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Benitez's long streak ends, but he still gets save

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Stanton's pitch was supposed to be
down-and-in to Damion Easley, instead it was down the middle of the
plate.

Easley lifted it into the left-field bullpen, for a three-run,
pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning, helping Florida rally for a
7-6 victory over the New York Mets.

"I was just trying to get a good pitch to handle," Easley
said. "It wasn't that complicated or more detailed than that. It's
always exciting to give the team a boost off the bench. You've got
one bullet and you don't want to waste it."

Stanton came in to face Easley after hits by Alex Gonzalez and
Matt Treanor chased reliever Ricky Bottalico.

"I wanted a groundball double play," Stanton said. "He got
under the ball and it carried. It's not like he doesn't have the
power to do it. He got good wood on it."

Mike Piazza had two homers for the Mets, including a leadoff
shot against ex-teammate Armando Benitez in the ninth. Benitez went
on to retire the next three hitters for his 22nd save, and fourth
straight against the Mets.

Piazza's two homers gave him 370 for his career, moving him past
hall of fame Ralph Kiner and tying him for 56th on the all-time
list with Gil Hodges.

His first homer of the game, tied the score at 2 in the fifth,
and the Mets scored three more in the sixth, in a rally fueled by
Ty Wigginton and Todd Zeile, who had three hits apiece.

But Florida came right back and manager Jack McKeon went for
Easley.

"Where is my long ball guy?" McKeon asked.

The homer was Easley's second of the season, and just his second
career pinch-hit home run.

When Piazza connected against Benitez in the ninth, McKeon
wasn't bothered.

"It didn't mean a thing, we had a cushion. I have not had a
thing to worry about with his performance. I'll take that for the
next 25 to 35 games."

The Marlins scored two quick runs in the first inning against
Mets' starter Matt Ginter.

The Mets got a run back on Vance Wilson's sacrifice fly in the
second inning, and then tied it on Piazza's homer in the fifth.

In the sixth, Wigginton singled for the third time, and then
scored on a double by Wilson. Kaz Matsui drove in Wilson with a
single, and then Zeile's third hit delivered Matsui for the Mets'
5-2 lead.

The Marlins added an insurance run in the ninth when Luis
Castillo tripled with two outs, and scored on a double by Mike
Lowell.
^Notes: Cliff Floyd struck out four times, all of them swinging,
after homering for the Mets' only run Friday night. ... The Marlins
had just two hits between the first inning and their tying rally in
the seventh. ... Benitez's last four saves have come against the
Mets.