Mets stumble down stretch to let Dodgers win

LOS ANGELES -- A miserable day for the New York Mets ended with an exasperating loss.

First, they learned that cleanup hitter Carlos Delgado needs right hip surgery that will sideline him indefinitely. Then they lost reserve infielder Alex Cora to the disabled list because of a torn ligament in his right thumb -- keeping him from subbing for ailing shortstop Jose Reyes.

And once the game started Monday night, it only got worse.

Errors by Gold Glove center fielder Carlos Beltran and fill-in first baseman Jeremy Reed in the 11th inning cost the Mets, who had the go-ahead run taken away on an appeal play after Ryan Church missed third base in the Los Angeles Dodgers' 3-2 victory.

"I just feel terrible," Church said. "I mean, touching the bag is a simple thing to do. But obviously, I didn't. I think it might have turned the momentum a little bit."

The Mets committed five errors and blew a chance to take the lead in the 11th on a play that was right out of their 1962 playbook. Church singled with two outs against winner Ramon Troncoso (1-0) and came all the way around on Angel Pagan's drive to the fence in right-center.

But Church missed third base with his right foot and the Dodgers retired him on an appeal play. So instead of an RBI triple, Pagan had to settle for a single, his fourth hit of the game.

"We certainly got lucky," Dodgers manager Joe Torre said.

Church thought he touched the side of the bag.

"I felt like I nicked something, and that's why I kept going," he said. "I was walking back to the dugout and I heard the crowd scream, so I turned around. I mean, what can you do? When they call you out, they call you out. They're not going to reverse it."

The next half-inning was just as embarrassing for the Mets. Xavier Paul's flyball to left-center against Brian Stokes (1-2) fell between Pagan and Beltran -- who was charged with an error after the near collision.

"I called for the ball like six times," Beltran said. "But Pagan stood in the middle and I couldn't put my glove on the ball. On a ball like that, I have priority. If Pagan would have called for that ball, my job is to get out of the way. He's been in center field before, so he knows that when the center fielder calls for the ball, everyone has to get out of the way."

An intentional walk to Juan Pierre loaded the bases for Furcal, who flied out to shallow left with New York employing a five-man infield.

Beltran stayed near second base and the infield remained in for Hudson, who hit a routine grounder to first. But Reed, who entered in the 10th as a pinch hitter, tried for the force at the plate and threw wildly past catcher Ramon Castro, leading to a wild celebration by the Dodgers.

"I was just trying to put the ball in play in the air because they had the whole infield covered," Hudson said. "I didn't know what happened, but I knew something crazy happened because I heard the fans cheering. Then I turned around. OK, game over. We win. It's good."

Normally a backup outfielder, Reed replaced Fernando Tatis at first base. Tatis started again in place of Delgado, scheduled for arthroscopic surgery Tuesday.

The Dodgers have won five of their last six games, after dropping four of their first five following the 50-game suspension Manny Ramirez received for violating baseball's drug policy. They are a major league-best 27-13 overall, and 14 games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2006 season 88-74.

The Mets have lost two in a row after an 11-2 stretch.

Dodgers lefty Randy Wolf was charged with two runs and six hits over 7 2/3 innings, but ended up with a no-decision for the sixth time in seven starts.

Gary Sheffield tied it 2-all with a two-out RBI single off Los Angeles reliever Cory Wade in the eighth.

Reyes missed his fifth straight start because of stiffness in his right calf. Ramon Martinez started at shortstop for New York after being called up from Triple-A Buffalo and committed two errors.

Tim Redding came off the DL for his Mets debut, allowing two runs in six innings.

Game notes
The Mets are 76-55 since Manuel became manager, the best 131-game start by any of the 15 managers who lasted that long with the 48-year-old franchise. ... Beltran was 0 for 4 with a walk, ending his road hitting streak at 22 games and leaving him tied with Keith Hernandez for the franchise record.