New York Mets defeat Milwaukee Brewers, 5-4

New York - When you're off to a slow start, this is the kind of loss that really stings.

The Milwaukee Brewers played in traffic too many times to get away with it in the late innings Friday night, finally losing to the New York Mets, 5-4, on Luis Castillo's two-out, run-scoring infield hit in the bottom of the ninth.

Even reliever Todd Coffey, who pitched out of two late jams to keep his scoreless streak alive with the Brewers, found no solace in that achievement.

Gary Sheffield had slugged 129 homers as a Dodger, 122 as a Marlin, 76 as a Yankee and 172 with four other employers as he stepped to the plate as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning Friday night.

His Mets' résumé: four hitless at-bats.

But Sheffield spent his teenage years hanging out with uncle Dwight Gooden at Shea Stadium. So he suggested it was fitting that his 500th career homer came as a Met, after Doc urged the 40-year-old Sheffield to sign with the organiza...

Gary Sheffield was chopping the ball foul, spraying it hard everywhere, his swing zoning right in on Mitch Stetter's slow inside stuff and biorhythms. The home plate umpire, Derryl Cousins, kept pulling these specially marked balls out of his pocket, putting them in play, and you just knew the explosion was coming.

Then it arrived, a sharp liner off a fat 3-2 pitch that traveled 385 feet and jetted over the left-field wall in no time at all, into the hands of Chris Matc...