NEW YORK (AP) -John Maine stood on the mound with wrappers and napkins swirling around him in the chilly, 26 mph wind and decided to have some fun.
Why not? The Mets were on a roll and a win would give them their best homestand in more than 20 years.
Using mostly fastballs for the first time this season, Maine returned from an odd injury and pitched into the seventh inning, leading the New York Mets over the Los Angeles Dodgers 7-3 Wednesday for their seventh straight victory.
``The wind, the coldness, you can't do anything about it you just got to go out there and enjoy it,' Maine said. ``I've never seen my fastball move like that. I guess it was the wind.'
Angel Pagan had a two-run triple, helping the Mets beat the Dodgers for the third time in less than 24 hours. The Mets finished a 9-1 homestand, their best since going 9-1 from Sept. 12-22, 1988.
Recovered from a 4-8 start, New York heads into a weekend series at the NL champion Philadelphia Phillies atop the NL East at 13-9.
``I'm kind of anxious to see when we're hot, the opposition is hot and kind of see where that falls and see how we manage to play in that type of setting,' Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.
Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti criticized his team's execution before the game but Los Angeles lost its fourth in a row, dropping to 8-13.
``I was a lot more comfortable with the energy today,' Dodgers manager Joe Torre said. ``We battled it. I think the effort was there. We'll get it straightened out, eventually.'
After sweeping Dodgers in a doubleheader that began 4:10 p.m. Tuesday, the Mets quickly shook off the bed head and quickly got to 23-year-old right-hander John Ely, brought up to make his big league debut.
David Wright, who started awakening from a prolonged slump with four RBIs Tuesday, began the second with a double. Jeff Francoeur drove in a run with a fielder's choice and, an out after Ely appeared shaken when he hit Rod Barajas on a hand with a pitch, Pagan tripled in two runs. Cora capped the inning with an RBI double.
That's all the runs Maine (1-1) needed in his best outing of the season in his fifth start. The right-hander left his previous start after 3 2-3 innings with pain in his non-throwing elbow. He went past the fifth inning for the first time this season.
Maine began throwing extra bullpen sessions after his start in Colorado on April 13 in an effort to improve the speed on his fastball, which has been a couple of miles per hour off.
On Wednesday, the ball was moving well. He struck out nine - eight against the Nos. 2-6 batters.
Manuel also was impressed with his demeanor, joking in the dugout and showing confidence on the mound.
``It's just not getting into the mental part where something does happen to try to do something more,' Maine said. ``When there were guys on base I just tried to do the same thing I did when they weren't on base.'
Maine walked three and gave up a two-run homer to Russell Martin but only gave up four hits. He struck out the side in the sixth, then was removed after a leadoff walk in the seventh.
Maine gave up three runs - two earned - and threw 101 pitches.
Ely (0-1), pitching because opening day starter Vincent Padilla is on the 15-day disabled list with pain in his upper right forearm muscle, gave up five runs and six hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out four.
Ely had about eight family members and 10 friends in the crowd.
``It certainly is an experience the first time out. I was just trying to focus on keeping the ball down and throwing strikes,' Ely said. ``I actually felt pretty good. I think overall it was an OK performance.
The Dodgers scored an unearned run in the third, when Jose Reyes' throw on Matt Kemp's grounder bounced in the dirt and scored Jamey Carroll, who singled.
Hot-hitting rookie Ike Davis and Jason Bay had RBI hits in the seventh that made it 7-3.
NOTES: The Mets won seven straight May 4-10 last year. 1B Carlos Delgado went on the DL May 11 and was lost for the season. ... The Mets also went 9-1 on a homestand in 1969. ... Andre Either struck out six times in his first 18 games, and fanned his first three times up Wednesday.
The Associated Press News Service
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