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O'Connor gets first major league win as Nats batter Mets

NEW YORK (AP) -- With a heavy dose of curves to Carlos Delgado
and a consistent fastball down in the strike zone, Mike O'Connor
baffled the New York Mets for his first major league win.

The lanky lefty pitched two-hit ball for seven impressive
innings and Alfonso Soriano hit a long two-run homer, leading the
Washington Nationals to a 6-2 victory Tuesday night.

"Make sure I mix up my pitches and keep guys off balance and I
think I'll be fine," said O'Connor, who planned to give the
souvenir ball to his family.

Pinch-hitter Damian Jackson also had a two-run shot and new
leadoff batter Marlon Byrd got three hits and scored three times to
help Washington win for only the second time in 10 games.

The Nationals (9-18) improved to 2-6 against the NL East-leading
Mets this season.

"You've seen how ugly it's been and how desperate we needed to
win a game," Washington manager Frank Robinson said. "Hopefully,
this will get us going."

Making his second big league start, O'Connor (1-1) allowed only
a homer and a single to Paul Lo Duca. With his mom and girlfriend
in the stands, the 25-year-old struck out six and walked two.

"Arms and legs coming at you," New York's David Wright said.
"He threw a solid game."

Mike Stanton and Chad Cordero completed the three-hitter. Carlos
Beltran homered against Cordero leading off the ninth.

John Maine (0-1) lost his Mets debut, giving up four runs and
six hits in 5 1-3 innings.

Acquired with reliever Jorge Julio in the January trade that
sent Kris Benson to Baltimore, the 24-year-old right-hander fanned
six and issued two walks. He was pitching in place of injured
rookie Brian Bannister (hamstring).

"I didn't pitch nearly as well as I could," Maine said. "I
still had butterflies, but not too nervous."

O'Connor was called up from the minors last week to replace
starter John Patterson, sidelined with a forearm injury. He was
also solid in his major league debut, allowing three runs -- none
earned -- in five innings last Thursday against St. Louis.

"He's pitched two excellent games. Why would we send him
back?" Robinson said. "I like the way he conducts himself,
handles himself on the mound. He seems to have excellent composure
out there, veteran composure."

O'Connor fanned Beltran, Delgado and Wright in succession in the
sixth and seventh. Plate umpire Jeff Nelson then turned toward New
York's dugout and ejected manager Willie Randolph.

"Getting thrown out of the game is protecting my players,"
Randolph said. "I just voiced my opinion and I was thrown out."

The Mets had won five of six. Slumping slugger Cliff Floyd lined
out to shortstop with runners on second and third to end the fourth
and slammed his helmet down in frustration.

"I'm just more frustrated overall with myself," he said. "I'm
not really pouting. I really want to come through for our team."

Byrd and Marlon Anderson opened the game with consecutive
doubles down the left-field line, putting the Nationals ahead. Lo
Duca tied it with a solo shot in the bottom half.

Byrd doubled to right in the third and Soriano drove a 2-2 pitch
from Maine an estimated 440 feet down the left-field line and into
the second deck, about five rows up. It was Soriano's eighth home
run.

"I hit it very hard," Soriano said.

Nick Johnson snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a leadoff single in
the sixth and stole second. He moved to third on Ryan Zimmerman's
grounder to the right side and scored on an RBI groundout by
pinch-hitter Jose Guillen against reliever Darren Oliver.

Byrd singled with two outs in the seventh. Just after a black
cat sneaked its way onto the right-field warning track, Jackson
connected on Oliver's next pitch to make it 6-1. It was Jackson's
first career pinch-hit homer.

Game notes
O'Connor was Washington's 2005 minor league pitcher of the
year. ... Cordero had retired 13 consecutive batters dating to
April 15. ... Stanton pitched his 1,000th career inning. ...
Randolph was ejected for the first time this season and the second
time in his career. ... The slow-footed Johnson has four stolen
bases. ... Olympic figure skaters Sarah and Emily Hughes were on
the field before the game.