Flushing, NY (Sports Network) - Carlos Beltran lined a game-winning RBI single through the raindrops with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Mets a crucial 7-6 comeback victory over the Chicago Cubs in the last of a four-game series at Shea Stadium.
Beltran finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs scored while Ryan Church went 3-for-3 with two RBI for the Mets, who rallied from a three-run deficit and now sit one game behind the Phillies for the NL East lead. Philadelphia was idle Thursday.
New York came into the day tied for the NL wild card lead with the Milwaukee Brewers, who are currently playing the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Left for the Mets is a weekend series at home against Florida, while the Phillies are at home versus Washington. The Brewers finish at home versus the NL Central champion Cubs.
Pedro Martinez continued to struggle for the Mets, surrendering five runs on seven hits and four walks in six-plus innings, with a season-high nine strikeouts. Joe Smith (6-3) got the win after pitching a scoreless ninth inning. In total, the Mets bullpen threw three innings and gave up only one run.
Cubs 28-year-old rookie Micah Hoffpauir hit his first two major league home runs, finishing 5-for-5 with five RBI. Mike Fontenot had three hits for the Cubs.
Rich Harden allowed three runs -- two earned -- on two hits and five walks while fanning four for Chicago. Neal Cotts allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning pitched, and Kevin Hart (2-2) took the loss after allowing the game- winning run in the ninth.
New York won the game off Hart in the ninth. Jose Reyes hit a single to right to lead off the inning, but Daniel Murphy bunted foul with a 2-2 count for the first out. Reyes stole second as David Wright struck out, and Carlos Delgado was intentionally walked. Beltran came up and lined a pitch down the first base line that tipped off first baseman Casey McGehee's glove, allowing Reyes to score the winning run.
New York trailed 6-3 going to the bottom of the seventh, but Robinson Cancel started the frame with a double, moved to third on a groundout and crossed the plate on Reyes' groundout to short.
New York put together a rally in the eighth, chasing Cotts after putting runners on first and second with two outs. Bob Howry came on in relief, and, after Beltran stole third, allowed an RBI single to Ramon Martinez to cut the deficit to one.
Cancel followed with a single to right. Kosuke Fukudome threw a perfect strike to the plate in plenty of time to get Church, who was running home, but Church was able to elude the tag and cross the plate -- tying the game -- before catcher Koyie Hill could get to him.
The Cubs put runners on the corners with two outs in the ninth, but Smith managed to induce a pinch-hit groundout from Daryle Ward to get out of the inning.
The Cubs got an early lead in the first. Hoffpauir hit his first career homer -- a solo shot -- off Pedro Martinez with two outs. Jim Edmonds followed with a walk, and Fontenot and McGehee hit back-to-back singles to produce another run for a 2-0 lead.
The Mets produced a run of their own in the home first. Reyes reached after hitting a ball through the legs of Hoffpauir, stole second and went to third on a groundout. Wright lifted a sac fly to cut the deficit to one.
Chicago regained a two-run lead in the third. Ryan Theriot worked a lead-off walk and Hoffpauir drove in his second run of the game with a double over the head of Beltran.
After Harden dished out a couple walks in the Mets' fourth, Church grounded a ball down the right field line for a two-out two-run double, tying the game.
The Cubs regained the lead in the seventh. Felix Pie led off with a single and stole second. After Theriot walked, Pedro Martinez was lifted for lefty Ricardo Rincon. Hoffpauir followed with his second homer of the game -- a towering shot to right field to give Chicago a 6-3 lead.