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Blake homers as Dodgers fend off Mets again

CASEY Blake belted a sixth-inning home run to help the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the New York Mets 5-3 on Tuesday for a third straight win.

With the Dodgers trailing 2-3, Blake clubbed New York's starting pitcher John Maine deep to left field to fire Los Angeles to its second victory in the three-game set.

"Home runs are the product of getting good pitches to hit and putting a good swing on them," Blake told reporters. "I'll take them when I can get them."

Blake's team-high ninth homer for the season came after a two-game layoff with a sore hamstring, and helped Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley improve to 6-1.

The 24-year-old Billingsley struck out seven batters in 6 1/3 innings despite laboring through the first four innings with 86 pitches. Reliever Jonathan Broxton made his 10th save by pitching a perfect ninth.

Elsewhere in the National League, it was: Pirates 8, Nationals 5 (in 10 innings); Phillies 4, Reds 3; Braves 8, Rockies 1; Diamondbacks 5, Marlins 3; Brewers 4, Astros 2; Cardinals 3, Cubs 0; and Padres 2, Giants 1.

In the American League, it was: Tigers 4, Rangers 0; Yankees 9, Orioles 1; Athletics 4, Rays 1 (in 11 innings); Red Sox 2, Blue Jays 1; Royals 6, Indians 5; White Sox 6, Twins 2; and Angels 6, Mariners 5.

In Los Angeles, David Wright added an RBI in the third inning to put the Mets 3-1 up, after Maine made a two-run single in the second.

But Billingsley cut the deficit with an RBI double in the fourth before Blake's long bomb two innings later.

New York had runners in scoring position in the seventh and eighth innings but could not conjure a hit.

Since losing first baseman Carlos Delgado to hip surgery, the Mets have dropped three straight.

But the league-leading Dodgers (28-13) have shrugged off the absence of suspended slugger Manny Ramirez, banned for 50 games in May after testing positive for a performance enhancing drug.

After losing four of their first five games without Ramirez, Los Angeles has since lifted to win six of its last seven. The NL West champions extended their division lead over San Francisco to 7 1/2 games.

The Dodgers' Orlando Hudson sustained a light shoulder injury in the seventh while diving for a single, but would only miss "a day or so", manager Joe Torre said.

"He's just a little bruised in the shoulder. We were thankful for that," said Torre of Hudson, one of the Dodgers top hitters with a .341 average and 27 runs batted this season.


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