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Mets' Walker earns first career win

9/7/2002

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A sleepless night led to a joyful afternoon
for Tyler Walker.

Walker, a September callup making his first career start, went
five innings and closer Armando Benitez barely hung on as the New
York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 Saturday for their fifth straight win.

"I was pretty nervous, didn't sleep at all,'' Walker said. "I
was laying in bed and my heart was racing.''

Walker (1-0), in his second career appearance, gave up three
runs and six hits with four walks. His father, Ralph, and two best
friends surprised him in Philadelphia to watch the win.

"I was just trying to get through it today,'' Walker said.
"Hopefully I'll get to savor it tonight.''

"It makes for a great day when you get to experience someone's
first career win,'' Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "I liked
everything I saw from him today. I was thrilled to be a part of
it.''

The Mets nearly did not get a chance to experience that thrill.

New York took a 5-3 lead into the ninth, but Benitez began the
inning by walking Tomas Perez and Jeremy Giambi. After a sacrifice
bunt, Bobby Abreu walked to load the bases.

Benitez then walked Pat Burrell on four pitches, forcing home a
run. But Benitez escaped by striking out Travis Lee and retiring
Mike Lieberthal on a comebacker for his 31st save in 35 chances.

"We've seen Armando do that before,'' Valentine said. "But he
got back into the groove and got the job done.''

Roger Cedeno and Edgardo Alfonzo homered to help the Mets take
the lead.

Joe Roa (3-3) gave up four runs on five hits and four walks in
six innings. The Phillies have lost five of six.

The Mets trailed 3-2 in the sixth when Cedeno hit a two-run
homer. Ty Wigginton kept the inning going with a two-out walk
before Cedeno hit his sixth home run.

Alfonzo hit his 14th homer to tie it in the second. Rey Ordonez
led off the third with a triple and scored on Lieberthal's passed
ball.

The Mets added an insurance run in the ninth when Ordonez
walked, moved to second on a wild pitch by reliever Jose Mesa and
to third when Lieberthal's throw sailed into center field. A
pinch-hit double by John Valentin drove in the run.

With the Mets leading 2-1 in the fifth, Jimmy Rollins hit his
10th homer of the season, a two-run shot to give Philadelphia a 3-2
lead.

After Rollins' homer, the Phillies loaded the bases with two
outs but Placido Polanco popped up end the inning. The Phillies,
who lead the majors in stranding runners, left 11 runners on for
the game.

"That looks like one area where we are going to come in first
this year,'' said Phillies manager Larry Bowa.

Philadelphia also scored a run in the first on an RBI single by
Travis Lee.

The Phillies had a good scoring chance in the seventh when
Rollins and Abreu opened the inning with singles off reliever Pedro
Feliciano.

David Weathers relieved and struck out Burrell. Then, with Lee
batting, the Phillies attempted a double steal but Rollins was
caught at third.

Game notes
Walker's only other appearance also came against the
Phillies. In relief, he gave up two runs and one hit in one inning
on July 2. He was optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk on July 5. ...
Phillies pinch-hitter Jason Michaels singled in the sixth and is
now 10-for-27 (.370) in 24 day games. ... Benitez made 28 pitches
in the ninth inning. ... Philadelphia's Doug Glanville is 22-for-57
(.384) in his last 17 games after a 2-for-4 performance Saturday.