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Benson falls against former team

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates are running an
aggressive campaign to push for Jason Bay as the NL Rookie of the
Year. The slugging outfielder's numbers might speak for themselves.

Bay hit a two-run homer -- his 24th -- to set a team rookie record
and Dave Williams pitched six shutout innings to help the Pirates
complete a doubleheader sweep of the New York Mets with a 6-1
victory Sunday.

The Pirates won the first game 1-0 on backup catcher Humberto
Cota's home run and a combined three-hitter by Ryan Vogelsong,
Salomon Torres and Jose Mesa.

Despite missing the first month of the season while recovering
from offseason shoulder surgery, Bay is hitting .294 with 75 RBI.

"He has my vote," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. "He's
been phenomenal, especially with the number of at-bats he's done
this in."

With his 24th homer, Bay passed the club mark he shared with
Ralph Kiner (1948) and Johnny Rizzo (1936).

"The closer you get to it, the more you think about it," Bay
said. "You try not to think about it, but it was in the back of my
mind. When I got back to the dugout, I kind of let out a sigh. I
don't think it's sunk in yet.

"I'm really proud of what I've done. I can't explain it. Things
have just gone really well for me. I just wanted to get settled in
here and prove that I belonged. I think I've done that and now I
just need to continue to get better."

Williams (2-1) held the Mets to three hits over the first six
innings. He walked two and struck out seven.

Former Pirate Kris Benson (12-12) had a streak of 18 shutout
innings until the fourth. Jack Wilson led off with a double and Bay
hit a 2-2 pitch over the left-center wall.

"Kris pitched really well until the seventh inning," Mets
manager Art Howe said. "He made that one mistake to Bay, but that
was all it took the way we swung the bats."

Benson, who won his previous two starts, made his first career
appearance against the Pirates, who traded him to New York on July
30. He allowed with six runs and six hits in six-plus innings.

"It was a little strange, but it was no different than any
other game," Benson said. "Execute your pitches and you can get
hitters out."

Todd Zeile, who got his 2,000th hit in the first game, hit an
RBI double in the ninth to prevent the shutout. It would've marked
the first time the Mets were blanked in both games of a
doubleheader since Aug. 5, 1975, against Montreal and the first
time the Pirates posted two shutout wins since winning a pair of
1-0 games against St. Louis on Oct. 3, 1976.

Ty Wigginton, acquired by the Pirates for Benson, hit a two-run
double in the seventh.

Bay and Rob Mackowiak opened the inning with singles and Craig
Wilson was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Wigginton, who entered
as a defensive replacement, doubled into the right-field corner off
Benson.

"I was cruising along, but it was just a base hit here, a base
hit there and it ended up breaking the game open," Benson said.
"A base hit tipped off the first baseman's glove. It could have
been an inch lower and the ballgame's a totally different story. It
didn't go my way that time."

Freddie Sanchez followed with an RBI single off reliever Heath
Bell and another run scored when J.R. House grounded into a double
play.

Game notes
The Mets are 1-2-1 in doubleheaders this season. ... Mets
OF Cliff Floyd didn't play in either game. He is day-to-day with a
strained muscle in his side. ... In his nine starts with the Mets,
Benson has given up at least three runs six times. ... Mackowiak's
single in the second game was his third hit in 45 at-bats. ... The
Pirates are 3-3-2 in doubleheaders. They hadn't played eight
doubleheaders in a season since 1984. ... Kendall, suspended for
his part in a fight with Colorado on Aug. 15, can return for the
Pirates' next game, Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs.