NEW YORK (AP) -- Section by section, the boos poured down from
all around Armando Benitez as he trotted in from the Shea Stadium
bullpen with a big grin on his face.
Waiting on the mound, Florida Marlins manager Jack McKeon handed
the reliever the ball with a bit of advice.
"I told him to have some fun and he did," McKeon said after
Benitez earned his 21st save of the season and his third against
the New York Mets.
"They got on him, didn't they?" McKeon said. "He loved it."
Benitez retired four straight batters to save Carl Pavano's 5-1
victory, which ended a four-game Florida losing streak. Hitters are
zero for their last 40 against the reliever who struggled often as
the Mets closer before they traded him away last year.
If you believe Benitez, the boos were a non factor.
"I didn't think about it," he said. "I heard that for four
years here. I didn't think about it. If I think about it, I make a
mistake. I had fun. That's what we do. We enjoy what we do."
In the Florida dugout, the Marlins were enjoying the scene.
"We were laughing in the dugout," McKeon said. "I told him to
enjoy it. Enjoy the moment. I hope they come out tomorrow and boo
him again. I was surprised they didn't cheer for their players the
way they booed Benitez."
The Mets gave the crowd of 23,266, very little to cheer about.
After Cliff Floyd's first-inning home run, New York managed just
five more hits against Pavano (5-2) before Benitez finished the
Miguel Cabrera had three hits including a pair of doubles,
scored two runs and drove in another for the Marlins, who broke a
1-1 tie in the sixth with three runs against loser Steve Trachsel
(5-4). Hee Seop Choi's sacrifice fly drove in the go-ahead run.
Pavano retired 12 straight during one stretch as the Marlins
ended New York's four-game winning streak.
"He's been consistent every time out," McKeon said of Pavano.
"He's matured into a frontline pitcher who gives you a chance to
win every time he goes out there."
After Floyd's homer, Florida tied it at 1-1 in the fourth on
Mike Redmond's sacrifice fly. Cabrera doubled with one out, and
Trachsel walked Choi and Damion Easley to load the bases. Redmond's
fly ball scored Cabrera and Trachsel escaped further damage when he
grabbed Abraham Nunez's bunt and threw him out, beating the
runner's headfirst slide to end the inning.
The Marlins grabbed the lead in the sixth with three runs. Mike
Lowell led off with a walk, and Cabrera doubled to put runners on
second and third. Choi then hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring
Lowell with the go-ahead run. Easley's RBI double made it 3-1, and
Redmond and Nunez followed with singles to drive in another run and
Trachsel allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Cabrera made it 5-1 with a sacrifice fly off John Franco in the
The Marlins have a history of success against Trachsel,
improving to 17-7 against the right-hander -- including wins in five
of the last six games they've faced him. The Marlins came in
batting .287 against Trachsel, who was 3-0 over his previous six
starts with a 1.96 ERA until Friday night.
Juan Pierre led off the game with a single but was doubled
off first base on Luis Castillo's soft line drive to 3B Todd Zeile.
... 2B Castillo robbed Zeile of a hit in the sixth, diving behind
second base to start a double play. ... CF Pierre ran down Kaz
Matsui's leadoff drive in the first, and Floyd's 400-foot drive in
the fourth. ... LF Nunez made a tumbling catch on pinch-hitter Eric
Valent's drive in the eighth. ... Floyd's home run gave the Mets at
least one homer in 20 of their last 24 games, and 39 in the last 30