Mets 8, Pirates 7

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—After a six-run first inning, the New York Mets appeared to be on their way to an easy victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

They should’ve known better with the way this season has gone.

The Mets blew an early 7-0 lead, but Mike Cameron’s sacrifice fly in the 10th drove in the go-ahead run, leading New York to an 8-7 victory Saturday night.

“With a seven-run lead, there is no excuse for giving it back,” starter Tom Glavine said.

Cameron flied out to deep center with one out against Salomon Torres (7-5), scoring Wilson Delgado to give the Mets their fourth win in six games after a stretch in which they lost 19 of 21.

“The only downside that he didn’t get the win,” Mets manager Art Howe said of Glavine. “We wanted to get it for him.”

Jeff Keppinger and Glavine each drove in two runs for the Mets.

Todd Zeile made his first start at catcher in 14 years, playing the first six innings behind the plate before moving to first base in the seventh.

“It was a fun thing to do after all these years,” Zeile said of catching. “I take it seriously and personally when we give (runs) up, so I had hoped it would have gone a little better in that regard. But as far as the actual physical part of it, I enjoyed that. It was nice to be back there. I felt comfortable out there.”

Zeile also had one hit, leaving him one shy of 2,000 for his career. It appeared Zeile would get the milestone hit in the sixth when he sent a long drive to left field, but Jason Bay caught it above the short fence—robbing a home run.

“He made a great play going back like that,” Glavine said. “It would have been nice to get a couple more runs, and it certainly would have been a nice way to get Todd his 2,000th hit, but (Bay) made a spectacular play.”

Tyler Yates (2-4) struck out two in a perfect ninth for the win, and Braden Looper got the final three outs for his 25th save.

The Mets scored six runs in the first against rookie starter John Van Benschoten. After Cameron struck out looking to start the game, Van Benschoten walked four consecutive batters to force in the first run.

“I was just missing by a hair,” Van Benschoten said. “It’s a fine line between getting it where you want to throw the ball and just missing.”

Hidalgo followed with an RBI single and Keppinger had a two-run doubled to end Van Benschoten’s night. Nelson Figueroa came in and walked Delgado before giving up a two-run double to Glavine that made it 6-0. It could’ve been worse: Delgado was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Glavine’s hit.

Van Benschoten allowed six runs and two hits in one-third of an inning.

“When you put yourself behind the 8-ball, that’s tough,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Our kid just didn’t throw strikes. I thought his stuff was crisp. Next thing you know, a couple of bloopers, and you are six runs down. You can’t give any team that kind of a lead.”

The Mets tacked on a run in the second when Zeile scored on Cliff Floyd’s ground-rule double.

Former Mets third baseman Ty Wigginton drove in four of Pittsburgh’s runs, tying a career high set April 8 in Atlanta against the Braves while with New York.

He hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the second to make it 7-2. It was his 15th homer of the season, but just his third for Pittsburgh, which acquired him July 30 in a trade involving Kris Benson.

In the sixth, Wigginton drove in Daryle Ward and Craig Wilson with a double down the right-field line to cut the Mets’ lead to 7-4. Humberto Cota followed with a two-run homer to straightaway center to end Glavine’s night.

“I feel good in spurts, and I don’t feel good in spurts,” said Glavine, who has lost 10 of his last 12 decisions after starting the year 7-3.

“I’m trying to find the groove I had,” he said. “It certainly hasn’t been there the last five or six times I’ve pitched.”

Glavine allowed six runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings, walked three and struck out four against a Pittsburgh lineup without regulars Jason Kendall (suspension) and Jose Castillo.

Bartolome Fortunato walked Jack Wilson with one out in the seventh, and Bay tripled to tie it at 7. Ward struck out with Bay on third, and Wigginton flew out to right with the bases loaded two batters later.

“We should have come out with the win,” McClendon said. “We put ourselves in position to win that ballgame. We didn’t have a good at-bat with a man at third and less than two outs. To me, that was the ballgame.”

Notes

A Pirates pitcher had not walked four batters in a row in one inning since May 25, 1983, when Jim Bibby pulled it against Atlanta. … Floyd left with a strained muscle under his right arm after striking out swinging in the fourth. He said he will sit out Sunday’s doubleheader and plans to return for Tuesday’s game in Montreal. … Keppinger was also involved in the Wigginton-Benson trade. He was a second baseman playing for Double-A Altoona at the time of the deal. … The Mets improved to 10-5 in extra innings, while Pittsburgh fell to 8-6.

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