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Tejera allows only two runs in 7 1/3 innings

MIAMI (AP) -- Michael Tejera had teammates, friends and family
congratulating him after his fourth consecutive victory. Even Mets
shortstop and fellow Cuban defector Rey Ordonez stopped by.

The 25-year-old left-hander allowed two runs in a career-high 7
1/3 innings as the Florida Marlins beat Ordonez and the New York Mets 5-2 on Saturday night, eight years to the day after Tejera
left Cuba.

"I very happy here,'' said Tejera, who left 30 tickets for
friends and family. "Good things have been happening. ... It was a
good game for me and the team.''

Tejera (5-1) allowed five hits, struck out five and walked two.
He left to a standing ovation after giving up a two-run home run to
Roberto Alomar in the eighth inning.

Tejera lowered his ERA from 2.93 to 2.87, best among Marlins
starters.

"He's a gutsy little guy,'' said Mets catcher Mike Piazza, one
of two players Tejera hit with pitches. "He pitches both sides of
the plate, he's got a good changeup and keeps guys off balance.''

Braden Looper struck out two in the eighth, then Vladimir Nunez
walked Jay Payton and Joe McEwing before he was relieved by Armando
Almanza with one out.

Almanza struck out pinch-hitters Mo Vaughn and Vance Wilson for
his first major league save.

A night after whiffing 14 times, the Mets struck out 10 times,
including the last five outs.

"It was another frustrating night with the bats,'' Piazza said.

Tejera, who defected to the United States on July 6, 1994,
earned a roster spot after a strong spring.

He was the team's most effective lefty out of the bullpen, but
started to shine when the Marlins moved him into the rotation to
fill in for injured starters Josh Beckett and Brad Penny.

Using primarily a high-80s fastball, a low-70s curve and a
decent change-up, Tejera is 4-0 with a 1.39 ERA in his last five
starts.

With Penny returning to the rotation Sunday and Beckett on pace
to return in the middle of the month, manager Jeff Torborg could
face a tough decision on who to keep in the rotation.

"We're going to have six starters and there's room for five,''
Torborg said. "He belongs there. Look what he's doing.''

The Marlins scored twice in the first and twice in the third,
then added another run in the sixth to win for the fourth time in
six games.

Preston Wilson hit his 14th home run, a solo shot in the first.
Mike Lowell then walked and scored from first on Cliff Floyd's
double.

Wilson and Lowell walked to start the third, moved up a base
when Floyd was hit and both scored on Derrek Lee's single.

Walks continued to be a problem for Shawn Estes (3-7). He
allowed four runs on four hits and six walks.

"I thought we should have scored more runs early, but Shawn put
us in a hole,'' Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "It's not just
his curve. He walked guys tonight on four straight fastballs.''

Estes has allowed four or more walks in five of seven starts.

"I had a lot of problems with my command,'' he said. "I dug us
a hole we couldn't get out of. I've been out of rhythm and out of
sync. I found it in the fifth, but it was a little late.''

Andy Fox doubled to lead off the sixth and came home on a pair
of groundouts to make it 5-0.

The Mets cut into the lead in the eighth when pinch-hitter Tony
Tarasco walked with one out, and Alomar followed with his seventh
homer.

"I threw a lot of strikes and got ahead early,'' said Tejera,
adding that the pitch to Alomar was one of the few mistakes he made
all night. "I also kept the ball down well.''

Game notes
The Mets fell to 3-7 in their last 10 games and haven't won
two in a row since June 20-21. ... The Marlins were 3-for-4
stealing bases against Mike Piazza. ... McEwing snapped an 0-for-33
hitless streak with a single in the third inning. ... Marlins 2B
Luis Castillo was out of the lineup for just the second time since
ending his 35-game hitting streak. He missed the game because of a
sore hamstring.