D-backs ride Batista complete game past Soler, Mets

NEW YORK (AP) -- Miguel Batista pitched that rarest of baseball commodities Tuesday night, a complete game, scattering nine hits in the Arizona Diamondbacks' 7-2 victory over the New York Mets.

"For us, a complete game like that, we don't see many of them," Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. "When he started out, his command was not that good, but he's a tough guy, like a boxer. The more pitches he throws, the better his command is."

And Batista threw plenty of pitches -- 124, 81 for strikes. He said he had more left in his tank if they were needed.

"I could have thrown another inning if I had to," he said.

That was not necessary because the Diamondbacks ganged up on Alay Soler (0-1) for seven runs in the first five innings with Eric Byrnes hitting his third home run in two days and Conor Jackson

adding a three-run shot.

That was plenty of support for Batista (5-2), who threw the eighth complete game of his career and first since June 9, 2004. He spent last year as Toronto's closer, appearing in 71 games, none as a starter.

"I am a utility right-handed pitcher," he said. "I can pitch in every situation, every day or every five days."

The complete game was just the third this season for Arizona. The other two belong to Brandon Webb, who takes an 8-0 record into a marquee matchup with Pedro Martinez on Wednesday.

Batista was asked why there are so few complete games.

"Because guys get $13 million to throw one inning," he said, referring to his old role as a closer.

Mets manager Willie Randolph was impressed with Batista's effort.

"An outstanding job," he said. "We couldn't get anything going. Every time we got a hit, he got out of the jam. He pitched a terrific game."

Soler didn't. The Cuban defector who was making his second major-league start allowed seven runs and eight hits in five innings.

The Diamondbacks scored two runs on one hit in the first inning.

Craig Counsell opened with a single and stole second. After Byrnes walked, the runners advanced on Chad Tracy's long fly ball. Luis Gonzalez followed with a sacrifice fly, with Counsell scoring and Byrnes advancing to third. When the fourth ball in a walk to Jackson was a wild pitch, Byrnes scored.

The Mets got an unearned run in the second.

Cliff Floyd and Jose Valentin opened with singles. Lastings Milledge, in his first major-league at-bat, lined to shortstop.

Soler bunted, and when Batista tried for the force at third, Tracy was off the base. Tracy then threw wide to first, allowing Floyd to score.

In the Arizona fourth, Johnny Estrada singled with one out and scored on a triple by Orlando Hudson.

In the fifth, Byrnes hit his third home run in two days and ninth of the season and after Tracy singled and Gonzalez walked, Jackson added a three-run shot, his sixth, .

Valentin hit his fourth homer in the ninth.Game notes
Indy 500 winner Sam Hornish Jr. threw out the first pitch. ... The Mets signed veteran catcher Mike DiFelice and outfielder Jacob Cruz to minor-league contracts. ... Byrnes' home run extended his hitting streak to 13 games. ... Soler threw 95 pitches in five innings with three walks and two wild pitches. ... Milledge got his first major-league hit, a double leading off the seventh. ... To make room for Milledge on the 40-man roster, the Mets transferred right-hander Brian Bannister (strained hamstring) to the 60-day disabled list.