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Mets stop six-game losing streak

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Good starting pitching, power when it was
needed, a close-the-door effort from Armando Benitez. The New York
Mets must be wondering where this has been all season.

Tom Glavine's third consecutive strong start and Jeromy
Burnitz's two-run homer led the Mets past the Pittsburgh Pirates
3-1 Tuesday night, ending their six-game losing streak.

Benitez, the struggling closer who blew three leads in the last
nine days, worked a scoreless ninth for his fourth save. An in-game
pep talk from second baseman Roberto Alomar might have helped.

"He told me, `Hey, we know what you can do, we believe in
you,'" Benitez said. "I needed to be in this game. I needed it
for myself. I've never been in anything like this."

Glavine was everything the Mets knew he could be when they
signed him away from the Braves. Glavine (2-1) limited the Pirates
to three singles over 6 1-3 innings, striking out five and walking
three. Since a 15-2 opening-day loss to the Cubs in his Mets debut,
Glavine has allowed only two runs over 18 innings in three starts,
a 1.00 ERA.

With the Mets slumping, Glavine treated every runner as if he
might be the potential winning run.

"I know what I can do and what I can't do," Glavine said. "I
can't go out there and do anything differently. But we needed a
win, so maybe you gamble a little bit more ... try to be more
stubborn. Every run can make the difference."

Glavine, improving to 19-12 against Pittsburgh, even struck out
Jason Kendall -- the first time he's done that in 28 at-bats. Only
Don Slaught (32 at-bats) had a longer streak without striking out
against the left-hander, who won his 244th career game.

"When he gets the lead and gets in that kind of groove, he can
be awfully tough to beat," Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said.
"He starts smelling that win, and there's not much you can do with
him."

Burnitz was 3-for-4 with two singles off Josh Fogg (1-2) as the
Mets bounced back after being outscored 22-8 during Montreal's
four-game weekend sweep in Puerto Rico. The Mets also lost the
final two games of a three-game series in Florida before flying to
San Juan.

The Mets avoided their longest losing streak since they dropped
12 in a row in August. They have had three losing streaks of at
least six games over the final two months of last season and the
first two weeks of this season.

The Mets were short on pitching and power in Puerto Rico, but
got both in Pittsburgh. Burnitz's second homer, a drive deep into
the seats in right-center, put them up 2-1 in the fifth and came
after Ty Wigginton reached when shortstop Abraham Nunez misplayed
his grounder for an error.

Cliff Floyd, raising his career average against the Pirates to
.349, followed an inning later with a run-scoring double. Alomar
led off with a single against Fogg, who gave up three runs -- two
earned -- and six hits in seven innings.

Glavine retired 13 in a row before Reggie Sanders walked leading
off the seventh and Pokey Reese singled with one out. The Pirates
loaded the bases against reliever Jaime Cerda before Kenny Lofton
flied out to deep center to end the threat.

Scott Strickland pitched a scoreless eighth.

"The bullpen got some big outs, some huge outs," manager Art
Howe said. "Now, Armando is out of his slump and things can get
back on track."

Pittsburgh's only run came after Sanders walked and stole second
in the second. With two outs and first base open, Howe ordered
Nunez intentionally walked, and Fogg grounded a run-scoring single
into left for his second hit of the season.

Game notes
Glavine was lifted after throwing 101 pitches. ... Howe
needs three more victories for 1,000 in his managing career. ...
The Mets were 0-2 in Pittsburgh last season. ... Mets 1B Mo Vaughn
returned to the lineup a day after having fluid drained from his
left knee. ... As usual, the Mets had an adventuresome day in the
field. Vaughn fell on his backside catching Aramis Ramirez's popup
in the eighth, and center fielder Roger Cedeno made consecutive
sliding catches of fly balls by Ramirez and Kevin Young in the
sixth. ... The Pirates are 1-3 since LF Brian Giles (sprained right
knee) left the lineup. ... Mets LHP Mike Stanton (strained left
calf) is listed as day-to-day, but probably won't be available to
pitch until at least Thursday.