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Beckett gets first shutout of the year

NEW YORK (AP) -- Josh Beckett saved his best for the Big Apple
again.

Beckett pitched a six-hitter for his first regular-season
shutout, leading the Florida Marlins over the New York Mets 5-0 on
Tuesday night for their fifth consecutive victory.

Of course, it wasn't quite the finest performance of Beckett's
four-year major league career. He threw two shutouts in the 2003
postseason, including a five-hitter in a 2-0 victory at Yankee
Stadium in the World Series clincher.

"Maybe I'm more comfortable here, I don't know," Beckett said.
"I was just going to go at 'em today -- I'm not going to pick."

Juan Pierre hit a two-run single and the Marlins took advantage
of a career-high seven walks by Steve Trachsel, who lost his fourth
straight start. Beckett drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk and
Paul Lo Duca had an RBI single.

Florida, which moved within three games of the NL wild-card
lead, won for the eighth time in 10 games to improve to six games
over .500 for the first time since June 24.

"We're relaxed because everybody counted us out already. That's
the way we like it," manager Jack McKeon said. "That's what
happened last year -- they can't win. Fine, great."

Beckett (6-8) struck out two and walked none to win for only the
second time since May 20, when he beat Houston 4-3. The World
Series MVP was 1-5 with a 5.21 ERA in his previous 10 starts, but
he dominated New York's depleted lineup.

"I wouldn't say he was as sharp tonight as he was against the
Yankees. But it was good enough," McKeon said.

Beckett threw 80 of his 116 pitches for strikes and retired 13
of his final 14 batters.

"He pitched the way he pitched last postseason," Mets manager
Art Howe said. "Whew! Complete game. You don't see too many of
those these days."

Florida improved to 11-3 against the Mets this year with its
11th shutout of the season. The struggling Mets, who have lost four
straight and nine of 10, were blanked for the eighth time.

Trachsel (10-12) dropped to 1-6 in his last 10 starts. Two of
his walks were intentional. He didn't walk a batter in his previous
three starts.

"We allowed him to not throw strikes by not chasing his splitty
and changeup in the dirt," Pierre said. "We had a lot of
discipline at the plate. We had good at-bats, that was the bottom
line tonight."

Trachsel is 7-12 lifetime against the Marlins, winless in his
last five starts against them with a 7.96 ERA.

"He lost his strike zone. Every borderline pitch he threw went
the other way. He was on the edges and just wasn't getting the
calls tonight," Howe said.

Mets slugger Mike Piazza went 0-for-4 in his second game back
from the disabled list.

Damion Easley, starting at second base again for an ailing Luis
Castillo, walked, stole second and scored on Lo Duca's single in
the third.

Jeff Conine's fourth-inning sacrifice fly drove in Miguel
Cabrera, who led off with a double.

Trachsel walked the bases loaded with two outs in the sixth,
then fell behind Beckett 3-0 before losing him on a 3-2 pitch below
the knees.

"You've got to have more than two RBI in a season to be an RBI
guy," Beckett said.

Pierre followed with a two-run single, making it 5-0 and chasing
Trachsel. The right-hander allowed five runs and five hits.

"Ran out of gas, it's that simple," he said.

Beckett caught a break in the first when Cliff Floyd's two-out
double bounced over the right-center fence for a ground-rule
double, sending Danny Garcia back to third. Beckett then retired
Richard Hidalgo on a popup to end the inning.

"Hopefully, he's satisfied with his outing. We definitely are.
This is the best I've seen him pitch all season," Pierre said.
"We're hoping we saved our best baseball for the last month."

Game notes
After the game, the Mets recalled 1B Craig Brazell, RHP
Tyler Yates and RHP Matt Ginter from Triple-A Norfolk. ... Mets CF
Mike Cameron missed his third straight start because of a viral
infection. ... Delegates and guests of the Republican National
Convention took batting practice on the field at Shea Stadium
earlier Tuesday, followed by a barbecue in center field with Mets
players and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. ... Florida reliever
Billy Koch was excused to go home and attend to a personal matter.
He's expected to rejoin the team Friday. ... Pierre got his 36th
stolen base and extended his hitting streak to a season-high 11
games. He also got picked off first base in the fifth. ...
Attendance was 17,770, compared with 51,777 across town at Yankee
Stadium and 21,740 for the night session at the U.S. Open tennis
tournament across the street from Shea.