New York will try to carry some momentum from a stunning victory and take the series from the Dodgers in Thursday's finale at Citi Field
After rallying for one run in the ninth inning to tie the score, the Mets (10-9) beat Los Angeles 7-3 on Wednesday on Jordany Valdespin 's walkoff grand slam in the 10th. Valdespin, who grounded out with a chance to tie the game in the eighth as a pinch-hitter, provided the franchise's sixth walkoff grand slam and first since Kevin McReynolds launched one against Montreal on June 25, 1991.
"Coming back and winning a game like that, that's huge for us as we move forward," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
New York is trying to win its fifth series in the seven it's played. It didn't win its fifth last season until its ninth series.
The Dodgers (9-11), meanwhile, are trying to avoid losing their fifth. They didn't lose their fifth of 2012 until their 17th series.
Despite the disappointing defeat, the Dodgers, who had won two in a row after a six-game losing streak, did see one positive as Matt Kemp homered for the first time this season and recorded three RBIs.
Kemp, who had been homerless in 86 at-bats going back to 2012, was more inclined to talk about the team's failure rather than his breakthrough.
"Home runs are going to come," he told the team's official website. "We don't need to talk about home runs. Talk about the game. We've just got to get better, score more runs, do a better job of everything. We've just got to win these games."
Kemp is batting .250 with a .355 slugging percentage, though he has hit safely in three straight games while going 6 for 13. His lowest slugging percentage was .448 as a rookie in 2006.
New York's comeback wasted a strong starting effort for Los Angeles from the 37-year old Ted Lilly , who held the Mets to one run over five innings in his season debut. The Dodgers will hope for a similar performance Thursday from first-year South Korean pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu (2-1, 4.01 ERA).
Ryu had been solid until he gave up five runs and eight hits - including two homers - over six innings Saturday at Baltimore. The left-hander had allowed one homer over his first three starts, and also yielded two walks Sunday after issuing three in his first 18 2-3 innings.
"I can't really make any excuses," Ryu said through a translator. "I wish the outcome was better. But I'll come back and do better next time. I'll just consider it a big learning experience."
The Mets counter with Jeremy Hefner (0-2, 7.07).
Home runs have been an issue all season as Hefner's surrendered seven in only 14 innings. He served up two while allowing three runs over four innings against Washington on Saturday.
Hefner has allowed two runs in four innings over three relief appearances versus the Dodgers.
Kemp tripled in his lone at-bat against the right-hander.
|Jerry Hairston Jr.||1||.000||0||0||0||0||0||.000||.000||.000|
|Los Angeles Dodgers|
|April 17, 2013||Chris Capuano||15-Day DL||Strained left calf|
|April 16, 2013||Chad Billingsley||15-Day DL||Right elbow surgery - out for season|
|April 13, 2013||Shawn Tolleson||15-Day DL||Strained lower back|
|April 12, 2013||Zack Greinke||Day-to-Day||Broken left collarbone|
|April 12, 2013||Zack Greinke||15-Day DL||Broken left collarbone|
|March 28, 2013||Ted Lilly||15-Day DL||Left shoulder labrum surgery|
|New York Mets|
|April 23, 2013||Jonathon Niese||Day-to-Day||Lower right leg contusion|
|March 22, 2013||Jenrry Mejia||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|March 22, 2013||Shaun Marcum||15-Day DL||Neck strain|
|March 22, 2013||Johan Santana||60-Day DL||Left shoulder surgery - out for season|
|March 22, 2013||Frank Francisco||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
NEW YORK (AP) -- From his very first pitch, Hyun-Jin Ryu heard the fans cheering for him.
A lot of them, anyway.
Boosted by plenty of road rooters, the South Korean rookie turned in his best performance yet and the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the New York Mets 3-2 Thursday on Andre Ethier 's tiebreaking single in the ninth inning.
"I was aware there are a lot of Korean Americans here in New York," Ryu said through a translator. "It was definitely encouragement."
A large Korean neighborhood is just one subway stop away from Citi Field, and Ryu had a lot of vocal support while holding the Mets to three hits in seven innings. He said the warm welcome was "a big strength for my pitching."
Also encouraging to the Dodgers was the key hit by the slumping Ethier off left-handed reliever Scott Rice .
"Over the years, there's been a lot of talk about him not hitting lefties," manager Don Mattingly said.
After Ryu and Mets starter Jeremy Hefner each left with no-decisions and the score 1-all, the Dodgers won a game decided by the bullpens.
Nick Punto opened the ninth with a double off Scott Rice (1-1) and moved to third on a grounder to the right side by Adrian Gonzalez . After an intentional walk to Matt Kemp , Mets manager Terry Collins visited Rice on the mound.
The left-handed Ethier put the Dodgers ahead with his hit, and Juan Uribe drove in another run with an infield single for a 3-1 lead.
"Just hope to get `Dre turned in the right direction," Mattingly said.
Ike Davis led off the Mets' ninth with a home run against Brandon League . But League, who gave up a ninth-inning lead Wednesday in a game the Dodgers lost in the 10th, closed for his sixth save.
Kenley Jansen (1-0) escaped a two-on, no-out jam in the eighth.
Ryu turned in his longest outing of the season. He struck out eight and walked three, bouncing back from a rough outing in Baltimore.
"My biggest takeaway from that last game was the first pitches. Today, I was able to effectively put the count to my advantage."
The 26-year-old lefty blanked the Mets on one single until the sixth. A leadoff walk to Ruben Tejada , a single by Daniel Murphy and a wild pitch on a breaking ball Ryu bounced set up David Wright 's tying sacrifice fly.
Ryu gave up a two-out double to Marlon Byrd before striking out Davis to keep the score tied at 1.
Hefner began the day with a 7.07 ERA and pitched his best game of the season, too. He limited the Dodgers to three hits in seven innings, striking out four and walking three.
"It's well noted that I was struggling, and to go out and throw seven innings when the bullpen needed it and give us a chance to win the series, that was all good things," Hefner said.
The Mets put runners at first and second with no outs in the eighth against Jansen before he struck out Wright, retired Lucas Duda on a fly and fanned Byrd.
"He kind of geared it up a notch," Mattingly said.
The Dodgers scored in the first when leadoff man Carl Crawford was hit by a pitch and Kemp hit an RBI single.
NOTES: Kemp went 11 for 24 (.458) with his first homer of the season and five RBIs on the six-game road trip. ... Uribe drew three walks before his single. ... Collins said LHP Jonathan Niese would have a bullpen session during the day and start as scheduled Sunday vs. the Phillies. Niese was hit near the right ankle by a comebacker Tuesday. ... Dodgers RHP Shawn Tolleson was set for surgery Thursday to repair a herniated disk in his lower back. He's expected to be out three to five months.