Series: Game 2 of 3

Series tied 1-1 (as of 5/31)

Game 1: Friday, May 30
NY Mets2
Game 2: Saturday, May 31
NY Mets4
Game 3: Sunday, June 1
NY Mets10

Braves 2

(37-18, 18-9 away)

Mets 4

(25-30, 14-12 home)

    1:15 PM ET, May 31, 2003

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    ATL 010000001 2 8 2
    NYM 00202000 - 4 10 0

    W: J. Seo (2-2)

    L: M. Hampton (2-3)

    S: A. Benitez (16)

    Hampton struggles vs. Mets rookie Seo

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Jae Seo is making a believer out of Art Howe.

    Seo pitched into the ninth inning to win for the first time in more than six weeks and Tsuyoshi Shinjo hit a two-run double to lead the New York Mets to a 4-2 victory Saturday over the Atlanta Braves.

    "To be honest, I didn't think Jae Seo had a shot to make the club when we went to spring training," said Howe, New York's first-year manager. "I didn't know who he was. The first time I saw him throw I liked what I saw. It was just a matter of him gaining strength."

    Seo's career was slowed by reconstructive elbow surgery that forced him to miss almost two years.

    He worked his way back gradually the past two years in the minors before making the club this spring -- much to his own surprise.

    "Coming into spring training my initial goal with new coaches and a manager was to make a strong impression whether I made the team or went to Norfolk," he said through an interpreter. "I was expecting to go to Norfolk to start the season."

    Instead, he's been New York's steadiest starter despite having only two wins to show for it. Seo has a 2.74 ERA in his 10 starts.

    "He's a good pitcher," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "He pitched against us down home and he looked the same to me. He's sneaky fast, changes speeds and moves the ball around. He know what he's doing."

    Seo (2-2) got a no-decision last Sunday despite holding the NL's top-scoring team to one run in seven innings.

    Seo allowed two runs and six hits this time, leaving following Chipper Jones' leadoff double in the ninth.

    "He didn't invent any new pitches," catcher Jason Phillips said. "For him to go back out there against them and do well again shows what kind of stuff he has."

    Jones jammed his left wrist on the play and left the game. He will be re-examined Sunday.

    Armando Benitez finished for his 16th save in 20 chances, allowing singles to the first two batters he faced to make it 4-2.

    Left fielder Raul Gonzalez made a running grab of Vinny Castilla's liner for the first out and then nearly doubled Andruw Jones off second on Henry Blanco's flyout. Benitez struck out pinch-hitter Matt Franco to end it.

    Seo walked one and struck out none to snap a six-start winless streak on a rainy day at Shea Stadium. He lost twice and had four no-decisions since beating Pittsburgh 7-2 for his first career win on April 17.

    The Mets also kept the Braves in the ballpark, preventing Atlanta from breaking the NL record for homers in a month. The Braves' 55 home runs in May tied the New York Giants (July 1947) and St. Louis Cardinals (April 2000) for most in any month.

    The Mets had their former ace Mike Hampton (2-3) in constant trouble. New York put the leadoff man on base in each of the first five innings and had a runner in scoring position in each of those frames.

    But New York didn't have much to show for it early. Chipper Jones threw out McEwing at the plate with a perfect one-hop throw from left field after Ty Wigginton's single in the first.

    New York loaded the loaded and no outs in the third for Phillips, with help from an error by Castilla at third.

    Hampton then started a 1-2-3 double play, but he couldn't escape unscathed because Shinjo doubled to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.

    "That was a big hit right there," Phillips said. "It really picked us up. As bad as everything was going to that point we were still up 2-1."

    New York added two runs in the fifth thanks to Hampton's control problems. Hampton walked three batters in the inning and threw a run-scoring wild pitch to allow Wigginton to score.

    "I was just trying to get the ball down and not make a mistake up," Hampton said.

    Rey Sanchez added an RBI double to make it 4-1.

    Hampton allowed four runs -- two earned -- and eight hits in six innings and was booed once again in New York.

    Hampton won 15 games in 2000 for the Mets, winning the NL championship series MVP and helping the team reach its first World Series since 1986. But he never took to big-city life and left as a free agent after the season.

    "I expected it," he said. "It's their right. It's their prerogative. I don't think it's a matter of them forgetting what I did here. I think its a matter of pitching against their team."

    Robert Fick's RBI single gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead in the second.

    Game notes
    Seo has allowed three or fewer earned runs in nine of 10 starts. ... The major league record for homers in a month is 58, held by Baltimore (May 1987) and Seattle (May 1999). ... Atlanta C Javy Lopez didn't start because a slightly strained right hamstring.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press