Mets rough up Penny; Dodgers' NL West lead shrinks

NEW YORK (AP) -- While Jose Reyes was all smiles describing the first inside-the-park homer he'd ever hit, Pedro Martinez couldn't wait to tease the young shortstop -- in two languages -- about the popup that clanked off his glove.

Reyes had the biggest hit in the New York Mets' 7-0 victory Thursday night over the Los Angeles Dodgers, a three-run, speed-driven homer that was more than enough offense for Tom Glavine, who won for the first time in more than a month.

"Nothing happened, I just dropped it," Reyes said of his miscue in the seventh inning that led to Glavine's departure.

Martinez had plenty to say about it. As Reyes spoke near the pitcher's locker, Martinez held a kid's glove outstretched until he got Reyes' attention. He then went into a stumbling dance to mimic his young teammate as he teased him in English and Spanish.

And the Mets can continue to laugh as their place in the postseason is virtually assured. Their magic number to clinch their first NL East title since 1988 is down to seven.

Glavine made the Dodgers' playoff hopes look shakier. After a seven-game winning streak, Los Angeles has dropped four of five, its NL West lead cut to a half-game over San Diego. The Dodgers have been outscored 31-11 in the losses and been shut out twice.

"It's been a team struggle, but we'll get out of this," manager Grady Little said. "We've been rather streaky. I don't have the answers."

The Mets are enjoying plenty of streaks. They haven't allowed a run in 25 innings, a pitching clinic that started in the third inning of their doubleheader sweep over Atlanta on Wednesday. New York has back-to-back shutouts for the first time in two seasons.

And to see Glavine pitch so well was encouraging for everyone on the Mets' side of the field.

Glavine (13-6) was sharp in his first Shea Stadium outing since Aug. 5, the date of his previous win and before a blood clot in his pitching arm sidelined him for two weeks. The left-hander worked into the seventh inning for the 14th time this season.

In his second appearance since the ailment, Glavine yielded five hits but no walks in 6 1/3 innings and earned his 288th major-league victory -- but just his fourth in 14 starts dating to June 18. Glavine had three perfect innings and never faced more than five batters in any frame.

"You can only feel good about pitching well so much. Obviously the end result is what matters," said Glavine, who tied Tommy John for 23rd place on the wins list. "I felt better my last time out, but that's just a matter of not being out there in a while. Hopefully, the next time through will be much more normal and I'll feel like I did the last time out."

After Glavine got out of a first-inning jam, the Mets offense went to work against Brad Penny.

The big ballpark in Queens is the big right-hander's personal house of horrors: He fell to 1-8 at Shea and saw his ERA there rise to 6.75 in 10 career starts.

Penny (15-8) gave up seven runs and 10 hits -- including a home run to Jose Valentin and a pair of doubles to Shawn Green -- in 5 2/3 innings. He dropped to 3-10 against the Mets.

"That's one of the best lineups in the National League," said Penny, the NL's only 15-game winner. "There were a couple of times where they hit good pitches."

With New York already leading 4-0 in the sixth inning and runners on second and third, Reyes launched a drive halfway up the right-center field fence that bounded past Matt Kemp back toward the infield. Reyes, the major-league leader with 16 triples, jumped into overdrive around second base and never broke stride as coach Manny Acta waved him around third and the huge crowd rose in anticipation.

The fleet-footed Reyes did a belly-flop slide across the plate -- to manager Willie Randolph's dismay -- and scored easily with his 18th homer. He soaked in the cheers for a few moments and then received congratulations from his equally excited teammates.

He was back out for a curtain call as Penny was replaced by Joe Beimel.

Reyes can do no wrong in the eyes of Mets fans, who showered him with cheers from the crowd of 48,583 after he dropped the popup.

Toby Hall followed the error with a single, ending Glavine's night. Former Dodgers pitcher Guillermo Mota loaded the bases with a walk to Rafael Furcal but got Julio Lugo to foul out, ending the inning.

The Mets scored twice in the first on Carlos Beltran's RBI single and David Wright's sacrifice fly. The Mets have scored a team-record 122 first-inning runs.

Valentin's 15th homer made it 3-0 in the second, and New York tacked on another run in the sixth when second baseman Jeff Kent tried to nail Wright at the plate two batters before Reyes' shot.

Game notes
Green, who went 6-for-8 with two homers in Wednesday's doubleheader, is 12-for-28 against Penny with five doubles. ... Kaz Matsui had New York's other inside-the-park homer this season, April 20 in San Diego. They have 22 overall, but only seven at Shea. ... Glavine passed Jim Kaat and moved into 32nd place on baseball's career strikeouts list with 2,463. ... Los Angeles hadn't allowed an inside-the-park homer since Tony Gwynn's grand slam on June 26, 1997.