Bellinger slams sinking Mets; Dodgers win 5-2 behind Wood
NEW YORK (AP) — One timely swing by slumping Cody Bellinger turned a nip-and-tuck game in favor of the Dodgers.
Bellinger hit a grand slam to break a scoreless tie in the sixth inning and Los Angeles beat the sinking New York Mets 5-2 on Friday night behind Alex Wood's effective pitching.
"Yeah, it felt good," said Bellinger, who began the night batting .231. "I was just honestly trying to hit the ball any way I could and luckily I connected."
Yasiel Puig added a solo home run in the ninth, and the defending NL champions won their 10th straight against the Mets dating to May 2016. Los Angeles has outscored New York 75-20 in those games, winning each of the past eight by at least three runs — a first in Dodgers history against any opponent, according to STATS.
Wood (3-5) outdueled Zack Wheeler, allowing two runs and six hits in six innings to win consecutive starts for the first time since last August.
"With the last two, I feel I've made some steps forward, for sure. You've just got to keep building on it," Wood said.
The left-hander with the funky delivery struck out seven and walked one as the resurgent Dodgers (39-35) improved to 23-9 since May 17 — the best mark in the majors during that stretch.
"I thought he threw the ball really well. So he's back, for me," manager Dave Roberts said . "He seems very confident now."
Jose Bautista hit his first homer for the Mets, a two-run shot in the sixth.
"It's nice to get on the board," he said. "Hopefully a couple more coming."
An error by second baseman Max Muncy gave New York a chance in the eighth, but with runners at the corners Scott Alexander got Bautista to ground into an inning-ending double play on the next pitch.
Muncy made the turn after a smooth play by shortstop Enrique Hernandez.
"It'll help him sleep a lot better tonight," Roberts said.
Alexander tossed two shutout innings, and Kenley Jansen fanned two in a perfect ninth for his 19th save.
New York wasted a dazzling catch by center fielder Michael Conforto that saved a run. After opening 11-1, the Mets (31-42) have lost four in a row and 21 of 27 to fall a season-worst 11 games under .500. They are 1-11 in their past 12 home games and have gone 14 straight at Citi Field without eclipsing four runs.
"No real reason to explain it," rookie manager Mickey Callaway said. "I wish we were playing better for our home fans and giving them more wins. They deserve more wins."
Wheeler (2-6) walked the first two batters in the sixth — though his full-count pitch to leadoff man Joc Pederson certainly appeared to be in the strike zone. One out later, Matt Kemp blooped a single to right field to load the bases.
Bellinger connected on an 0-2 delivery, launching a 96 mph fastball into the second deck in right for his second career slam. Last season's NL Rookie of the Year entered the day hitting .179 with runners in scoring position.
"He was kind of blowing it by me all day. But then again, he's got three other pitches so you can't sell out 100 percent. Like I said, I just tried to have a short swing," Bellinger said.
SOMETHING TO GROW ON
In the opener of a three-game series, Wheeler went seven innings but dropped to 0-5 in 10 starts since his last win April 29 at San Diego. He threw 114 pitches, his most since returning to the mound last year after missing two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery. "Walked them and ended up paying for it," Wheeler said. "Thought I threw well tonight. In essence, just that one pitch."
Dodgers: SS Chris Taylor sat out because of a tight left hamstring. He was available off the bench — probably just to hit, according to Roberts. ... Reserve infielder Chase Utley was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list after missing 19 games with a sprained left thumb. ... Rookie RHP Walker Buehler (right rib microfracture) is scheduled to throw 20-30 pitches in a bullpen session Saturday. He could return to the rotation without a minor league rehab assignment, Roberts said. Buehler is 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA in nine big league starts.
Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (strained ligament in right index finger) was scheduled to play catch. ... OFs Yoenis Cespedes (tightness in upper right quad) and Jay Bruce (strained right hip) will not resume baseball activities until they are free of symptoms. ... 3B David Wright (shoulder, back surgery) planned to hit in the indoor batting cage and go through other baseball activities on the field.
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (1-4, 2.76 ERA) is set to make a surprise return from the disabled list Saturday night, starting against Jacob deGrom (5-2, major league-low 1.51 ERA) in a marquee matchup — weather permitting. Kershaw has been sidelined since June 1 with a lower back strain. He originally was scheduled for a rehab start Saturday with Triple-A Oklahoma City at Omaha, but heavy rain in the forecast caused the team to change plans. The three-time Cy Young Award winner and 2014 NL MVP, who also missed nearly all of May with left biceps tendinitis, will be limited against the Mets, with 21-year-old rookie LHP Caleb Ferguson (0-1, 7.59 ERA) ready in reserve.