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Burnitz, Piazza power Mets past Braves

4/5/2002

ATLANTA (AP) -- These new-look New York Mets beat the Braves in
their very first try.

Jeromy Burnitz hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs,
Mike Piazza added a solo shot and Pedro Astacio won in his Mets'
debut, a 9-3 rout of Atlanta on Friday night.

"We were needing a win and waiting to bust out," Burnitz said.
"Although it was only our fourth game, we had lost two straight at
home, so it was good to come to Atlanta and get the first one from
them."

Burnitz is one of four new faces in the Mets everyday lineup.
The others are Roberto Alomar, Mo Vaughn and Roger Cedeno.

Astacio (1-0) allowed three runs and seven hits, leaving with
the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh. Astacio, who struck
out seven, had been 2-13 against the Braves -- but 2-2 at Turner
Field.

"I don't keep track of things like that," Astacio said. "I
like to pitch in every park in the big leagues."

David Weathers relieved and struck out Gary Sheffield to escape
the jam.

Sheffield had three homers in Atlanta's first three games and
was hitting .511 against Astacio coming in (23-for-45). He didn't
get the ball out of the infield, going 0-for-3.

"I just mixed it up against him and made some good pitches
tonight," Astacio said.

Piazza scored four runs and Edgardo Alfonzo and Cedeno each had
three of the Mets' 13 hits.

Andruw Jones' two-run homer put Atlanta ahead in the first, but
Albie Lopez, in his Braves' debut, was awful, falling behind 3-2 in
the second when he allowed RBI singles to Burnitz, Rey Ordonez and
Roger Cedeno. Astacio, 5-for-53 last year, helped the rally with a
single to center.

"I didn't break out my curveball until the fourth inning and by
that time it was too late," Lopez said.

New York got a pair of unearned runs in the third after Rafael
Furcal booted Alfonzo's grounder to shortstop.

B.J. Surhoff hit an RBI double in the fourth that closed the
Braves to 5-3, but Lopez allowed five runs -- three earned -- and
eight hits in four innings. Andruw Jones, after his second home run
in two nights, struck out four times.

Game notes
With John Franco sidelined, the Mets acquired RHP Scott
Strickland from Montreal along with OF Matt Watson and LHP Philip
Seibel for LHP Bruce Chen, RHP Dicky Gonzalez, INF Luis Figueroa
and a player to be named. ... Astacio's previous win over the
Braves was on Sept. 14, 1997. ... Greg Maddux, who missed his
opening day start on Monday because of an inflamed nerve in his
lower back, threw lightly on the side Friday. He was scheduled to
start Sunday against the Mets but following Friday night's game,
the Braves placed him on the 15-day disabled list. ... Lopez, a
career .027 hitter (1-for-37), singled to left in his only at-bat.