On Turn Ahead the Clock Night, the Pittsburgh Pirates' pitching staff showed off its future.
Kris Benson pitched his first career complete game and Al Martin hit two solo homers, including one leading off the game, and Pittsburgh beat the New York Mets 5-1 Tuesday night.
"I was pumped up out there with the different uniforms," said Benson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 amateur draft. "I'm glad I came up before the new stadium and the other guys from the minors came here. I'm excited about being a part of this team's future."
Brant Brown also hit a solo homer for the Pirates, who stopped the Mets' season-high six-game winning streak and won for just the fourth time in their last 18 games at Shea Stadium.
"Tonight he had as good as stuff as we've seen," manager Gene LaMont said. "His slider was outstanding. There comes a time when you have to prove to yourself that you can pitch a complete game. He did that tonight."
Benson (8-8) threw first-pitch strikes to 25 of 33 batters in holding the Mets to six hits and no walks. He struck out five. The only run scored on Robin Ventura's homer in the seventh.
Benson, who was 1-3 with a 10.52 ERA in his first four starts this month, credits his success to a mishap in his previous start. He was hit in the back of the left leg on a hard liner by Jose Hernandez, leaving a nasty bruise that is still in his leg.
"That made me realize I wasn't landing where I should be," Benson said. "I worked on it between starts and I was able to get a better downward plane on my pitches. That gave my slider a good sinking movement."
Martin provided all the offense Benson needed, hitting an opposite-field homer to left on the second pitch of the game from Orel Hershiser (10-8).
Martin then hit Hershiser's first pitch of the seventh inning over the wall in right-centr for his 16th homer to make it 3-0. It was Martin's fourth career multihomer game and third this season.
"I threw the ball well except for the solo homers," Hershiser said. "But their guy pitched great. He had three pitches. If you have one pitch, you can pitch here; two pitches you can pitch well. If you have three pitches, you can dominate."
The Mets' only threat came in the third inning. With runners on first and second and two outs, Matt Franco hit a chopper to shortstop Abraham Nunez. Instead of throwing to first, Nunez tried to force Edgardo Alfonzo at second. The throw was late, loading the bases. Mike Piazza then grounded out on the first pitch to end the inning.
"It was pretty tough to take a pitch because he had all his stuff working," Piazza said. "He knows what he's doing out there."
Pittsburgh's other runs scored on an RBI groundout by Warren Morris in the fourth inning and a run-scoring single by Ed Sprague in the seventh. Hershiser allowed four runs, seven hits and five walks in 6 1-3 innings.
As part of baseball's promotion to depict what the game will look like in 2021, the teams wore special uniforms. The Pirates wore red shirts with black and yellow trim and a giant pirate face on the front.
"Before the game, I was the loudest one ragging on these things," Martin said. "Now I can't wait to wear them again."
The Mets wore black-and-silver shirts with a symbol for Mercury taking the place of the NY.
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