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Wright swipes four of Mets' record seven stolen bases

SAN FRANCISCO -- Carlos Beltran figured it was better to be aggressive than wait around.

Beltran turned his one-out, ninth-inning double into an easy tiebreaking run by stealing third, one of New York's franchise-record seven stolen bases, and the Mets beat the San Francisco Giants 7-4 on Thursday night.

"Sometimes you're going to have to steal bases to win games," Beltran said. "Once I got to second I knew we were going to score at least that run. I'm trying to pick up the spot and let Sheff [Gary Sheffield] drive me in. He got the walk and David got the big hit."

Wright singled in Beltran to give the Mets a 5-4 lead and tied a club mark with four steals, accomplished twice by Vince Coleman and equaled by Roger Cedeno in 1999.

"I got a few opportunities early," Wright said. "I like putting pressure on the defense, and I like to keep the pitcher on his toes to make him focus on the baserunners."

Wright had three hits and drove in two runs for New York, which has won nine of 11. Sheffield and Beltran each had two hits and Ramon Castro had two RBIs.

Sheffield and Alex Cora also stole a base for New York, which ran wild on the basepaths with speedy shortstop Jose Reyes sitting out with a stiff right calf. The team had swiped six bags on four occasions, the last time on Sept. 15, 2007, against Philadelphia.

"I think we've been aggressive in late-inning situations," manager Jerry Manuel said. "It was nice to see that type of fight against a very good pitcher."

New York also was without reliever J.J. Putz and first baseman Carlos Delgado. Putz had a cortisone shot to alleviate inflammation in his right elbow, and Delgado's ailing hip kept him out of the lineup.

Bobby Parnell (2-0), subbing for Putz in the eighth inning, gave up RBI hits to Jose Uribe and Edgar Renteria to leave the game tied at 4. Renteria departed with a sore left hamstring after his infield single.

"It's tight," Renteria said. "Hopefully tomorrow it will get better."

The Mets responded with three runs in the ninth. Beltran hit a one-out double off Brian Wilson (2-1) and swiped third, barely beating Bengie Molina's throw. After Sheffield walked, Wright lined an RBI single into right field.

"That was a close call at third and it went their way," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Still, we have to do a better job."

Sheffield and Wright executed a double steal and scored on Castro's two-out single to right.

"If the guy is out it's a completely different inning," Wilson said of Beltran's close steal. "It was definitely a different mentality after that. Up until then I was doing a good job of holding runners on. But the past doesn't count."

Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 10 opportunities, shaking off Molina's leadoff double.

Molina had two hits and drove in a run for the Giants, who lost two in a row for the first time since a six-game slide April 10-16.

John Maine worked 6 2-3 innings for New York, allowing two runs and seven hits. He also contributed offensively, going 2 for 3 to record his first career multihit game.

Jonathan Sanchez gave up four runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings for San Francisco.

"I thought it was a better outing for him," Bochy said. "He kept his concentration better."

Sheffield helped New York get off to a fast start in the opener of a 10-game trip. He singled in Cora in the first, and doubled and scored on Sanchez's wild pitch in the third to give the Mets a 3-2 lead.

Sanchez allowed his first runs at home this season, and has given up 13 runs over his last 14 2/3 innings.

Molina hit an RBI single and Randy Winn added a sacrifice fly in the first for the Giants.

Game notes
Giants RHP Sergio Romo pitched a scoreless inning for Class A San Jose in his first rehab appearance. ... Giants OF Andres Torres begins his rehab Friday with San Jose. ... Giants OF Nate Schierholtz missed the game with a bruised rib. ... The Mets have won the last six season series over the Giants. ... Maine was 0 for 11 with one sacrifice entering the game. ... Wright is 11 for 21 (.524) against left-handed pitchers this year and is a career .353 hitter against them.