<
>

Cameron notches HR, four RBI

DENVER (AP) -- Mike Cameron never thought the ball would clear
the wall.

He didn't have to worry. This is Coors Field, after all.

Cameron lined a three-run homer over the center-field fence in
the first inning and drove in four runs, and Kris Benson pitched
six solid innings to lead the New York Mets past the Colorado
Rockies 10-3 Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader.

"It was just a fastball up and I stayed on top of it," Cameron
said. "I didn't think it was going to go out because of how low it
was hit. It carried out, so that's a good thing."

Richard Hidalgo hit his 20th homer and Vance Wilson had three
hits and two RBI for the Mets, who roughed up Shawn Estes to win
for the fourth time in six games.

The teams were forced to play two after Wednesday night's game
was rained out. Colorado's Jeff Fassero was set to face Al Leiter
in the nightcap.

New York had 15 hits and Colorado 12, but the difference was
that the Mets capitalized on their scoring chances and the Rockies
didn't. Colorado stranded 12 baserunners, including seven in the
first four innings when the game was still close.

"It wasn't a good day for us. We were outpitched," Rockies
manager Clint Hurdle said. "It wasn't as close at 9-3 or 10-3. It
wasn't that close."

Estes (13-5) had pitched well the past six weeks, going eight
starts without losing. But he certainly wasn't as sharp in this
one.

The Mets batted around against the left-hander in the first
inning, with Gerald Williams and Joe McEwing starting things off
with a pair of singles.

Estes appeared as if he would get out of the inning after Todd
Zeile hit into a double play, but he walked Hidalgo and left a
fastball up in the zone to Cameron, who lined it over the wall in
center for his career-high 26th homer.

Estes kept having trouble keeping the ball down after that,
giving up an RBI single to Benson in the third, Hidalgo's solo
homer in the fourth and Williams' run-scoring triple in the fifth
that made it 6-3.

The left-hander allowed six runs and 10 hits in five innings,
his first loss since June 29 against Milwaukee. He also matched a
season high with six walks.

"Some days are just like this. There are no excuses," Estes
said. "I didn't make pitches when I had to. It's one thing to get
into some situations where they have runners in scoring position
and just get hit. You have to make pitches to get out of them."

Benson (10-9) worked through trouble as well, allowing at least
two baserunners in three of the first four innings. He just did a
better job of limiting the damage.

Benson gave up a run in the first inning when Cameron misplayed
Vinny Castilla's flyball near the wall in center, twisting around
as the ball dropped over his head for an RBI double.

Benson started the fourth inning by hitting Matt Holliday with a
pitch and walking Charles Johnson, leading to two more runs. Royce
Clayton knocked in Holliday with a single, and Johnson scored from
third on a wild pitch to cut New York's lead to 5-3.

But that was it for the Rockies. Benson left after giving up
three runs and seven hits in his second win in four starts with New
York since being traded from Pittsburgh.

"I felt pretty good out there, I feel I pitched pretty well,"
Benson said. "Anytime you can get out of here with a win and hold
those guys under five or six runs, it's always a good day."

Mike Stanton, Mike DeJean, Ricky Bottalico and Pedro Feliciano
combined for three innings of scoreless relief.

New York scored two more runs off Allan Simpson in the sixth on
Wilson's RBI double and a groundout by Danny Garcia that made it
8-3. Wilson added another RBI double in the eighth, and Cameron had
an RBI double in the ninth.

Game notes
Cameron's 26 homers match the team record for a center
fielder, set by Tommie Agee in 1969. ... Cameron stole second in
the eighth inning, becoming the sixth Mets player to hit 20 homers
and have 20 stolen bases in a season. ... DeJean had to leave in
the eighth inning after being hit on the leg by Aaron Miles' line
drive. ... It was the 29th doubleheader in Rockies history.