<
>

Feliz, Snow homer as Mets drop second straight

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Felipe Alou recalls how Noah Lowry's name
rarely came up in discussions of San Francisco's top pitching
prospects. Lowry's stuff was wild, and Matt Cain and Merkin Valdez
always were considered the best of the young bunch.

The 20-year-old Cain will get the chance to showcase his talents
when he makes his major league Monday night, but Lowry has already
proven his dependability every fifth day.

Pedro Feliz hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the sixth and
J.T. Snow also connected in the inning, rallying the Giants to help
Lowry win his fifth straight start with a 4-1 victory over the New
York Mets on Sunday.

Lowry isn't looking for the limelight -- though he will certainly
be a strong candidate for NL pitcher of the month after an amazing
August.

"Matt Cain and Merkin Valdez are guys with electrifying
stuff," Lowry said. "My fastball is 86-90 and I rely more on
mixing speeds. That's OK, that's fine with me [to be an unknown].
I'd rather go out and stick to the way I do things."

After Carlos Beltran broke a scoreless tie when he came home on
a wild pitch in top of the sixth, the Giants finally got to Kris
Benson in the bottom half.

Snow hit a game-tying home run leading off the inning, a shot
into the right-field arcade on a 3-2 pitch from Benson for his
fourth homer of the season and first at home. He added an RBI
single in the seventh for just his sixth multi-RBI game of the year
and first since Aug. 2.

Lowry (11-11) completed an unbeaten August, winning all five of
his starts and going at least seven innings in each outing. He
hasn't lost since a 4-1 defeat at Milwaukee on July 31 and received
a standing ovation when he walked off in the eighth.

The left-hander followed his team's impressive offensive inning
with a 1-2-3 seventh, his first perfect inning since the first.
Lowry allowed five hits and one run, struck out six and walked one
in eight innings -- and also hit a single.

"He can really pitch," Alou said. "This is a guy who two
years ago bounced a lot of fastballs that fell short of the target.
He has worked hard. ... Today, he is right there striking out
people, stopping rallies, fielding his position, getting base hits
and challenging hitters."

Armando Benitez worked the ninth for his seventh save, second in
as many days and third since coming back after missing three months
following surgery to repair two torn hamstring tendons to the
pelvis. Randy Winn, who had his six-game hitting streak snapped
Saturday, doubled and singled for the Giants.

When Lowry struck out Chris Woodward in the sixth, the ball
bounced in the dirt and got past catcher Mike Matheny and went into
the stands behind the on-deck circle. Beltran, who doubled and
advanced on David Wright's groundout, then scored.

All three games of the series featured impressive pitching
performances. San Francisco's Jason Schmidt beat Tom Glavine 2-1 on
Saturday, while Steve Trachsel returned from a back injury to make
his season debut Friday and led the Mets to a 1-0 victory.

"I'm happy with winning five out of seven," New York manager
Willie Randolph said. "We didn't hit the ball well here, but we
ran into some good pitching. I don't care about how many runs we
score. We lost. It'll be good to go home, have an off day and
charge the battery a bit before the Phillies come in."

The Mets finished their road trip 5-2, sweeping lowly Arizona in
the first four games. Now, they head home to face the Philadelphia
Phillies for three games, then hit the road again for three at
Florida, three at Atlanta and four at St. Louis -- a stretch
everyone in the organization acknowledges is a crucial one for the
club's playoff chances.

Benson (9-6), who beat the Giants 12-1 on June 5 at Shea
Stadium, lost his second straight start after being knocked out in
the first against Washington on Aug. 21. He looked better Sunday,
giving up seven hits in six innings, striking out two and walking
two.

"Just one bad pitch," Benson said. "I tip my hat to J.T.
because he hit a good 3-2 changeup. But my slider was not working
well today and that's the pitch that beat me. It was supposed to be
down to Feliz and it stayed up."

Game notes
Mets OF Cliff Floyd got the day off to rest, giving him a
two-day break with Monday's off day. ... Demoted RHP Brett Tomko is
upset he didn't have a face-to-face conversation with someone in
management when the team decided to move him to long relief for the
remainder of the year. But Tomko said he would do whatever is asked
of him over the final month and he hopes to re-sign with the club.
Both GM Brian Sabean and Alou seemed annoyed that Tomko complained
of a lack of communication. "I don't think at this stage of his
career anybody needs to hold his hand," Sabean said. ... The Mets
are 14-8 in games started by Benson. ... Snow hit his 40th career
homer in August to match his most for any month (also July).