(Saturday, approx. 5:30 PST – catcher Ramon Castro assures Jae Seo that Steve Trachsel is only halfway through the 3rd inning of Friday’s rehab start for Norfolk)

Mets 5, Dodgers 1

With the Mets’ chances of contention hanging by a thread, it is impossible to overstate the lift provided by starter Jae Seo, who held the Dodgers to 5 hits, one walk and one mere run, at one point stretching his scoreless streak to 20 1/3 innings.

As has been the habit all season long, heroics were provided by individuals who never figured to be fixtures in the Mets’ starting 9, Gerald Williams (!) and Ramon Castro going back-to-back off D.J. Holton.

I’m not sure which stat is more surprising — that the Mets lead the NL in steals with 112, or that only 10 of those have come courtesy of Carlos Beltran, the CF scheduled to return to the team (though not necessarily the lineup) today.

Brad Lidge’s gopher ball to Jack Wilson puts the Mets 4 back in the Wild Card chase. It is very hard to imagine New York will be able to leapfrog the Astros and the 3 other NL East hopefuls, not with Williams, Marlon Anderson, Jose Offerman and Victor Diaz playing major roles down the stretch.

Mixed fortunes for a trio of former major leaguers tonight in Round Rock ; Aaron Sele, recently waived by the Mariners, took the loss for the Rangers’ Oklahoma farm club (AAA), giving up 8 runs and about 100 base hits to the Astros’ Pacific Coast League affiliate. Former Mets/Cubs/Red Sox SS Manny Alexander, a friend to batboys the world over, had two hits for the Red Hawks, including a two run HR. Ex-Mets reliever Scott Strickland got the save in Round Rock’s 8-6 win, putting the Express just a half game in front of the Red Hawks and Isotopes for the PCL’s American Southern Division lead with 23 games to play.