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Mets batter Brewers, cruise to franchise-best start

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Mets are already looking ahead
after beating the Milwaukee Brewers 9-3 Sunday to set two franchise
records for best starts to a season.

Atlanta is coming to town, and the Mets are looking for a fast
start against their NL East rivals.

"They're the division champions," said manager Willie
Randolph, whose team opens a three-game set against the Braves on
Monday. "Those are the guys we've got to go through to be where we
want to be.

"We feel good going into the series. We want to feel good going
out."

New York is feeling good after taking two of three from the
Brewers to improve to 9-2, its fastest start ever. The Mets also
set a franchise mark by winning their first four series of the
season.

Xavier Nady drove in three runs with a home run and a sacrifice
fly and Carlos Delgado hit a three-run homer against the Brewers,
who snapped New York's seven-game winning streak with an 8-2 win
Saturday.

David Wright, leading the National League in hitting with a .421
average coming into the game, had a single and double and scored
twice for New York.

The Brewers left eight runners on base in the first three
innings against Brian Bannister (2-0), who was making his third
major league start. He threw 112 pitches over five innings, but
allowed just one run and left the game leading 4-1.

"My approach is I don't give in," Bannister said. "I'll walk
guys before I'll give them a pitch they can drive. I'll keep making
my pitches all day."

He left the Brewers and manager Ned Yost frustrated.

"We just let too many opportunities get by early," Yost said.
"We got his pitch count up and three times we had runners in
scoring position and fewer than two out. We just couldn't put the
ball in play. That has a way of catching up with you."

The Mets had a 4-3 lead before scoring five runs in the ninth.
Delgado hit a three-run drive and Victor Diaz doubled home two more
runs.

Nady's third home run of the season gave the Mets a 2-0 lead in
the second. He connected against Milwaukee starter Ben Sheets (0-1)
following a leadoff single by Wright. Sheets was activated from the
disabled list before the game and had not pitched since last Aug.
26 because of a right shoulder strain.

He worked five innings and was satisfied with his first start.

"I felt good, really good," he said. "I'm not happy we lost
but for myself, I'm happy to be back out there. I'll get better, I
think."

Bannister escaped a two-on, two-out jam in the first when he got
Corey Koskie to bounce out. Then Milwaukee loaded the bases with
none out in the second on a leadoff double by Bill Hall and walks
to Prince Fielder and Damian Miller. But Bannister struck out
Sheets and Gabe Gross and got J.J. Hardy on a fly ball to end the
inning.

In the third, singles by Jenkins and Koskie and a walk to Hall
loaded the bases again. Bannister then struck out Fielder and got
Miller on a fly ball.

Milwaukee reached Bannister for a run in the fourth on a double
by Gross, a wild pitch and an infield out. Geoff Jenkins followed
with a two-out double but Carlos Lee flied out, ending the inning.

The Mets got the run right back in the bottom of the fourth when
Wright opened with a double, moved to third on an infield out and
scored on Nady's fly ball.

Jose Reyes singled with two out in the fifth, stole second and
came home on Paul Lo Duca's second hit of the game, making it 4-1.
Lo Duca stole second and went to third on a wild pitch but was
stranded when Sheets finished his day by striking out Delgado.

With Bannister out of the game for a pinch-hitter, Darren Oliver
relieved for the Mets in the sixth and was touched for a pinch
single by Corey Hart. Oliver had Hart picked off first but Delgado
threw the ball into left field for an error. Jenkins, who had three
hits, followed with a two-run homer, cutting the Mets lead to 4-3.

"I felt good," Jenkins said. "We had plenty of opportunities.
We just didn't take advantage of the opportunities we had."

Game notes
Endy Chavez started in CF for the Mets replacing Carlos
Beltran (tight right hamstring). Beltran hopes to return Monday
against Atlanta. ... Bannister threw 81 pitches in the first three
innings work. ... Sheets threw five innings, allowing four runs and
six hits and throwing 96 pitches.