DODGERS SWING, BUT THEY MISS AGAIN NEW YORK 3, DODGERS 0.
Dodgers right-hander Andy Ashby found the early-inning rhythm and consistency that had eluded him lately, allowing him to pitch six effective innings.
Now, if someone can find the Dodgers offense, that would be helpful. Or miraculous.
Unproductive when healthy, a no-hit type of lineup that was missing injured outfielders Dave Roberts and Brian Jordan and a resting Eric Karros was even more mediocre than usual.
It made for an almost breezy nine innings for Mets starter Pedro Astacio, who toyed with his former team, allowing two hits and striking out nine for his 11th career shutout as the Mets beat the Dodgers 3-0 Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
It was Astacio's first career two-hitter and the fewest hits the hapless Dodgers lineup produced this season. Astacio (6-2) has five career three- hitters.
Another former Dodger, outfielder Roger Cedeno, had a double and home run for the Mets. The Dodgers have six homers in their last 21 games.
``I know we are a better offensive team than we have shown to this point in the season, but I think there does come a point in time when you must give the other side credit,'' Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. ``Pedro Astacio pitched a fantastic game against us. There's no question about that. He had command of both sides of the plate. He mixed his pitches extremely well, and pretty much beyond the fifth inning when he started to throw his curveball for strikes at will, it was going to limit us considerably as far as mounting any kind of offensive threat against him.''
The Dodgers apparently have seen a pitcher's best more than any other club. The have been shut out a league-high seven times.
``Sometimes you see a guy pitching like (Astacio), you go up there and want to make your swings and make things happen,'' said Dodgers outfielder Hiram Bocachica, who went 1 for 4. ``I wasn't patient enough at the plate. I swung at too many bad pitches and sometimes when you do that, the pitcher takes advantage of that, and that's what happened.''
Karros and Roberts should be in the lineup today, but Jordan's health is an issue. First, it was his ailing left knee. Now, it is his aching back.
Jordan strained his lower back fielding Timo Perez's base hit down the left-field line in Monday's 11th inning against the Mets. Jordan eventually left the game and wasn't available for Tuesday's game. He was uncertain about a return date.
``I'm hopeful (about today), but I know they're not going to let me play until I'm healthy,'' Jordan said. ``They need me for the long haul, not the next two days or however long it takes.''
Jordan said he didn't believe the back injury was enough to send him to the disabled list. His unavailability, along with Roberts' sore right quadriceps, forced Tracy to scatter his lineup. Bocachica made his first career start in center field and catcher Paul Lo Duca started in left field. Lo Duca used one of infielder's Dave Hansen's gloves for his 14th career appearance in the outfield.
It made no difference to Astacio, who walked two and faced two batters over the minimum. The only hits were Bocachica's fourth-inning leadoff double down the left-field line - he was stranded at second - and Cesar Izturis singled to left with one out in the sixth. No Dodgers runner reached third base.
``He was on a mission and he accomplished that mission,'' Mets manager Bobby Valentine said.
(color) Dodgers third baseman Adrian Beltre applies tag on Roberto Alomar of the Mets in the first inning Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.
Crista Niles/Associated Press