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Benson pitches three-hit ball for seven innings

NEW YORK -- The San Francisco Giants were feeling good about
themselves for the first time in 11 days. Carlos Beltran, Cliff
Floyd and the New York Mets changed that in a hurry.

Beltran robbed Michael Tucker of a leadoff homer, Floyd
connected twice and the Mets routed San Francisco 12-1 Sunday night
for a doubleheader split.

"We're proving to ourselves that we're a very good ballclub,"
New York third baseman David Wright said. "We played long ball, we
played small ball. We did everything well offensively."

In the opener, Brett Tomko just about ended the Giants'
eight-game losing streak all by himself. He hit a three-run double
and pitched into the eighth, leading his team to a 6-3 victory --
its first since May 25 against the Dodgers.

Lance Niekro homered, doubled and singled, and Marquis Grissom
drove in the go-ahead run to end San Francisco's longest slide
since also dropping eight straight in May 2000.

But ace Jason Schmidt followed with a dud in the nightcap,
lasting only four innings. He threw 98 pitches, gave up six runs
and walked four -- including pitcher Kris Benson with the bases
loaded.

In fact, it was a big day at the plate for pitchers. The
starters combined for five RBI and four hits, including a pair of
doubles.

On the mound, Benson threw three-hit ball for seven innings --
with a boost from Beltran, who redeemed himself right away. After
failing to track down Grissom's tiebreaking double in the opener,
he made a leaping grab of Tucker's drive to start the nightcap.

"Save a run right there and maybe set the tempo for the game,"
Beltran said. "He hit it hard, but at the same time it was very
high and that gave me an opportunity to get back to the wall."

Wright homered and scored three times, and Victor Diaz also
connected. Jose Reyes finished with three hits and scored three
times, and Floyd had four RBI.

Benson (4-2) yielded only Pedro Feliz's RBI single and earned
his fourth win in five starts. It was his first victory against San
Francisco since Aug. 29, 2000, with Pittsburgh.

"Our starters have been unbelievable," Floyd said.

Schmidt, Benson's teammate with the Pirates from 1999-01, wasn't
nearly as good. The right-hander has pitched only 13 1/3 innings in
three starts since returning from a strained shoulder, allowing 13
earned runs. This was his first loss in seven starts since April 16
at Colorado.

"I do feel all right. As funny as it may sound, tonight I felt
I was almost right there," Schmidt said. "Obviously, the
location's got to get better, but I felt I was right there."

Schmidt (3-2) walked Floyd leading off the second and Wright
again showed impressive opposite-field power, driving a 1-1 pitch
over the right-center fence.

Benson opened the third with a double and advanced when Reyes
capped an 11-pitch at-bat with an infield single. Reyes stole
second, and consecutive sacrifice flies by Kaz Matsui and Beltran
made it 4-0.

Wright singled, stole second and scored on Benson's bases-loaded
walk in the fourth. Reyes added an RBI groundout against Schmidt.

"We'd like to know how to get him out of that rut, that streak.
He's not the guy we know," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "With
the guy we know, we're going to sweep these people tonight. He
wasn't throwing the ball well."

Floyd homered off Jim Brower in the fifth. Wright followed with
a single and scored on Diaz's fifth home run. Floyd added a two-run
shot in the eighth, his 14th, setting off the fourth fireworks
display of the night behind the center-field fence.

Game notes
The opener was a makeup of Friday night's rainout. It was
the first doubleheader of the year for both teams. ... Mets
starters are 7-3 with a 2.26 ERA in the past 11 games. ... It was
Floyd's 11th career multihomer game.