Final in 10

Series: Game 2 of 2

Florida won 2-0

Game 1: Monday, July 19
Florida6Final
NY Mets5
Game 2: Tuesday, July 20
Florida9Final
in 10
NY Mets7

Marlins 9

(47-46, 23-24 away)

Mets 7

(46-47, 26-20 home)

7:10 PM ET, July 20, 2004

Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

R H E
FLA - -
NYM - -

W: B. Howard (1-1)

L: J. Franco (2-6)

S: A. Benitez (32)

Marlins blow lead, but win anyway

NEW YORK (AP) -- All season, it seemed, the roadrunners at the top of the Florida Marlins batting order couldn't get on the same page. If Juan Pierre had a good game, Luis Castillo did not. If Castillo produced, Pierre was quiet.

Then came Tuesday night at Shea Stadium and the roadrunners clicked much the way they did last October when the Marlins won the World Series.

Pierre had four hits, one of them a leadoff bunt that turned into a double, and scored three times while Castillo, batting .362 in his last 24 games at Shea Stadium, had two hits and scored twice in the Marlins 9-7 victory over the New York Mets.

Florida scored six ruins in the first inning, blew the lead and then came back to win largely because the Mets could not keep Pierre and Castillo in check.

"It was wild, to say the least," Pierre said. "It seemed whoever delivered the last blow would win."

The Marlins took care of that thanks to Miguel Cabrera, who drove in three runs with a homer and a single, cashing in on the mayhem Pierre and Castillo created in front of him.

Pierre set the tone when he bunted the first pitch of the game past third baseman Ty Wigginton and scooted into second base when the ball rolled into left field.

"A bunt double. I never did that before except once in spring training," he said. "I just wanted to make things happen, put some pressure on them."

Castillo punched a single to right, scoring Pierre. Cabrera, who also had three RBI in a 6-5 win on Monday, hit a two-run homer for a 3-0 lead. Jeff Conine doubled, Hee Seop Choi walked and Alex Gonzalez hit his 13th home run, making it 6-0. It was more runs in one inning than the Marlins had scored in all but two of their games this month

"The big thing I'm happy with is we came out firing on all cylinders," Florida manager Jack McKeon said. "We scored six, then we stopped again for a few innings while we recovered from the shock.'

In the second inning, Pierre bunted again and ran into Piazza's arm as the first baseman reached for an errant throw. Piazza left the game with a sprained left wrist. X-rays were negative and he was to be re-evaluated Wednesday.

"It was just one of those things," Piazza said. "I thought I had the ball. It tailed in on him. It was one of those tough plays. There's nothing you can do. It's a reaction play."

The Mets expect Piazza to miss a few games and recalled hot prospect David Wright after the game. Wright will play third base Wednesday night against Montreal with Wigginton playing first base in Piazza's place.

Against the Marlins, the Mets rallied for a 7-6 lead on homers by Mike Cameron and Richard Hidalgo, but Pierre and Castillo singled in the fourth and Trachsel's wild pitch allowed the tying run to score. In the sixth, reliever John Franco (2-6) walked Castillo and Mike Lowell with two out and Cabrera delivered an RBI single ahead again. It was his 67th RBI of the season.

The Marlins added an insurance run in the eighth when Pierre led off with his fourth hit, moved up on a sacrifice and scored on an RBI single by Mike Lowell.

Ex-Met Armando Benitez pitched a scoreless ninth for his 32nd save in 35 chances -- and eighth against his former team this season. Benitez saved both games in the series, striking out Cliff Floyd to end each one.

"I'm just doing my job," Benitez said. "What I had to do, I did." ^Notes:@ British Open champion Todd Hamilton threw out the first pitch and showed off his trophy to the umpires at home plate. ... The six runs in the first inning matched Florida's high for a game in July, achieved twice. ... Hidalgo's home run was his first since July 5. ... The Mets stole a franchise-record five bases, including two each by Wigginton and Reyes. ... The Mets acquired C Tommy Piazza, younger brother of Mike, from the Los Angeles Dodgers and assigned him to rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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