Mets bang out 14 hits; Benson wins third straight

MIAMI (AP) -- Once the rain ended, so did the New York Mets'
scoring drought.

Kris Benson won his third straight start, Jose Reyes hit two
triples, and the Mets broke out of their slump with a 12-4 victory
over the Florida Marlins on Thursday night.

A rain delay of 1 hour, 22 minutes in the bottom of the first
inning seemed to affect the Marlins more than the Mets. New York
scored three runs in the second after it hadn't scored for 19

"When I saw that big black cloud over the stadium, it looked
like it was going to dump on us," Benson said. "When I came back
out I felt good, and obviously the other guys did, too."

The Mets were shut out in the last two games of their series in
Atlanta. They roughed up two pitchers who were called up Wednesday
and finished with 14 hits, including six for extra bases.

Reyes leads the majors with seven triples. He also tripled twice
on May 18 against Cincinnati.

"The moment I see the ball in the gap I start thinking third
base," Reyes said. "We had two difficult games in Atlanta and it
was only a matter of time before we would start producing. What was
so important was that everybody contributed to the victory."

Benson (3-1) gave up three runs and five hits over six innings
and struck out four. Heath Bell followed and struck out five in two
scoreless innings.

"[Benson] stayed pretty loose during the delay," Mets manager
Willie Randolph said. "I was confident he'd come back out and
pitch well."

Frank Castillo (0-1) took the loss in his first major league
start since Sept. 16, 2002, when he pitched for Boston. The
36-year-old Castillo, who was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque
on Wednesday, allowed five runs and four hits in 4 1/3 innings. He
struck out four and walked five.

"You work hard to get back, and then to have a game like that
is frustrating," Castillo said.

The Marlins have allowed 31 hits over the last two games. They
also walked eight on Thursday.

"It didn't matter who we put out there tonight," Marlins
manager Jack McKeon said. "They were either going to hit them or
we were going to walk them."

Castillo was lifted after walking two batters in the fifth and
was replaced by Yorman Bazardo, who made his major league debut.
Bazardo walked Mike Piazza to load the bases and then gave up an
RBI single to David Wright.

Doug Mientkiewicz hit what looked like an inning-ending double
play, but second baseman Damion Easley, playing in place of Luis
Castillo, booted the ball and it went into right field. Two runs
scored to give the Mets a 6-3 lead.

The Mets scored four more times against Bazardo in the sixth,
then made it 12-3 with two runs off John Riedling in the seventh.
Mike Cameron had RBI doubles in both innings.

"I was nervous," Bazardo said. "I think I tried too hard."

Bazardo was sent back to Double-A Carolina after the game to
make room for Guillermo Mota, who will be activated off the
disabled list effective Friday.

The Mets took a 3-1 lead in the second. Benson drove in Piazza,
who singled to open the inning, with a single, and Reyes followed
with a two-run triple.

"That two-out single to the pitcher killed us," Castillo said.

Benson agreed.

"If I see a first-pitch fastball I start hacking," he said.
"That was a big boost."

The Marlins tied it in the fourth after loading the bases with
two outs. Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run single.

Carlos Delgado hit his eighth home run off Benson in the first

Game notes
Reyes has hit all of his triples in the last 14 games ...
Mets CF Carlos Beltran did not start Thursday's game because of a
strained right quad and is still day-to-day ... Marlins catcher
Paul Lo Duca was a late scratch with a bruised left elbow and was
replaced in the lineup by Matt Treanor ... The Marlins hosted Bark
at the Park on Thursday. Fans were allowed to bring their dogs to
sit in four sections in the upper deck. Dog tickets were $6 per
pet. There were 1,084 dogs in attendance and proceeds went to the
Humane Society.