Series: Game 1 of 3

NY Mets leads 1-0 (as of 5/6)

Game 1: Tuesday, May 6
LA Dodgers2Final
NY Mets3
Game 2: Wednesday, May 7
LA Dodgers2Final
NY Mets1
Game 3: Thursday, May 8
LA Dodgers6Final
NY Mets1

Dodgers 2

(16-17, 7-10 away)

Mets 3

(14-18, 9-7 home)

    7:10 PM ET, May 6, 2003

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    LA 001010000 2 5 1
    NYM 01020000 - 3 11 0

    W: P. Astacio (2-1)

    L: O. Perez (1-2)

    S: A. Benitez (10)

    Astacio beats Dodgers; Piazza sits out

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Tony Clark and Vance Wilson provided the excitement in the first regular-season meeting between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers, not Mike Piazza and Guillermo Mota.

    Piazza didn't play for the Mets after having a mole removed, and Mota didn't relieve for the Dodgers. With extra security at Shea Stadium to prevent trouble Tuesday night, there was none.

    Clark and Wilson, both usually backups, hit consecutive fourth-inning homers that powered New York to a 3-2 victory.

    "I didn't think anything was going to happen. I don't think anything is going to happen the next two days, either," Mota said. "It's over with."

    It was far more peaceful than their exhibition game March 12, when Piazza was hit by Mota's pitch and the teams got into a wild brawl. Piazza and Mota, who served four-game suspensions, hadn't been together in the same ballpark since the fight.

    "I didn't expect any problems," Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "We're all professionals. We're trying to win games, they're trying to win games."

    The potential for a rematch fizzled before the game, when Piazza said he couldn't catch for a day or two after having a mole removed from his abdomen Monday.

    Wilson, his replacement, found out during batting practice that Piazza was sidelined and wound up supplying the decisive run.

    "I prepare myself to start every day, just for instances like this," Wilson said.

    Clark got his sixth start of the season at first base because Mo Vaughn went on the disabled list Sunday. Vaughn had an MRI exam and X-ray of his left knee Tuesday and learned he has arthritis, 10-12 bone spurs, lack of cartilage and fluid. He probably will be treated with injections of painkillers.

    "I look at this as an opportunity to give Mo a few days," said Clark, who has six homers and 11 RBI. "When Mo gets full back, 100 percent, we're going to jump on his back."

    Pedro Astacio (2-1), pounded for nine runs by St. Louis in his previous start, allowed two runs and four hits in six innings against his former team.

    David Weathers, Mike Stanton, Scott Strickland and Armando Benitez finished the five-hitter, with Mets manager Art Howe playing righty-lefty as he worked his relievers. Howe said some of them had asked for more work and he was coming around to their point of view.

    "My theory is they'll rest when they die," he joked.

    Benitez pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 15 chances. He has converted five in a row after his shaky start, working on keeping his shoulder from opening too quickly toward the plate.

    "When I fly open, the hitter sees my wrist real good," he said.

    Dodgers starter Odalis Perez (1-2) gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings.

    "My arm was OK, but my timing wasn't there," he said. "I wasn't hitting the spots."

    Los Angeles, last in the NL with 99 runs, has scored two runs or fewer in 13 of 33 games.

    "It's very difficult to win a major league game with two runs, but it's what we've been trying to do," Tracy said.

    New York's Rey Sanchez was booed when he was introduced, possibly because of an ESPN radio report that he had a haircut in the clubhouse during a game earlier this season, an account he denied.

    Sanchez turned the boos to cheers in the second with an RBI triple over Dave Roberts, a ball that bent back over the center fielder. Sanchez wouldn't say whether it was difficult to keep his focus.

    "It's over with. Nothing to be said," was his response.

    Brian Jordan's RBI single tied the score in the third, but Clark and Wilson homered during a three-pitch span in the fourth, the first consecutive homers for the Mets since Jeromy Burnitz and Jason Phillips at Atlanta last Sept. 12.

    Los Angeles got a run in the fifth when Paul Lo Duca singled, Shawn Green walked and Astacio threw a pair of wild pitches before striking out Jordan to end the inning. New York's bullpen allowed one hit the rest of the way.

    "We've been playing better for the last five, six games," Howe said. "Hopefully, it will stretch out for a while."

    Game notes

    Dodgers C Todd Hundley, sidelined with an irritation of the sciatic nerve and on the 15-day DL, had an epidural to ease the pain in the nerve and is not expected to rejoin the club on the current trip. ... Tsuyoshi Shinjo had three hits for New York. ... Astacio improved to 5-7 against the Dodgers. ... Four of Clark's homers have put New York ahead.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press