<
>

Giles ends 5-hour marathon with 3-run shot

4/8/2002

ATLANTA (AP) -- Marcus Giles turned his frustration into
something positive Sunday.

Giles hit a three-run homer in the 14th inning Sunday to lead
the Atlanta Braves over the New York Mets 5-2 and avoid a
three-game sweep.

Giles hit his first homer of the season off Saturo Komiyama
(0-1), the Mets' seventh pitcher.

At four hours, 59 minutes, it was Turner Field's longest game by
time and innings, topping a pair of 13-inning games and a 4:54,
12-inning game against Baltimore.

"The way my game has been lately, it's been disappointing,"
said Giles, who went 3-for-6, including a pair of doubles, and
raised his average from .188 to .273. He also scored the tying run
when he reached base in the eighth on an error.

"I guess I'm excited, but I've played some pretty bad games the
last couple of days," he said. "The nice thing about it is that
we finally got off the field and got the win."

Gary Sheffield was hit by a pitch opening the 14th and took
second on a passed ball by Vance Wilson, playing because Mike
Piazza bruised his left leg Saturday.

Vinny Castilla struck out, Julio Franco was walked intentionally
and Giles hit his 370-foot drive over the left-field fence.

"He throws soft, so I was just trying to put the ball in play.
The pitch was low and inside. I don't know why I swung, but I guess
that's the best time to hit one is when you're not thinking," said
Giles.

Mets manager Bobby Valentine stuck with Komiyama for 4 1/3
innings.

"He had to stay in until we got the lead," said Valentine, who
only had closer Armando Benitez available other than his starting
pitchers. "That's what you do on the road."

Albie Lopez (1-1), Atlanta's eighth pitcher, pitched two
scoreless innings.

Atlanta's Mark DeRosa, getting his first start of the season,
hit a two-out, RBI single in the eighth inning off Scott Strickland
to tie the game at 2 after Giles reached on a two-base error by
first baseman John Valentin, who failed to glove a throw by third
baseman Edgardo Alfonzo.

"I might have stretched too early. Any ball coming from third
base is hard to see. I tried to stretch before the ball got there
and misplayed it," said Valentin, who was filling in for Mo Vaughn
and had only played there on Saturday for the first time.

"It's inexperience, I guess," he said.

New York put runners on first and third in the 10th on singles
by Alfonzo and Jeromy Burnitz, but McKay Christiansen bounced to
first and Alfonzo was tagged out at home.

In addition to playing without Piazza, the Mets were without
Vaughn, who has a swollen right hand after being hit by a pitch
Thursday. Both are day-to-day.

The Mets, who won the first two games of the series 9-3 and
11-2, scored two runs in the sixth off rookie left-hander Damian
Moss, starting in place of the injured Greg Maddux. Jay Payton had
an RBI single and Roberto Alomar had a run-scoring grounder.

Moss allowed three hits in six innings, and struck out four.

Al Leiter, who beat Pittsburgh in the season opener, allowed
five hits and three walks in six innings and fanned nine. He gave
up an RBI single to Sheffield in the first and escaped two
bases-loaded, two-out jams.

Game notes
The 13-inning games at Turner Field were a 1-0 win over St.
Louis on May 16, 1997, and a 6-4 loss to Houston on Aug. 27, 1997.
... Alfonzo went 0-for-2 against Moss and is hitting .615
(8-for-13) against left-handers. ... Leiter struck out the side in
the second and sixth innings. ... Valentin, getting his second
straight start, got his first hit with the Mets after going
0-for-7. ... Braves SS Rafael Furcal, who had four errors and was
hitting .190 with eight strikeouts in 21 at-bats in Atlanta's first
five games, did not start. ... John Smoltz, who gave up eight runs
in the ninth inning Saturday, pitched a scoreless ninth on Sunday.
... Andruw Jones struck out four times. He also struck out four
times Friday.