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Mets break team record with nine runs in ninth

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jay Payton was just as surprised as everyone else
at Turner Field.

Payton's broken-bat triple began a record-setting rally, and the
New York Mets scored nine runs in the ninth inning -- eight off
Atlanta closer John Smoltz -- to beat the Braves 11-2 Saturday
night.

"When I first hit it, I was mad that I broke my bat," Payton said. "But then I saw it was in the gap and I just started running like mad."

Payton couldn't believe how far the ball sailed, more than 350 feet into the left-center gap.

"I've got to give credit to Smoltzie. He was throwing around 100 mph. It was more due to him than me. He threw hard and I swung hard. I guess it was a combination," Payton said.

"I've never given up a broken-bat triple," Smoltz said.

The Mets won at Turner Field for the second night in a row
despite losing All-Star catcher Mike Piazza to a knee injury in the sixth inning. Piazza's replacement, Vance Wilson, hit a two-run double off Smoltz in the ninth.

With the game tied at 2, Payton tripled to start the ninth. Rey Ordonez reached on an infield single and, one out later, Roger Cedeno blooped an RBI single to left for the go-ahead run.

Roberto Alomar, who had been 0-for-9 in the two games, singled to score Ordonez. Smoltz struck out Mark Johnson for the second out before Wilson doubled in two more runs.

Payton, 1-for-14 to start the season, drew a bases-loaded walk, forcing in another run and bringing on Aaron Small to replace Smoltz.

Small gave up a three-run double to Ordonez and another RBI
double to Joe McEwing before walking Cedeno and Alomar to load the bases.

Small finally struck out Johnson for the third out, bringing a
sarcastic cheer from the crowd of 41,124.

Smoltz (0-1) was charged with eight runs, six hits and two walks.

"I've never had an inning like this in 14 years as a starter,"
he said. "Whew! That was unbelievable. It took me a long time to
accomplish something like that. The one thing is, it's not worth four or five losses, it's only one. I'm going to pretend like this didn't even happen."

Smoltz never gave up more than seven runs in an inning as a starter. That happened once, in a 12-4 loss to Cincinnati on June 6, 1994. He pitched three innings in that game and gave up nine runs, eight earned.

The Atlanta right-hander also gave up nine runs -- eight earned -- in a 16-8 loss at Colorado on Sept. 12, 1996. Smoltz pitched six
innings in that game.

Cedeno finished with three hits for the second straight night.
David Weathers (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the victory.

The Mets sent 15 batters to the plate in the ninth. The nine runs were the most scored by New York in an inning since a 10-run outburst in an 11-8 win over the Braves on June 30, 2000, at Shea Stadium.

It was the most runs ever scored by the Mets in the ninth inning, beating the previous best of seven, which New York had done four times.

The Braves tied it at 2 on a two-out, two-run single by B.J.
Surhoff in the sixth inning off New York starter Jeff D'Amico, who was making his Mets debut after being acquired from Milwaukee during the winter.

Chipper Jones came home from second base to score the second
run, sliding hard into Piazza on the play at the plate.

Piazza finished the inning but left the game with a bruised left knee. He is day-to-day.

"He got quite a contusion," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "It's swollen and black-and-blue. Tomorrow, he'll probably be available to pinch-hit, but not start."

D'Amico went six innings. He allowed five hits, two runs, walked
one and struck out four.

The Mets scored two unearned runs in the first inning off Braves
starter Tom Glavine.

Cedeno led off with a single, stole second and took third on a
two-out error by second baseman Marcus Giles on a grounder by
Piazza. Edgardo Alfonzo, who has hit in all five games, doubled to
the wall in right-center, scoring Cedeno and Piazza for a 2-0 lead.

Glavine went seven innings. He gave up six hits, two runs -- both
unearned -- walked three and struck out four.

Game notes
Cedeno, who stole 55 bases with Detroit last season, second
in the AL, swiped his first base. ... D'Amico struck out four of
his first six batters and none after that. ... Alfonzo is hitting
.727 (8-for-11) against left-handers and 10-for-20 (.500) overall.
... Braves shortstop Rafael Furcal, who made two errors, has four
in five games.