Yasiel Puig riled the struggling Mets with a long look at his three-run homer, Yasmani Grandal added two solo shots and the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers took over first place in the NL West by battering New York pitching again for an 8-2 victory Wednesday night.
Rich Hill turned in his best five innings of the season for the Dodgers, who have won six straight and 12 of 13. They jumped a half-game ahead of Colorado, which had its six-game winning streak snapped with a 16-5 loss to Arizona.
Outscored 30-8 in the first three games of this four-game series, the banged-up and frustrated Mets (31-40) have dropped six of seven overall and are nine games under .500 for the first time since Sept. 2, 2014.
Puig posed at home plate and watched his fourth-inning drive off rookie Tyler Pill, irritating New York first baseman Wilmer Flores. He apparently said something to Puig as the Cuban slugger rounded the bag.
Puig looked back at Flores as he was trotting toward second and cursed at him, Flores said.
"I don't think he knows what having respect for the game is," Flores said. "We're playing horrible right now. He disrespected us."
Between innings, Mets veteran Jose Reyes and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, also from Cuba, spoke with Puig on the field.
"I think there's a way to enjoy a home run," Flores said. "That was too much."
It's far from the first time Puig has annoyed opponents with his antics, but there was no obvious attempt at retaliation from the Mets.
Hill (4-3) gave up a leadoff homer to Curtis Granderson and a double to Flores, but then held the Mets scoreless. New York loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, but Hill struck out the next three batters.
The left-hander fanned a season-high eight and allowed only four hits. He became the first pitcher in major league history to last five or fewer innings in each of his first nine starts in a season.
Pill (0-3) permitted six runs and five hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out six in his third career start.
The Dodgers have hit 12 homers in the series, but tied the score Wednesday on Hill's sacrifice fly in the third. It was Hill's first RBI since June 19, 2009.
They took the lead in the fourth after rookie Cody Bellinger doubled and advanced to third on right fielder Jay Bruce's throwing error. Logan Forsythe's double scored the go-ahead run. After an intentional walk to Joc Pederson, Puig launched his 13th home run of the season.
Grandal added his first solo shot in the sixth and second in the eighth. He has three homers in his last two games and nine on the season.
Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler was placed on the 10-day disabled list with biceps tendinitis. The Mets are hoping Wheeler (3-5, 5.29 ERA) will only miss one start. New York manager Terry Collins said it was undetermined who would take Wheeler's next turn.
Dodgers: Manager Dave Roberts said OF Andre Ethier, out all season with a herniated lumbar disk, is not expected back until rosters expand Sept. 1. . LHP Julio Urias (shoulder) remains on the Triple-A disabled list. Roberts said Urias was seen by team doctor Neal ElAttrache this week and the club was still gathering information. . Roberts said 1B Adrian Gonzalez's herniated disk pain has subsided since his epidural but Gonzalez still does not have full range of motion.
Mets: LHP Steven Matz (1-1) makes his third start of the season in the series finale Thursday night. Matz went seven innings in his two previous starts after missing more than two months with a sore elbow. He has a 1.50 ERA in three career starts at Dodger Stadium.
Dodgers: LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu (3-6) is another Los Angeles starter trying to add some length to his outings. Ryu has pitched past the sixth inning just once in his last 11 starts. He did throw a season-high 105 pitches in his most recent start.