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Latos wins fourth straight as Padres stop Mets

San Diego Padres pitcher Mat Latos, right, runs as New York Mets catcher Brian Schneider, left, fields a bunt.
San Diego Padres pitcher Mat Latos, right, runs as New York Mets catcher Brian Schneider, left, fields a bunt.
Denis Poroy, Associated Press

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Rookie pitcher Mat Latos continues to be as good as advertised.

Latos pitched six solid innings as he won his fourth straight start to help the San Diego Padres to a 3-1 win over the New York Mets on Saturday night.

Latos (4-1) gave up one run and four hits in his fifth major-league start since being called up from Double-A San Antonio on July 18. The right-hander lowered his ERA to 2.43.

"As the game went on, I thought he pitched better," Padres manager Bud Black said. "I think early in the game, you saw maybe not his best fastballs, best change-ups. As the game went on, you could tell he was making better pitches."

Latos was being counted on heavily by the last-place Padres when he came to the majors. So far, he has rewarded the club's confidence in him.

The 21-year-old Latos gave up a solo home run to Alex Cora in the first inning, then settled down and finished with seven strikeouts and three walks.

"I went out there early and trying to throw it by everybody, which wasn't the right idea," Latos said. "It was 2-1 and I was trying to go out there to keep us in the game and let (the bullpen) do what they do best."

Latos, who has allowed six homers, was upset with Cora's home run because of how he threw his change-up.

"I just tried to spot it down instead of just throwing it," he said. "It probably would have been a lot better if I had thrown it. It was a reminder to throw it as hard as I can and not baby it."

New York, which has lost eight of 10, managed just four hits.

"He's not going to be scared of anything," said Mets catcher Brian Schneider about Latos. "He used his fastball all night and mixed in those offspeed pitches."

Following a 27-20 start, the Mets have gone 24-39 since May 29 and fallen eight games under .500 for the first time since ending the 2004 season at 71-91.

Everth Cabrera, who hit a grand slam in the ninth inning of Friday night's 6-2 win over the Mets, drew a bases-loaded walk from reliever Nelson Figueroa in the third inning to put San Diego ahead 2-1. It was the 15th bases-loaded walk this year by Mets pitchers — along with two bases-loaded hit batters.

"We have got to be able to throw strikes on a 3-2 count and not try to be too fine," Schneider said. "You'd rather throw a strike and make them earn their way on."

But the Padres missed numerous scoring chances, stranding 13 runners.

San Diego has won nine of 12 and has taken 12 of 14 games against the Mets, including eight straight at home.

Cabrera was at the center of another play that could have added a run in the fifth. But instead, he was called out at home as he tried to score on Tony Gwynn's single to right.

Cabrera slid wide of the plate as the throw from Jeff Francoeur arrived to Schneider. TV replays showed Cabrera raised his arm to avoid the tag as he slid, but slammed his hand down on the plate. Cabrera jumped up and pumped his fists. Schneider then ran over and tagged Cabrera, who was called out by home plate umpire Lance Barksdale.

After an extended argument, Padres manager Bud Black was ejected from the game.

"I saw his hand come down and I can only assume he touched the plate," said Black, who saw the TV replay but would not comment on it.

Heath Bell pitched the ninth inning for his 28th save in 29 chances.

Max Venable singled in a run for San Diego in the first and David Eckstein added an RBI single in the ninth off Sean Green.

Mets rookie Bobby Parnell (2-4) made his first major league start after appearing in 54 games this season and lasted just 2 1-3 innings.

Parnell, who was on a pitch count of 60-75 pitches, left in the third inning with the bases loaded and one out after having thrown 68 pitches. Figueroa came in and struck out Eliezer Alfonso before he walked Cabrera to force in the run that gave San Diego a 2-1 lead.

"I wasn't able to get it (slider) over for strikes so I had to go after them with my fastball," Parnell said. "I overused it."

Parnell allowed two runs on four hits walked, a strikeout and a hit batter.

New York's Luis Castillo struck out as a pinch hitter in the eighth in his first appearance since leaving Tuesday's game against St. Louis with a sprained left ankle.

NOTES: Parnell started in place of Mike Pelfrey, whose wife had the couple's first child on Friday. ... Parnell's previous high pitch count was 33 in a two-inning stint against Arizona on Monday. ... The Padres inducted former manager Dick Williams into their Hall of Fame in a pre-game ceremony. Williams, who was a 2008 inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, managed San Diego from 1982-85 and led the team to its first World Series in 1984.