LOS ANGELES (AP) -- With one swing, Mike Piazza caught the
catcher he was chasing -- and passed Joe DiMaggio.
Piazza tied Carlton Fisk's major league record of 351 home runs
as a catcher, hitting a tiebreaking shot to help the New York Mets
beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-5 Tuesday night.
Mike Piazza could be a former Met by the time Opening Day rolls around.
"Anytime you do something like that, you want to do it in a
victory," Piazza said. "I've been thinking about it a little bit
lately, so I'm hoping I can get one more and kind of turn the page
and get it over with."It was the 362nd home run overall for the Mets' slugger, moving
him past DiMaggio for 58th place on the career list -- seven behind
Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner.The 10-time All-Star, who hit his first 177 homers with the
Dodgers, went 16 games without one after connecting twice at
Atlanta on April 7.Piazza ended the drought against former batterymate Hideo Nomo,
lining his fourth homer of the season to left-center with one out
in the sixth for a 4-3 lead."It's special to do it here, no question about it," said
Piazza, the first Dodger to hit a home run out of Dodger Stadium.
"I came up through this organization and they gave me a chance
when no one else did. It means a lot. It really does. It's a little
emotional for me."The home run was one of three allowed by Nomo (3-2), along with
the first of the season by Shane Spencer and Todd Zeile.The Mets tacked on two more runs in the seventh against
Guillermo Mota, increasing their lead to 6-3 with an RBI groundout
by pinch-hitter Eric Valent and a run-scoring single by Mike
Cameron.Mota ended the seventh by striking out Piazza, the first time
they faced each other since getting into a brawl in spring training
last year. Both were suspended for five games.Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tom Glavine (3-1) allowed three
runs and 10 hits in six innings. With his 254th win, he passed Hall
of Famer Carl Hubbell for 41st place on the career list."I never in my wildest dreams would have envisioned being
anywhere close to the top 10 in terms of left-handed pitchers, but
I've been fortunate," Glavine said."I've been healthy and I've played on some great teams and just
been able to kind of quietly keep cruising along and doing my
thing. Hopefully, I can continue to inch up that list as much as I
can before it's all said and done," he said.Glavine gave up four consecutive one-out singles in the first
inning. But the eight-time All-Star escaped the jam with only one
run scoring."Glavine knows how to pitch out of jams, and that's why he'll
go to the Hall of Fame," Dodgers first baseman Shawn Green said.
"He gives up a couple of runs early and then battles."Cesar Izturis, who singled to extend his career-best hitting
streak to 14 games, came home on Green's single. Another hit by
Paul Lo Duca loaded the bases, but Glavine forced Milton Bradley at
the plate on a comebacker by Juan Encarnacion, and Adrian Beltre
fouled out to first.Spencer, fighting tendinitis in his hamstring, hit his first NL
home run in the second after a leadoff walk to Karim Garcia. Two
batters later, Zeile homered into the lower seats in the left-field
corner to give the Mets a 3-1 lead."The solo home runs aren't what's going to get you beat. It's
the home runs with people on base that are going to hurt you,"
Dodgers manager Jim Tracy said. "We were in a position to win the
ballgame, but we just didn't get the job done."The Dodgers tied it in the second. Cameron -- playing shallow
against Dave Roberts and shaded slightly toward left-center -- had
virtually no angle on a line drive that got past him for an RBI
triple, which followed a single by Nomo. Izturis drove in Roberts
with a single.Nomo was charged with four runs and five hits in six innings.Jose Hernandez ended a 42-game home run drought with a leadoff
shot in the eighth against David Weathers.Mike Stanton got out of the inning, and the Mets pushed the lead
to 9-5 in the ninth. Garcia hit an RBI single, and Jason Phillips
ended an 0-for-29 skid with a run-scoring single off Duaner
Sanchez.Braden Looper worked a perfect ninth.
Glavine's 141 career strikeouts against the Dodgers are his
highest total against any team. ... It was Japanese-American
community night at Dodger Stadium, and the first batter Nomo faced
was Kaz Matsui -- who got his first big league stolen base in the
seventh and continued to third on Lo Duca's throwing error.