Mets 4, Pirates 3, 12 innings

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NEW YORK (AP) – Carlos Delgado homered leading off the 12th inning, giving the New York Mets a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night after another blown save by Billy Wagner cost Pedro Martinez his sixth win.

Substitute outfielder Endy Chavez sparked New York’s offense from the No. 8 spot on a rainy night at Shea Stadium, and Delgado drove in two runs.

Handed a 3-1 lead in the ninth, Wagner walked two and then gave up consecutive RBI singles to Jose Hernandez and Ronny Paulino with two outs. Wagner, who signed a $43 million, four-year contract in the offseason, has three blown saves in 10 chances.

The latest one prevented Martinez from becoming the first six-game winner in the major leagues. He fanned nine in six sharp innings and was one out from winning his first six starts for the second time in his career.

Jose Reyes hit an RBI triple and Delgado had a run-scoring double for the Mets, who sent Pittsburgh to its 14th loss in 16 road games this season. The punchless Pirates (8-21) have scored three runs or fewer in 15 of their past 17 games.

Delgado drove a 1-1 pitch from Mike Gonzalez (0-2) over the left-center fence for his 11th homer and No. 380 of his career. It was his fourth game-ending shot and first since July 8, 2004, with Toronto against Seattle.

Chad Bradford (1-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

With a steady rain falling from the third through the seventh, Martinez held Pittsburgh in check on only three hits.

Chavez started in right field as Xavier Nady was rested, and Chavez went 4-for-5 with two doubles. Chavez also made a spectacular, diving catch to open the 11th. By the late innings, a sparse crowd thinned by the rain was chanting “Endy! Endy!”

Mets manager Willie Randolph explained before the game that he simply likes the way Chavez is swinging the bat and he liked the matchup against starter Ian Snell.

Chavez has 15 hits in his last 38 at-bats (.395). NL East-leading New York has won six of eight.

Martinez allowed only a solo homer to Freddy Sanchez in the first. The right-hander walked one and left for a pinch-hitter after only 77 pitches.

With the score tied at 1, slumping slugger Cliff Floyd singled through the soggy infield to start the sixth and moved up on Ramon Castro’s sacrifice. Chavez hit a sinking drive to left-center that glanced off the glove of diving left fielder Jason Bay for an RBI double.

Floyd scored with a slide and then stood up, covered in mud.

One out later, the speedy Reyes hit a liner down the right-field line and practically splashed his way around the bases for a run-scoring triple that made it 3-1.

Sanchez connected with two outs in the first. Kaz Matsui doubled in the bottom half and scored on Delgado’s two-out double to left.

The Mets got a tough break in the second when Chavez’s long drive to right-center bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double, leaving runners at second and third.

Had the ball stayed in play, Chavez probably would have wound up with an RBI triple. Instead, the runners were stranded when Martinez and Reyes struck out.

Snell fanned nine in 5 2-3 innings. He allowed three runs and seven hits.

Notes: Martinez won his first eight starts with Montreal in 1997 en route to the first of his three Cy Young Awards, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. … The Pirates activated C Ryan Doumit from the 15-day disabled list and optioned INF Mike Edwards to Triple-A Indianapolis. … New York reliever Duaner Sanchez threw a hitless 10th, extending his scoreless streak to 21 innings dating to last year with the Dodgers – including 18 this year. … Pittsburgh RHP Roberto Hernandez, who had a strong season as a setup man with the Mets last year, worked a hitless 10th. … The four hits matched a career high for Chavez, done four times previously. The last was in September 2004 with Montreal. … The Mets announced that fans can exchange their stubs for free tickets to a June game against Cincinnati.

AP-ES-05-03-06 2259EDT

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