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Leiter throws seven shutout innings

8/29/2003

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jose Reyes switched on the power and put his name
in the record book.

Reyes became the youngest player in modern major league history
to homer from both sides of the plate, leading the New York Mets
over the Atlanta Braves 3-1 Thursday night.

"This is my first time ever," the 20-year-old rookie said. "I
wasn't thinking about hitting home runs, but it's a good feeling."

Al Leiter allowed two hits in seven shutout innings for the
Mets. He outpitched Mike Hampton, who had won nine straight
decisions.

Reyes connected right-handed against Hampton leading off the
fifth and added a two-run shot from the left side off Trey Hodges
in the ninth.

At 20 years, 79 days, Reyes became the youngest player since
1900 to homer from each side of the plate in one game, according to
the Elias Sports Bureau, baseball's statistician.

The youngest player to do it previously was Texas' Ruben Sierra
at 20 years, 342 days on Sept. 13, 1986, at Minnesota.

Reyes, a natural right-handed hitter, began batting from the
left side only three years ago.

"I've got more power from the right side, but I'm getting
better from the left side," he said.

Reyes also became the first Mets rookie to connect from both
sides of the plate in one game.

"He's something. He's going to be special," Leiter said.

The last-place Mets took two of three from the Braves, who have
the best record in the majors. New York has won four of five and 11
of 15 overall.

Leiter (13-7) allowed only three runners, none beyond second
base. He gave up a one-out double to Mike Hessman in the third, a
leadoff walk to Andruw Jones in the fifth and a leadoff single to
Gary Sheffield in the seventh.

The left-hander walked one and struck out six, winning for the
fifth time in seven starts since coming off the 15-day disabled
list July 20 because of an inflamed right knee.

"I lost 20 pounds and I feel better physically," said Leiter,
who trimmed his 6-foot-3 frame down to 200 pounds.

"The difference is I've been pitching ahead in the count
instead of pitching with bad counts like 2-0 and 3-1 and they know
what's coming," he said.

David Weathers pitched two innings for his career-high fifth
save.

Weathers gave up a leadoff single to Javy Lopez in the eighth,
but got Vinny Castilla to hit into a double play and struck out
Hessman.

Two errors, including one by Weathers, helped Atlanta score in
the ninth.

Hampton (12-6) allowed only five hits in seven innings. He
walked four and struck out four.

"Al pitched a heck of a game. He battled us all night,"
Hampton said. "Those things happen. What can I say? He outpitched
us and they won."

Reyes connected on an 0-1 pitch leading off the fifth, a
385-foot drive over the left-field wall. He added a two-run shot
off Hodges in the ninth, his fifth of the year and second from the
left side.

Game notes
Sheffield needs one stolen base to become the 17th player
with 300 homers and 200 steals. ... The Braves placed RHP Kevin
Gryboski on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis
and recalled RHP Joe Dawley from Triple-A Richmond. ... Braves SS
Rafael Furcal was removed from the starting lineup 30 minutes
before the game. Manager Bobby Cox said Furcal didn't start because
his left shin was bothering him. Furcal was hit by a pitch there
Friday in Colorado. ... Mets OF Cliff Floyd will undergo surgery
Friday on his right Achilles' tendon. ... Jay Bell, who started at
second base for the Mets, has 21 starts this season -- eight at
second, six at shortstop, five at third base and two at first base.