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Rookie Bacsik fires complete game vs. Marlins

NEW YORK (AP) -- When Mike Bacsik was called up to the majors, he
didn't expect to stay long. His plans might soon change.

Bacsik pitched a seven-hitter in his second major league start,
and Mo Vaughn and Jeromy Burnitz homered to lead the New York Mets
to an 8-3 win over the Florida Marlins on Monday night.

"I only packed for about six days, so I have to get ready to do
some laundry,'' Bacsik said. "I hope I can stay up here.''

Bacsik became the first Mets rookie to toss a complete game
since Masato Yoshii on May 21, 1998, and only the fourth New York
pitcher in the last 25 years to win his first two career starts,
according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Eric Hillman (1992), Dave Telgheder (1993) and Robert Person
(1995-96) were the others.

Bacsik, called up to replace injured starter Steve Trachsel,
beat the Marlins 5-3 in his first big league start 10 days ago.
This time he was even more impressive, flashing a good curveball
and showing sharp control.

"I know as a rookie every game's not going to be like this,''
said Bacsik, who said about 40 or 50 friends and family members
were watching back home at Bobby Valentine's restaurant in
Arlington, Texas. "I was nervous before the game. I just had to
tell myself to trust myself and go out and have fun -- I'm playing a
baseball game.''

Bacsik (2-0) struck out seven, walked one and drove in a run
with a suicide squeeze bunt to send the Marlins to their
season-high fifth straight loss.

"Hopefully, we can catch this thing before it gets way too
far,'' Florida catcher Charles Johnson said.

Bacsik, whose father, Mike, pitched in the majors for Texas and
Minnesota from 1975-80, got a nice hand from the crowd of 39,706
when Valentine let him hit in the eighth inning. The 24-year-old
left-hander threw 111 pitches in a game that took just 2 hours, 25
minutes.

"That's twice he's looked good. He knows how to pitch,''
Marlins manager Jeff Torborg said.

Florida's Kevin Millar homered twice, and Preston Wilson hit a
solo shot.

Even with All-Star catcher Mike Piazza scratched from the
starting lineup because of a sore lower back, the Mets enjoyed one
of their best offensive games of the season. New York climbed back
to .500 and moved out of a tie for third place with Florida in the
NL East.

New York took a 2-0 lead in the first on Vaughn's sacrifice fly
and Edgardo Alfonzo's two-out RBI single. Burnitz, slowly breaking
out of a season-long slump, hit a solo shot to left off Brad Penny
(3-4) in the third inning. It was his 10th of the year and first
since June 24 off Atlanta's Kevin Millwood.

Roger Cedeno singled with one out in the fourth and scored from
first on Vance Wilson's double. Wilson went to third on the throw
to the plate, then took off for home on the next pitch. Bacsik
dropped a nice bunt toward third for his first career RBI and a 5-1
lead.

After Burnitz walked in the fifth, Vaughn sent a 3-1 pitch an
estimated 451 feet over the right-field bullpen for his 12th home
run of the season.

"That's what we've been waiting for,'' Alfonzo said. "We put
it all together.''

Cedeno added an RBI single to make it 8-1.

Wilson hit a long home run over the left-center bleachers in the
sixth, his 16th of the season. The former Met has five homers
against New York this season and 16 in his career since being
traded in a package for Piazza in 1998.

Penny struggled with his control and was roughed up in his third
start since coming off the disabled list. He gave up eight runs,
eight hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings to remain winless since
April 27.

Game notes
The Marlins optioned RHP Blaine Neal to Triple-A Calgary
and will activate RHP Josh Beckett from the disabled list to start
Tuesday afternoon. The touted rookie has been out since June 5 with
a blister on his middle finger. ... The Mets wore their 1986
uniforms, and a highlight video from that World Series championship
season was shown during batting practice. ... Marlins SS Alex
Gonzalez, on the disabled list with a dislocated left shoulder,
began a rehabilitation assignment in the Class-A Gulf Coast League.
... The Marlins wore retro uniforms from the 1952 Miami Marlins, a
Triple-A team in the International League run by Bill Veeck. ... It
was Millar's first career multihomer game. ... Vaughn has seven
homers in his last 16 games. ... Burnitz is batting .583 (7-for-12)
with five runs scored in his past four games.