There once was a time when Armando Benitez, protecting a two-run lead, may have wavered after being booed by the fans at Camden Yards.
He was absolutely fearless Sunday night.
Rickey Henderson put the Mets ahead for good with a leadoff homer and Benitez sealed Masato Yoshii's first win in a month as New York won 8-6 and ended Baltimore's five-game winning streak.
New York led 8-1 but let the Orioles close within two runs before bringing in Benitez, who entered in the ninth to a chorus of boos from those left in the crowd of 47,480.
Traded from Baltimore to the Mets in a three-way deal last winter, Benitez walked his first batter but got his seventh save in 11 chances, retiring Albert Belle on a game-ending flyout.
"He just reared back and threw it," said Orioles manager Ray Miller, whose bullpen has struggled all season.
Said Benitez: "He lose a good pitcher. He can't have him now."
Yoshii (7-7) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings. He was 0-2 in four starts since beating Cincinnati on June 17 and had won only once since May 25.
"Yoshii had really good stuff until he ran out of gas with the humidity," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said.
Henderson put New York ahead for good by driving Juan Guzman's fourth pitch over the left-field wall, the record 75th leadoff home run of his career. He went 3-for-4 with a walk and scored three runs.
Robin Ventura had three hits and two RBIs for the Mets, who have won five of seven. New York is 6-2 against the Orioles since interleague play began in 1997.
"We came in knowing they're a good hitting team," Valentine said. "We wondered if six or seven runs was enough. It turned out to be just enough."
Jeff Conine homered and Belle had three hits for the Orioles, who missed a chance to climb out of last place in the AL East, thanks in part to Benitez.
"We all know Armando is a talent and throws hard," Miller said. "Wen you have that type of arm, you can get on a roll."
But the Orioles also fared well on the deal, getting catcher Charles Johnson from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"Armando got a new lease on life in New York and we got a four-time Gold Glove catcher," Miller said. "Both teams benefited."
New York went up 5-1 with a three-run fifth inning. Mike Piazza and Ventura delivered RBI singles before Brian McRae hit a sacrifice fly.
Guzman (4-8), whose stay in Baltimore may not last past the July 31 trade deadline, gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings. He has lost four of his last five decisions.
The Mets expanded their lead to 8-1 against Ricky Bones in the sixth, getting RBI singles from Edgardo Alfonzo, John Olerud and Ventura.
Baltimore made it interesting with a four-run seventh that featured RBI singles by Brady Anderson and B.J. Surhoff. With two on and two outs, Harold Baines hit a popup.
Conine hit a solo pinch-homer off Dennis Cook with none on in the eighth.
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