" Hero: Beltran had a two-run homer off Chris Young in the first, a two-run double in the third and an RBI single in the eighth.
" Not closed: Mets closer Billy Wagner gave up a run in the top of the ninth before Hoffman's meltdown in the bottom half.
" Quotable: "It doesn't matter how it happened. They got the job done. They're in first for a reason." -- Hoffman
-- ESPN.com news services
Mets 7, Padres 6
On a night when two of baseball's best closers struggled mightily in the ninth inning, the New York Mets bounced back to win with one final rally.
Carlos Beltran had five RBIs and Luis Castillo singled home the winning run off Hoffman in the ninth, helping the Mets beat the San Diego Padres 7-6 Tuesday in a back-and-forth game between playoff contenders.
"To come back like that against a guy like Trevor Hoffman -- that's a real big win for us. Absolutely amazing," Marlon Anderson said.
Beltran hit a two-run shot off Chris Young, who entered leading
the majors with a 1.93 ERA, and the NL East leaders won the opener
of a three-game series. San Diego is tied with Philadelphia atop
the wild-card standings.
Young allowed four runs and five hits in five innings and was lifted with pain in his lower back. He threw only 64 pitches.
Wagner (2-1) gave up a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to Kevin Kouzmanoff that put San Diego up 6-5, but Hoffman couldn't hold the lead.
Jose Reyes blooped a single to center and Castillo grounded a clean single up the middle off Hoffman (2-4). The throw from center by ex-Met Mike Cameron was a little wide, allowing Anderson to score standing up.
"Milledge hit the ball hard," Padres manager Bud Black said. "After that, they blooped a couple in and a groundball went through. Give the Mets credit."
It was the fourth blown save in 35 chances this season for Hoffman, baseball's career saves leader.
"It doesn't matter how it happened," he said. "They got the job done. They're in first for a reason."
Milledge, who got the decisive rally started, was not intimidated by Hoffman.
"For a right-hander, it's much easier to adjust to a changeup," Milledge said. "If it's a changeup, you just react to it and that's what I did."
Castillo, acquired from Minnesota before the trade deadline, was delighted about coming through in a clutch situation.
"I came here to help the team and now I want to keep it going," he said. "I feel like I'm contributing."
Cameron homered off John Maine to help the Padres come back from a three-run deficit. They took a 5-4 lead in the seventh when Cameron hit a tying double off Jorge Sosa and scored on Khalil Greene's go-ahead single.
Reyes led off the eighth with an infield single, stole second and scored on Beltran's tying single off ex-Met Heath Bell, who escaped further damage by striking out Carlos Delgado and retiring Moises Alou on a grounder.
Beltran hit a two-run double in the third, putting New York up 4-1.
Cameron opened the sixth with his 16th home run, on Maine's 100th pitch. Maine got the next two outs before Josh Bard doubled. Pinch-hitter Marcus Giles then tripled past Alou in left field, scoring Bard and chasing Maine.
In the seventh, Adrian Gonzalez singled with two outs and reached second on an error by Milledge in right field. Sosa relieved Schoeneweis, and Cameron doubled over Beltran's head in center. Greene followed with a single to give San Diego the lead.
Beltran, the NL player of the week last week with four homers, 10 RBIs and eight runs, put the Mets in front with his 25th home run and third in his last three at-bats. Beltran, who homered in his last two at-bats at Washington on Sunday, connected in the first inning after Castillo walked.
The homer was Beltran's ninth in 14 starts since July 19. He has six homers and 18 RBIs since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 10.
The Padres got a run back in the third on Milton Bradley's RBI single.
Delgado returned to the lineup after missing four games with a hyperextended left knee. ... Young committed a balk when he dropped the ball in the middle of his windup in the first inning. ... The first five innings were played in a steady drizzle. ... Maine threw 118 pitches in 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and six hits.