“I’m really excited to face these guys,” said Benson of his former teammates. “That’s a little strange, having to pitch against your (former) team in a regular-season game, but it’s definitely exciting to pitch against them.”
Benson was a hot commodity on the trade market before being dealt to the Mets on July 30 for third baseman Ty Wigginton and two prospects. Since the deal, the right-hander is 4-3 with a 4.50 ERA in eight starts for New York.
Benson, who was selected first overall by Pittsburgh in the 1996 amateur draft out of Clemson, is coming off his finest effort of the season.
He pitched a four-hitter in a 7-0 win over NL East-leading Atlanta on Tuesday night, striking out seven for his fifth career complete game. His previous complete game was also against Atlanta—a six-hit shutout for Pittsburgh on June 15, 2000.
Benson has thrown 15 consecutive scoreless innings after skipping a start because of a tired shoulder.
The Mets have won four of five, including Saturday’s 8-7 win in 10 innings.
Jeff Keppinger, who came over from Pittsburgh in the Benson deal, contributed a two-run double in the victory.
Wigginton, who was facing his former team for the first time since the trade, drove in four of Pittsburgh’s runs, tying a career high set April 8 with New York.
He hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the second to make it 7-2 as Pittsburgh rallied from an early seven-run deficit. It was his 15th homer of the season, but just his third for Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh has lost five in a row, slipping to 36-36 at home. The Pirates are trying to finish above .500 at home for the first time in the four-year history of PNC Park.