca, who lined out to second

-- ESPN.com news services

Padres 5, Mets 1

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- David Wells was wearing an "Old Guys Rule"
T-shirt, which pretty much summed up his night.

Not only was Wells on his best behavior, but he threw a handful
of knuckleballs in six solid innings that helped the San Diego
Padres beat the NL East-leading New York Mets 5-1 on Monday.

Michael Barrett went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, 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

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

"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

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

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.

Game Notes
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.