LOS ANGELES -- Dan Haren didn't start the way he finished, but that turned out to be a good thing for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Haren tossed a three-hitter, leading the Dodgers to a 6-2 victory Friday night over the New York Mets before 44,374 at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers (73-57), who remain 3 1/2 games ahead of the San Francisco Giants in the National League West, have owned the Mets recently, winning 12 of their last 14 games against them. New York (60-69) dropped four of its past five contests.
Right fielder Curtis Granderson tagged Haren for a leadoff home run, but the right-hander limited New York to two hits the rest of the way. Haren (11-10) needed only 89 pitches (55 strikes) to complete seven innings with six strikeouts and no walks. Haren also drove in a run.
Haren said Granderson's home run made him more determined to pitch well.
"I was really mad when it happened just because the last thing you want to do is put the team in a whole three pitches into the game," said Haren, who faced one batter over the minimum during his outing. "But it probably wasn't the smartest pitch. With Granderson not being the typical leadoff hitter, I can't just lay one in there like that."
Haren laid an egg in his last start against the Milwaukee Brewers last Sunday, when he was knocked around for six runs on five hits in three innings in a 7-2 Dodger loss. However, he kept the Mets in check after the first inning.
"The game against Milwaukee, honestly, I'd given up a couple of runs early and then I was just out of it," Haren said. "I threw a bunch of pitches and it was hot. It was 6-0 before I could even blink. After that game, I just tried not to think about it. I'm glad I was able to give us a good chance today."
Los Angeles manager Don Mattingly was pleased.
"Danny looked like he had depth tonight, looked like he was able to locate," Mattingly said. "The first couple of hitters he was kind of getting behind, but after that he was getting the ball where he wanted to."
New York left-hander Jonathon Niese wasn't as sharp, but the Mets' defense contributed to his demise. Shortstop Wilmer Flores committed two errors, the last one leading to three unearned Dodger runs in the seventh inning to turn a one-run lead into a four-run cushion.
"He just had a rough day," Mets manager Terry Collins said of Flores. "Obviously, he had some troubles with some balls, but he's played pretty well out there, so it was just one of those nights."
Third baseman David Wright and first baseman Lucas Duda had miscues in the eighth inning, giving the Mets four overall.
Niese (7-9) was charged with five runs (two earned) on eight hits with four strikeouts and three walks in 6 2/3 innings.
"He should have been out of a couple of innings, but he just kept fighting tonight," Collins said. "I thought he did a good job, I really did. It should have been a 2-1 game. When you have as many errors as you have hits, that's not a good feeling."
Los Angeles right fielder Matt Kemp went 1-for-4 with two RBIs, while second baseman Dee Gordon was 3-for-4 with an RBI and his major league-leading 11th triple.
Granderson started the game with a bang, driving a 2-0 pitch from Haren deep into the visitor's bullpen for a solo blast and a 1-0 Mets lead. It was the 25th home run of the season given up by Haren.
Gordon's RBI single to left tied the score with two outs in the third.
After the Dodgers botched a squeeze play, Haren's run-scoring hit with two outs in the fifth gave them a 2-1 lead. An error by Flores allowed Los Angeles to load the bases in the inning, but Niese retired first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to escape the jam.
NOTES: Dodgers INF Justin Turner was second in the National League behind Milwaukee 1B Lyle Overbay in batting average with runners in scoring position at .383 entering Friday night's contest. ... New York OF Daniel Murphy led the National League and ranked third in the majors with 154 hits heading into Friday's game. ... Mets 1B Lucas Duda is one of five NL players with 20 or more home runs and 50 walks. The others: Giancarlo Stanton (Marlins), Troy Tulowitzki (Rockies), Anthony Rizzo (Cubs) and Justin Upton (Braves). ... After having his start pushed back two games because of a sore elbow, Dodgers RHP Zack Greinke (12-8, 2.75 ERA) will face Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (6-5, 2.87 ERA) on Saturday.