Mets manager Willie Randolph leaned over to bench coach Jerry Manuel and let him in on a hunch: Chip Ambres was about to make his trip back to the majors memorable.
Ambres got his first hit for the Mets in the most opportune spot, singling home the go-ahead run in the 10th inning on Sunday and sending the NL East leaders to a 5-4 victory over the NL West-leading Dodgers in Los Angeles.
``I get those feelings sometimes,'' Randolph said, ``and sure enough, the next pitch he got a hit on. So I'm happy for him because he's been in Triple-A and he's been around a while.''
``That was awesome,'' Randolph said. ``I was talking to the kid before the series started about how excited he was about being up here and how proud his dad was of him.
``I said to Jerry, 'He's going to get a hit here. He's going to come through and do it for his dad.'
Lastings Milledge singled with one out in the 10th against D.J. Houlton (0-1). Carlos Beltran singled and David Wright grounded to third, just beating the relay throw to avoid a double play. Ambres, who was recalled earlier in the week from Triple-A, then grounded a single past third baseman Nomar Garciaparra, who was playing in on the edge of the grass with two outs.
``I just wanted to put the ball in play and get that man in from third base,'' Ambres said. ``I had faced Houlton in Triple-A, and Marlon Anderson reminded me of the pitches that he had. He said Houlton likes to get ahead with the fastball and then comes back with the curve ball.''
It was Ambres' first hit since Oct. 2, 2005, for the Kansas City Royals at Toronto.
``Being able to come through in the clutch like that and help out the team, it's one that I'll always remember,'' Ambres said. ``It's unbelievable. I'm on Cloud 9.''
In other NL games, it was Florida 9, Cincinnati 3; Washington 3, Colorado 0; Milwaukee 7, San Francisco 5; Arizona 3, the Chicago Cubs 0; Philadelphia 9, San Diego 0; Pittsburgh 1, Houston 0; and St. Louis 7, Atlanta 2 in 10 innings.
Jonathan Broxton, who saved Saturday's 8-6 Dodgers victory, was summoned again in the ninth because Takashi Saito was sitting out his fourth straight game because of tightness in his right shoulder. But the Mets tied it when Matt Kemp allowed Shawn Green's fly to short right to fall for an error as pinch-runner Anderson Hernandez came home from third.
``It's definitely not fun to play right field here during the day,'' said Green, who plays the same position for the Mets and also played right field for the Dodgers. ``It can be really tough. It's hard see the ball off the bat, and you also have to deal with the sun.''
Pedro Feliciano (2-1) pitched a perfect ninth for the win after two perfect innings by Aaron Heilman. Billy Wagner worked the 10th for his 22nd save in 23 attempts, striking out three after allowing the potential tying and winning runs to get into scoring position on a wild pitch.
``It's an outstanding win on the road, a great gutsy win by the club,'' Randolph said. ``This is the kind of game that you might look back on at the end of the season and say this might have been a big turning point for us.''
Cardinals 7, Braves 2, 10 innings
At Atlanta, Skip Schumaker hit a two-run home run and Scott Rolen added a three-run drive in the 10th inning for St. Louis.
Schumaker, who entered the game in the eighth inning as a pinch hitter, drove a pitch from Tyler Yates (2-2) over the right-field fence for his second homer.
Jason Isringhausen (4-0) picked up the win with four strikeouts in two perfect innings and Albert Pujols also homered for St. Louis.
Marlins 9, Reds 3
At Miami, Dan Uggla broke a seventh-inning tie with a two-run homer off Bronson Arroyo (4-11), and the Marlins won their third straight against the Reds.
Marlins starter Rick Vanden Hurk trailed 2-0 after two batters but allowed no more runs and made it through six innings. Renyel Pinto (2-3) pitched the seventh for the win.
Nationals 3, Rockies 0
At Washington, Austin Kearns hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning off Jorge Julio (0-3) and four Washington pitchers combined to shut out the Rockies, who haven't scored in 20 innings and went 0-for-26 with runners in scoring position in the series.
Kearns' homer made a winner out of Jon Rauch (5-2). Chad Cordero worked the ninth for his 19th save.
Brewers 7, Giants 5
At Milwaukee, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart hit first-inning home runs off Barry Zito (7-10) as the Giants gave slugger Barry Bonds a night off. He is expected to resume his pursuit of Hank Aaron's record at home in San Francisco on Monday night.
Brewers starter Claudio Vargas (8-2) gave up three runs in six innings, and Francisco Cordero got three outs for his 31st save.
Diamondbacks 3, Cubs 0
At Chicago, Yusmeiro Petit (2-2) pitched six scoreless innings, Chris Snyder homered and the Diamondbacks won a road series for the first time in more than a month.
Cubs starter Sean Marshall (4-4) gave up one run and five hits in six innings.
Jose Valverde got three outs for his 30th save in 33 chances.
Phillies 9, Padres 0
At San Diego, Ryan Howard drove in two runs and J.D. Durbin (2-2) pitched his first career shutout to help the Phillies win their third straight.
Durbin, who has shuffled through four organizations this year, outpitched All-Star game starter Jake Peavy (9-5), who allowed four runs on nine hits.
Pirates 1, Astros 0
At Pittsburgh, Woody Williams (5-11) threw eight shutout innings and Luke Scott drove in the only run with a two-out single in the sixth.
Shane Youman (2-2) limited the Astros to four hits over eight innings but took the loss.
Brad Lidge followed Williams to pitch the ninth for his third consecutive save after not converting his first four opportunities earlier this season.

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