Fish-y: Mets Lose 4-3 As Benitez Blows Save

Another game, another ninth inning loss for the New York Mets. The Mets on Thursday night again snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory, this time with Armando Benitez (0-2) giving up two runs in the bottom of the ninth for the Marlins, who took the game 4-3.

Benitez came in for David Weathers with one out in the eighth, and nearly got out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth, battling back to strike out two batters. He then grooved a fastball to Juan Pierre, the Florida leadoff man, who hit a two-run, game-winning hit down the right field line.

The last few games have been shades of 2002 for this New York team, with bad defense (8 errors in 9 games) and dormant bats. David Weathers threw away a pick-off attempt, and Roger Cedeño dove for a fly ball in center field, but it went past Cedeño and rolled all the way to the wall, resulting in an Andy Fox triple.

The lone bright spot was the Mets' starting pitching, which held them in the game again, with Tom Glavine working out of jams to go six strong innings, giving up only 5 hits. After Glavine was removed for pinch hitter Tsuyoshi Shinjo in the top of the seventh, manager Art Howe went back to the bullpen, calling on Dave Weathers and Armando Benitez to close out the game in an ill-fated effort. Weathers surrendered one run while on the mound, and another run was charged to Weathers while Benitez was on the mound.

The story of the game was another night of putrid Met hitting, especially with runners in scoring position. Just like last night, the Mets could not continue any rallies with men on. With the bases loaded and no outs in the 4th inning, Tom Glavine, Roger Cedeño and Roberto Alomar all were struck out by young flamethrower Josh Beckett, who went five innings and allowed two runs.

In the third, Glavine and Cedeño got on, only to see Alomar ground into a double play, and after a Cliff Floyd walk, Mike Piazza strike out yet again.

They also missed out on a run when Timo Perez's rocket shot in the 8th bounced over the wall for a ground rule, holding Ty Wigginton at third base, where he would eventually be stranded.

The Mets did their scoring via the home run from Ty Wigginton in the second inning and Cliff Floyd in the 8th, and an RBI single by Timo Perez, who was playing right field for Jeromy Burnitz.

The Mets, who have lost three of their last four, travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico tomorrow night to take on the Montreal Expos in the first of the Expos' 22 "home" games on the island.

If the Mets expect to win they must start hitting in the clutch. They have one hit with runners in scoring position in the last two games. Not only that, but Art Howe needs to stop taxing the bullpen so much. Tom Glavine could have easily gone another inning in tonight's game. Weathers, Benitez and Mike Stanton all seemed fatigued already.

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