Series: Game 1 of 3

NY Mets leads 1-0 (as of 8/26)

Game 1: Tuesday, August 26
NY Mets6Final
Game 2: Wednesday, August 27
NY Mets1Final
Game 3: Thursday, August 28
NY Mets3Final

Mets 6

(58-72, 29-37 away)

Braves 5

(84-47, 45-20 home)

    7:35 PM ET, August 26, 2003

    Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia 

    123456789 R H E
    NYM 300003000 6 7 1
    ATL 002002001 5 8 0

    W: J. Seo (8-8)

    L: S. Reynolds (10-7)

    S: M. Stanton (4)

    Mets hold off Braves' late rally

    ATLANTA (AP) -- Mike Piazza gave the New York Mets the lead and Mike Stanton held on to it -- barely.

    Piazza hit a three-run homer in his first game against Atlanta this year and Timo Perez added a two-run double as the New York Mets beat the Braves 6-5 Tuesday night.

    Piazza missed nearly three months with a strained right groin, including the previous 13 games between the teams. He connected in the first off Shane Reynolds (10-7) for a 3-0 lead.

    "Obviously, the ball was up a little bit," Piazza said. "I didn't try to do too much with it."

    Since returning from the disabled list Aug. 13, Piazza's hitting .273 with three homers and 13 RBI in 10 games.

    "I was just trying to get good pitches to hit," Piazza said. "I had a good swing that first time up."

    Gary Sheffield went 3-for-5 with a two-run homer for the Braves, who had won three in a row.

    They got within a run in the ninth on a pinch-hit homer by Mike Hessman. After Stanton retired Rafael Furcal for the second out, Marcus Giles walked and brought Sheffield to the plate with the winning run.

    But he grounded back to Stanton on a 3-2 pitch, and the Mets escaped.

    "That was a situation where he made a pitch he had to make," Sheffield said. "With two strikes, I'm in a protective mode. You have to really be aware of all the pitches. You can't just zone in."

    Jae Weong Seo (8-8) went five innings to win his third straight start. Before his recent run, he had lost six straight decisions, and New York had lost the previous nine games in which he started.

    Seo allowed two runs on four hits, struck out five and didn't walk a batter as the Mets won for the fourth time in five games.

    Stanton picked up his fourth save in six chances.

    "The key to facing Sheffield in the ninth was that I used pretty much everything I had," Stanton said. "You have to continue to change speeds and make quality pitches, and I was able to do that."

    Hessman hit his first big league homer in his second at-bat in the majors.

    Marcus Giles hit his 42nd double of the year in the third, breaking the Atlanta record of 41 set in 1997 by Chipper Jones. Jones also hit 41 in 1999.

    The Mets took a 6-2 lead in the sixth with three runs off Reynolds. Roger Cedeno and Jose Reyes hit back-to-back singles, and both scored on a double to right-center by Timo Perez. After Piazza was intentionally walked, Perez moved to third when Jason Phillips hit into a double play.

    Before facing Ty Wigginton, Reynolds hesitated and stepped back off the rubber, and home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez called a balk that scored Perez.

    Reynolds and Atlanta manager Bobby Cox both argued, and the entire umpire crew huddled briefly behind the mound before allowing the balk to stand.

    After the game, Reynolds said he was told he stepped off the rubber with his left foot first.

    "It seemed so weird," Reynolds said. "To me, I stepped off because the batter had stepped out. The second-base umpire said he didn't call it because he thought there was a timeout."

    The Braves cut the lead to 6-4 in the sixth on run-scoring singles by Andruw Jones and Javy Lopez.

    Piazza didn't waste any time getting back in a groove against the Braves, hitting a towering, 404-foot shot off Reynolds into the seats in left in the first inning. His first homer in more than week also scored Cedeno and Perez and gave Seo and the Mets a 3-0 lead.

    "They are a great team," Piazza said. "There's no question about that. They have some unbelievable numbers. So it was a challenge for us."

    After the homer, Reynolds settled down and retired 14 straight until he ran into the trouble in the sixth.

    "Some nights, you make bad pitches and get away with it," Reynolds said. "And then some nights you make two bad pitches and they cost you the game."

    Game notes

    The Braves' modern franchise record for doubles is 47, set in 1945 by Tommy Holmes when the team was in Boston. ... Cedeno went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Lopez reached base for the 29th straight start. In his past 77 games, he's hitting .359 with 30 home runs and 77 RBI.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press