Kris Benson looked like a money pitcher yesterday, helping the New York Mets put an end to three streaks.
Rejuvenated after skipping one turn in the rotation, Benson gained some leverage in ongoing contract talks by pitching a shutout into the seventh inning, and struggling New York cooled off the Florida Marlins, 4-0, in Miami.
The Mets snapped an 11-game losing streak while stopping the Marlins' franchise record-tying nine-game winning streak. New York also ended a run of 10 consecutive losses to Florida.
"Kris gave us exactly what we needed -- a bunch of zeros on the board," Mets Manager Art Howe said.
Benson (11-11) had been idle since Aug. 29 while nursing a sore shoulder. He can become a free agent after this season and has been talking with the Mets about a multiyear deal.
"One start off did wonders," he said. "I came into today with a lot of confidence knowing that I had some rest, and my arm felt great."
With the area recovering from Hurricane Frances and bracing for Hurricane Ivan, announced attendance was 13,102, but the actual crowd on a sunny, 87-degree afternoon numbered perhaps 4,000.
* PHILLIES 9, BRAVES 4: In Atlanta, Philadelphia overcame a blown lead and a bizarre home run with Jim Thome's two-run double and another stellar performance by the bullpen.
Philadelphia helped its faltering playoff hopes by taking three of four games at Turner Field. The relievers certainly did their job, pitching 16 scoreless innings during the series.
Atlanta overcame a 4-0 deficit, tying it in the fourth when Phillies center fielder Jason Michaels accidentally swatted the ball over the fence to give Charles Thomas a home run.
* PIRATES 3-2, ASTROS 1-9: A pitcher needs to be nearly flawless to have a chance of beating Houston these days. Oliver Perez was that and more in the first game of the doubleheader. Houston rebounded to win the second game.
Perez ended the Astros' 12-game winning streak with the most dominating start of his short career, striking out 14 in Pittsburgh.
"It's the best game of my career," said Perez, who started against Houston only because the Pirates were rained out Wednesday against Milwaukee.
The Astros had scored at least five runs in each game of a winning streak that matched the franchise high and was the longest in the NL since Atlanta won 15 in a row in 2000. Houston also averaged nine runs during its streak.
Perez leads the majors by averaging 11 strikeouts. In the second game, Jeff Bagwell, Brad Ausmus and Lance Berkman drove in two runs each, and Houston won for the 13th time in 14 games.
* BREWERS 7, REDS 2: Wes Helms hit a grand slam, and Brady Clark had four hits against his former team in Cincinnati.
Doug Davis (11-10) tied his career high for wins with his first victory in seven starts since July 30.
Clark went 4 for 4 with two doubles, two singles and a walk.
* ROCKIES 9, PADRES 7: In Denver, Todd Helton had three RBI and Aaron Miles hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the seventh. Jorge Piedra had three hits and scored four runs as a last-minute replacement for Jeromy Burnitz.
The Padres are 1-4 against the fourth-place Rockies the past week and have lost seven of 10 overall.
* DODGERS 5, DIAMONDBACKS 3: Steve Finley homered twice, driving in the go-ahead run for the second consecutive game, and Jose Lima earned his first win in a month for host Los Angeles.
Finley snapped a 2-2 tie in the fifth inning with a solo homer, then hit a two-run shot in the sixth for a 5-2 lead.
The Dodgers won 16 of 19 against Arizona this season.