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Mets keep pace with Phillies despite loss

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Jason Schmidt appreciates the chance to
challenge baseball's best pitchers.

Schmidt avenged an embarrassing loss to New York in June,
outpitching Tom Glavine to help the San Francisco Giants end the
Mets' five-game winning streak with a 2-1 victory Saturday.

"It's always good to go out there against the great ones,"
Schmidt said. "Glavine's pitched like that his whole career.
Fortunately, I got a couple of runs early and that helped. I could
afford to make a mistake."

Mike Matheny hit an RBI double, Todd Linden added a run-scoring
groundout, and Schmidt (11-6) won his third straight decision for
his first unbeaten month since May, when he went 1-0 in three
starts.

Schmidt was on the losing end of a 12-1 defeat to the Mets on
June 5 at Shea Stadium after giving up six runs in four innings but
was impressive this time. He didn't allow a hit until Jose Reyes
tripled to start the fourth, retiring 11 of his first 13 batters
and getting through the first four innings on 55 pitches.

Schmidt beat the Mets for the first time in four tries since a
1-0 win Aug. 20, 2002, during the Giants' World Series season. He
gave up three walks in the seventh that loaded the bases with two
outs but got Reyes to pop out to second on a 3-2 pitch to escape
the jam.

"Tommy threw the ball well again, but Jason Schmidt pitched
well, too," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "He made the
pitches when he had to."

Schmidt punched his hand into his glove in mild celebration as
he walked off the mound. Armando Benitez, the third Giants pitcher,
got three outs for his sixth save, his second save since returning
following a 2-hour surgery May 3 to reattach two torn hamstring
tendons to the pelvis.

"I'm really close to being 100 percent," said Benitez,
sidelined more than three months. "The more games I'm in, the
better I feel."

After Victor Diaz's two-out double, the former Mets closer
walked Jose Offerman and retired pinch-hitter Chris Woodward on a
flyout for his 250th career save.

"He's throwing harder," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "His
first several fastballs had a lot of life."

Deivi Cruz made a rare start at second base for San Francisco
and doubled in the second. Cruz went 5-for-5 with five RBI in his
previous start Aug. 16 at Cincinnati.

Glavine (10-11) pitched six strong innings, allowing two runs
and four hits. He struck out three and didn't walk a batter for the
fourth time in six starts. Glavine, who had won his prior two
outings, allowed three hits in the second including Matheny's RBI
double, then got seven straight outs.

"I was pleased with how I pitched and what I was doing, but the
results aren't what I wanted," Glavine said. "You make at least
one bad pitch a game and mine was to Matheny."

Aside from Reyes' triple -- he scored on Kaz Matsui's groundout --
no runner got past second until the seventh for the Mets, who got
just four hits and remained 1½ games behind wild-card leading
Philadelphia.

The second game of this weekend series featured the same kind of
strong pitching performances both sides had in the opener. On
Friday night, Steve Trachsel allowed two hits in eight innings of a
1-0 victory for a dazzling season debut after hurting his back in
spring training.

"Tomorrow will determine what kind of a trip we have," Glavine
said. "It's better to go home 6-1 than 5-2. We need to win
series."

The Mets had won five straight road games, their best away
winning streak since also getting five victories in a row away from
Shea Stadium from May 14-18, 2002.

New York's David Wright has hit safely in 21 of his last 25
games and is batting .522 with three homers, 10 runs scored and
five RBI on the trip.

Game notes
New York RHP Juan Padilla failed to retire the first batter
he faced for the first time all season, in his 13th appearance. ...
Mets C Ramon Castro got the day off and so did INF Miguel Cairo as
Randolph works to keep his starters fresh for the stretch run. ...
Alou doesn't expect struggling RHP Brett Tomko to start again this
season. He was moved to long relief Friday when the club called up
top pitching prospect Matt Cain from Triple-A Fresno. ... Injured
New York C Mike Piazza might try to catch in the bullpen this
coming week to test his broken left hand. Randolph doesn't expect
Piazza to come off the DL when he's eligible Thursday. "I think
Mike is going to be a little longer," Randolph said. "I don't see
him rushing back or anything like that." ... 49ers Hall of Fame
quarterback Steve Young attended the game and received a lengthy
ovation when his face was shown on the main center-field
scoreboard.