<
>

Washington wins second of a six-game road trip

NEW YORK (AP) -- First, Jose Guillen threw a helmet onto the
field. Then a few bats, and finally a shinguard.

Once that was done, Washington got back to focusing on what Kris
Benson was throwing.

Preston Wilson and Vinny Castilla hit consecutive homers after
Guillen's ejection and equipment-tossing tirade in the fifth
inning, leading the Nationals over the New York Mets 6-3 Wednesday
night.

Though he might be fined and suspended, Guillen was excited
about what he saw once he got back to the clubhouse.

"That was a great moment right there," Guillen said. "I felt
like I motivated my teammates."

Castilla and Nick Johnson each drove in two runs, and Wilson
scored twice for the Nationals, who climbed within three games of
the NL wild-card lead shared by Florida and Philadelphia.
Washington has won the first two games of a six-game road trip
after losing five of six.

Esteban Loaiza (11-10) allowed three runs and seven hits in
seven innings. Gary Majewski pitched the eighth and Chad Cordero
finished for his second save in two nights and 46th of the season.

Carlos Beltran had three hits and two RBI for the Mets, who
lost for the 14th time in 17 games.

"We're just trying to keep our heads above water," outfielder
Cliff Floyd said. "Like I said, we're in last place. The
organization and the team are headed in the right direction and at
the same time we've got to finish strong. It'd be a shame not to."

Benson (9-8) retired the first two batters in the fifth --
starting with the called third strike on Guillen. But Wilson hit
his 23rd homer to snap a 3-all tie and Castilla drove the next
pitch over the 410-foot sign in center for his 12th.

Wilson did not think Guillen's tirade caused Benson to lose
focus.

"I just felt like we just took a few good swings against him,"
Wilson said.

Guillen was ejected by plate umpire Bill Miller after returning
to the bench following his strikeout. Miller said Guillen cursed
from the dugout and ejected the volatile outfielder, who then threw
a batting helmet out of the dugout. After a bat boy retrieved that,
Guillen tossed the bats, and then the shinguard.

The Nationals have had two ejections in the series. Manager
Frank Robinson was tossed by Jeff Nelson on Tuesday night after
arguing a checked swing by New York's Victor Diaz.

"He had to top me," Robinson said.

"Right now it looks like they have full power in baseball,"
Guillen said about the umpires. "They can do whatever they want
and they get away with it."

Washington scored in the first but could have had more. Brad
Wilkerson drew a leadoff walk and scored on Johnson's two-out bloop
single. An infield hit by Wilson and a walk to Castilla loaded the
bases, but Benson bounced back to get Gary Bennett to fly out after
falling behind him 3-0.

Benson is 0-4 in his last five starts after allowing five runs
and eight hits in five innings.

"They're getting pretty good hacks at what I'm throwing up
there," Benson said. "There's obviously a problem with my
selection right now."

The Mets tied it in the bottom half. Kaz Matsui tripled with one
out and Beltran hit a hard grounder toward first. Johnson made a
diving stop, but was forced to hold onto the ball after Loaiza
didn't get over to cover first.

The Nationals went ahead 3-1 in the third on a run-scoring
groundout by Castilla and Bennett's RBI single. The Mets tied it
again in the fourth. Beltran drove in Matsui with a double and
scored on David Wright's groundout.

Loaiza allowed only three more singles after Beltran's double.
He struck out five and walked none.

Game notes
Mike Piazza (concussion) and Floyd (hamstring) were back in
the Mets' lineup after each missed two games. ... Mets RHP Victor
Zambrano, recently demoted to the bullpen, replaced Benson and
struck out the side in the seventh.