Twins' skid reaches four
NEW YORK -- David Wright homered and drove in two runs to back a solid start by Mike Pelfrey, and the New York Mets beat the Minnesota Twins 5-2 Friday night in the opener of an intriguing interleague series between playoff contenders.
Jason Bay added a long RBI double and the Mets took advantage of two rare defensive miscues by Minnesota to win for the 15th time in 19 games. Jose Reyes drove in a run and scored another as New York improved to 27-11 at home with its 13th victory in the past 15 games at Citi Field.
The Mets, who began the day a half-game behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East, are a major league-best 22-8 since May 22. The slumping Twins, who entered with a half-game lead in the AL Central over Detroit, have lost four straight and six of eight.
New York ace Johan Santana faces his former team for the first time in the regular season when the series resumes Saturday.
Pelfrey (10-2) gave up a leadoff homer to Denard Span and little else. The big right-hander threw 117 pitches in six innings, allowing two runs and six hits without a walk.
Bobby Parnell and Pedro Feliciano each worked a perfect inning before Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 20 chances.
With a full count on Michael Cuddyer, Mets manager Jerry Manuel and a trainer came out to the mound to check on Rodriguez as all the infielders huddled behind him. It was unclear what was bothering the All-Star closer, but he threw one warmup pitch and stayed on to get the final two outs without much problem.
Span's third career leadoff homer put Minnesota in front, but the Mets scored three times in the fourth to go ahead for good.
Reyes opened with a soft single for the first baserunner against Slowey (7-5), who was tagged for seven runs and seven hits in 12/3 innings in his previous start at Philadelphia. Reyes advanced to second when Slowey made a wild pickoff attempt for an error.
One out later, Wright pulled an RBI double down the left-field line and Ike Davis followed with a single to center. Wright was held up at third, but Span's throw to the plate was way off line and it bounded away from catcher Joe Mauer, allowing Wright to score on the error.
It was the second costly mistake by the Twins, who pride themselves on strong defense and fundamentals. Span stayed face down on the center-field grass for a few moments as if he'd just blown Game 7 of the World Series.
Bay added a run-scoring double off the bottom of the left-center fence, making it 3-1.
Nick Punto hit a leadoff double in the fifth and Span had an RBI groundout, a long shard of his broken bat sticking in the infield grass like a javelin.
In the bottom half, Ruben Tejada hit a leadoff double off the left-center wall and scored on Reyes' sacrifice fly with a neat, headfirst slide around Mauer.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire came out for a civilized argument with plate umpire Greg Gibson.
Wright opened the sixth with his 13th homer, a drive into the second row in the right-field corner on an 0-2 pitch. It was the third home run this season at spacious Citi Field for Wright, who began the day leading the NL with 57 RBIs.
Wright has a club-record 22 RBIs in interleague play this year, most in the majors. New York is 12-4 against AL teams.
Pelfrey escaped trouble in the third when he struck out Mauer and got fellow slugger Justin Morneau to ground into an inning-ending double play with two on.
NOTES: Minnesota placed LHP Jose Mijares on the restricted list as they wait for him to return from Venezuela. His stint on the family medical emergency list just expired. ... Cuddyer made his fifth start this season at third base. ... CF Angel Pagan (muscle spasms in right side) and C Rod Barajas (back) sat out again for the Mets. Josh Thole got his first start of the season behind the plate. ... Mets CF Carlos Beltran, recovering from offseason knee surgery, was the DH in his second rehab game at Class-A St. Lucie.