Marlins unable to cash in on Pudge's five walks


MIAMI (AP) -- The New York Mets weren't about to let Ivan Rodriguez beat them, and the Florida Marlins made the strategy look smart.

Rodriguez walked five times, matching the most in a National League nine-inning game since 1891, but his teammates failed to take advantage as the Mets beat the Marlins 4-2 Tuesday night.

Al Leiter (2-0) limited Florida to two runs in 6 2/3 innings. The crafty lefty gave up six hits and five walks -- four to Rodriguez.

"There's a difference between pitching around him and not
giving in to him,'' Leiter said. "Pudge was very patient. He took
some close pitches.''

Rodriguez saw 19 pitches from Leiter, three for strikes. Three times after Rodriguez walked, Leiter retired Mike Lowell with two runners on to end a threat.

Ty Wigginton hit a three-run homer for the Mets. The Marlins, last in the NL East, stranded 11 runners and lost their third game in a row.

Rodriguez set a Marlins record for walks in just his seventh
game with the team. He has never walked more than 38 times in a

"He's not shy about swinging the bat,'' Mets manager Art Howe said. "You usually have to throw it behind him to walk him.''

The All-Star catcher walked on a 3-2 pitch in the ninth before
Armando Benitez retired Derrek Lee with two on to end the game. Lee
drove in both Florida runs with a single and a sacrifice fly, but
he stranded six runners in his final three at-bats, dropping his
average to .214.

Rodriguez is batting .375.

"He's hot, and the guy behind him is not,'' Lee said. "They're going to take their chances with me.''

Wigginton's shot off Mark Redman cleared the 434-foot sign in
center field, only the fifth homer this season for New York. The
rookie lost track of the ball when he hit it.

"I looked up, and all I saw were the lights,'' Wigginton said. "I had no idea where it was.''

The homer, which came with two outs after Cliff Floyd walked and
Mike Piazza singled, made the score 4-0. Wigginton finished 3-for-3
with a walk, two runs scored and his first RBIs this season.

"He's a talented kid,'' Marlins manager Jeff Torborg said.
"That's why he's starting for them. He crushed that home run.''

Floyd, playing against his former team for the first time since
joining the Mets, walked twice but went 0-for-2, dropping his
average to .208.

David Weathers relieved Leiter and retired Lee with two on to
end the seventh. Benitez worked the ninth for his third save,
bouncing back from a blown chance Sunday against Montreal.

Redman (1-1) allowed six hits and four runs, three earned, in seven innings.

The Mets' first run was unearned. Wigginton led off the second
with a single and advanced to third when a potential double-play
grounder got past first baseman Lee for an error. Tsuyoshi Shinjo
followed with a sacrifice fly.

Juan Pierre scored Florida's first run. He reached on a bunt
single, continued to second when catcher Piazza made a throwing
error and came home on Lee's single.

Lee hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the fifth to cut the
Mets' lead to 4-2.

Game notes
Mets RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder tendinitis) pitched four
innings in his second rehabilitation start for Class-A Port St.
Lucie against Vero Beach. He allowed three hits and one run and
threw 56 pitches. ... Three of Wigginton's seven career home runs
have come against the Marlins. ... Florida's Luis Castillo, who led
the NL with 48 steals last year, has yet to swipe a base. ...
Pierre has at least one hit in every game. ... The NL record for
walks in a nine-inning game is six, set by Walt Wilmot of Chicago
on Aug. 22, 1891. ... The Marlins sent LHP Tommy Phelps to Triple-A
Albuquerque. The move frees up a roster spot for RHP A.J. Burnett,
who will be activated for Wednesday's start against the Mets.