Peavy, Padres end Mets' four-game winning streak

Padres 7, Mets 5

NEW YORK (AP) -- Jake Peavy stepped off the mound and escaped to his own little island. While the crowd got revved up, he tried to settle down and envision a perfect sequence of pitches.

Pretty neatly done.

Prone to becoming overly excited, Peavy escaped an early bases-loaded jam and went on to lead the San Diego Padres to what he called a "must win," beating the New York Mets 7-5 on Wednesday night.

"This is the best team in the National League in my mind," Peavy said. "We had to have this game tonight, to give ourselves a chance to win the series. And we had to come back after a tough loss last night."

Peavy struck out 11, stopped New York's four-game winning streak and slowed down the Mets -- if not Jose Reyes, who set a team record for stolen bases.

A day after the Mets rallied to beat Trevor Hoffman, they scored three times in the ninth before the career saves leader closed them out.

Hours after major-league ERA leader Chris Young returned to San Diego because of a bad back, Peavy (14-5) delivered the big performance the NL wild-card leaders needed.

"I definitely took some extra responsibility on myself. While he's out, somebody's got to step up," he said.

Peavy limited the Mets to two hits over six innings. Hoffman got two outs for his 32nd save in 36 chances, following his ninth-inning meltdown in a 7-6 loss.

Hoffman's 514th career save came with a little excitement. Second baseman Geoff Blum dropped David Wright's popup but managed to get a forceout and, after Carlos Beltran hit an RBI single, Carlos Delgado struck out to end it.

Delgado's bat slipped out of his hands on the final pitch and went helicoptering back toward Hoffman, who managed to avoid getting hit.

"I just didn't have good at-bats. It's that simple," Delgado said. "We had the opportunity, no question. But we didn't come through."

Down 1-0, the Mets loaded the bases with a pair of one-out walks in the third. In the past, Peavy might've stomped around. Instead, the All-Star righty kept cool.

Peavy slipped a slider past Beltran for strike three and then retired Delgado on a fly to the edge of the warning track in left. While the crowd hoped the ball might carry, Peavy walked toward the third-base dugout and never turned around to look.

"It's a challenge to keep your emotions in check here. You can't even hear yourself think and then the jets are flying overhead," he said. "In San Diego, it doesn't get that kind of crazy."

Peavy earned his fifth straight win, improved to 8-0 on the road and increased his league-high strikeout total to 186. He also tied Andy Benes for the most strikeouts in Padres history with 1,036.

About the only thing Peavy didn't do was take over the ERA lead from Young. At 2.21, Peavy trails his teammate's 2.12.

Reyes did his best to rattle the Padres, stealing three bases and setting a Mets mark with 67 in a season.

"Anytime you break a record, it's great. But like I said before, I'm not here to set records. I want to get on base and help us score runs," he said.

The NL East leaders swiped five in all but saw their winning streak come to an end. Seven times this year the Mets have won four in a row; once again, they failed to make it five.

The Mets set a franchise record by scoring at least five runs for the 10th straight game. Jeff Conine, in his first at-bat since being traded from Cincinnati to the Mets, had a pinch-hit RBI single in the ninth.

Khalil Greene drove in three runs for the Padres and Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a pair of RBI doubles.

Brian Lawrence (1-1) fell behind early against a familiar team. He started on Opening Day for the Padres in 2003 and 2004.

The Padres, like the Mets, have never pitched a no-hitter. Peavy came out so strong that he at least seemed to have the Shea Stadium crowd of 50,060 worried -- when Reyes singled in the fifth for the Mets' first hit, there was a prolonged cheer of relief.

Reyes, who earlier stole second and third to tie the mark Roger Cedeno set in 1999, then teamed up with Wright on a double steal. Beltran hit a two-run double that made it 4-2.

Game notes
Peavy is 10-0 on the road since losing Sept. 8 at San Francisco. ... Wright tied a team record by drawing four walks in a nine-inning game. Many Mets have accomplished the feat. ... The Padres edged ahead in the all-time series between the teams, 208-207. ... Beltran has 21 RBIs in his last 10 games. ... Reyes had the sixth three-steal game of his career.