Mets 7, Dodgers 5

On an afternoon in which Pedro Martinez clearly didn’t have his best stuff, and Carlos Beltran spent the early innings working on his Juan Samuel impersonation in CF, Jose Reyes was the catalyst behind the Mets’ 7-5 victory over the Dodgers.

Reyes bunted for a single in the first and would subsequently open the Mets’ scoring. He singled to center in the third and later scored the tying run. A 7th inning triple —- his league leading 10th of the season — tied the game again, and the shortstop’s 8th inning RBI provided New York with a crucial insurance run. Two steals pushed Reyes’ NL leading tally to 34.

The erratic (and ridiculously entertaining) Reyes (above) is hitting .500 in the Mets’ last 6 games, a stretch in which New York is 5-1. There have been accusations aplenty throughout the season (including some from this writer) that the 22 year-old free swinger is ill-equipped to be the Mets’ leadoff hitter, but on this afternoon it was hard to imagine anyone other than a reincarnated Rickey Henderson wrecking as much havoc on the opposition.

With apologies to Gary Thorne, WFAN’s Howie Rose is the most talented hockey announcer ever to call a Mets game. Mentioning that the Yanks will face “The Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim” later tonight, Rose deadpanned that the Metropolitans were currently facing The Brooklyn Dodgers of Los Angeles.

Dodgers OF Milton Bradley returned to the lineup after an extended spell on the disabled list. On Thursday, Bradley accomplished a rare feat, getting himself thrown out of a rehab assignment with the Las Vegas 51’s for arguing balls and strikes.

With Washington’s 4-2 win over Houston earlier today — a game in which Tony Armas Jr. held the Astros hitless through 7, save for a Lance Berkman two run HR — the Mets are still 4 1/2 games behind the Nationals for the NL East lead.