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Mets explode after rain delay

NEW YORK (AP) -- For a guy who once hit four home runs in a game,
the dry spell Mike Cameron was struggling through was starting to
get him down.

Cameron hadn't hit homered since May 10 -- until he connected
Tuesday night and led the New York Mets to a 6-2 victory over the
Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.

There was a touch of urgency to Cameron's at-bat in the fifth
with the game still scoreless and rain in the air.

"You try to go out there and get something on the board pretty
quick," Cameron said. "It gets us on the board. It was definitely
nice to continue the momentum I've got."

Cameron is playing in pain because of a damaged pinkie injured
in a slide home early in the season. His batting average plummeted
below .200, but manager Art Howe is sticking with him -- largely
because of his defense.

Cameron's homer in a game delayed 1 hour, 49 minutes by rain
after the fourth inning gave him a five-game hitting streak during
which he's batting .333. He also contributed a bases-loaded hit in
Tuesday night's victory, no small accomplishment for the Mets, who
have been dreadful in that situation.

The Mets tried to improve their offense earlier in the day,
acquiring outfielder Richard Hidalgo from Houston for pitchers
David Weathers and Jeremy Griffiths.

Kaz Matsui had another bases-loaded hit that delivered two runs
in the seventh after the Indians botched a bunt play, leaving no
one to cover first base.

"The game got away from us in the seventh," manager Eric Wedge
said. "We haven't had too many of those."

In the seventh, Cameron reached on a throwing error by third
baseman Casey Blake and stole second. After Eric Valent was walked
intentionally, pinch-hitter Joe McEwing bunted and everyone was
safe when Ronnie Belliard failed to cover first base.

"I just missed the sign," he said. "I thought it was another
play."

Matsui followed with a two-run single up the middle. It was just
the eighth hit in 62 chances with the bases loaded for the Mets.

"That was a big hit," Howe said. "We were able to break it
open."

McEwing scored when Todd Zeile hit into a double play.

"I am relaxing more and I am more productive," Matsui said
through a translator.

His two hits extended his hitting streak to six games during
which he is batting .476.

Five Met pitchers combined on a five-hitter with the win going
to Ricky Bottalico (3-1), who replaced starter Jae Seo after the
long rain delay.

Seo, battling to retain his spot in the Mets starting rotation,
worked four effective innings, allowing two hits and striking out
six before the rain. After Bottalico, John Franco, Mike Stanton and
Braden Looper finished up.

Omar Vizquel ruined the shutout bid with an RBI groundout in the
ninth off Looper, and Travis Hafner added an RBI double.

Cameron's eighth homer of the season came in the fifth against
Rick White (3-2), who relieved starter Scott Elarton following the
rain delay.

Elarton made his second start for the Indians after being
released by Colorado, where he went 0-6 and allowed just one hit
before the rain prevented his return to the game.

The Mets scored in the sixth when Matsui opened with an infield
single and Todd Zeile walked. Mike Piazza and Cliff Floyd struck
out, but Ty Wigginton delivered a two-out RBI single against
reliever Matt Miller.

Karim Garcia hit an RBI single in the eighth to make it 6-0.

Game notes
Garcia saved a run in the first with a diving backhanded
catch of a two-out drive by Victor Martinez, leaving Hafner, who
doubled, stranded at second. ... Elarton retired the first eight
hitters he faced before Seo singled for the only hit he allowed in
four innings. ... Franco appeared in his 1,064th game, tying Dan
Plesac for fourth place on the career list of appearances for
pitchers. ... Blake, batting .330 on the road, struck out three
times. ... Matt Lawton extended his hitting streak to 14 games,
while Martinez's 14-game streak was stopped.