Series: Game 2 of 3

NY Mets leads 2-0 (as of 9/2)

Game 1: Monday, September 1
NY Mets3
Game 2: Tuesday, September 2
NY Mets3
Game 3: Wednesday, September 3
NY Mets9

Braves 1

(87-51, 41-30 away)

Mets 3

(61-76, 31-38 home)

    7:10 PM ET, September 2, 2003

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    ATL 100000000 1 6 2
    NYM 10100010 - 3 7 0

    W: A. Leiter (14-7)

    L: M. Hampton (12-7)

    S: D. Weathers (7)

    Mets' Garcia gets two hits in debut

    NEW YORK (AP) -- No way Al Leiter could lose on this night, not after learning Bruce Springsteen is coming to Shea Stadium.

    An unabashed fan of The Boss, Leiter outpitched Mike Hampton again and led the New York Mets past the Atlanta Braves 3-1 Tuesday night.

    Earlier in the day, Springsteen and the E Street Band announced they will wrap up their 2002-03 world tour with their first two shows ever at Shea.

    "I just saw him Sunday (at Giants Stadium) and it was a good concert. We'll see if it's just as fun here," said Leiter, who warms up to Springsteen's music before home games. "I hear it. It gets me -- I don't know if it gets me pumped up, I'm already pumped up -- but I hear it, it's nice."

    Jason Phillips drove in two runs and Danny Garcia singled twice in his major league debut for the Mets, who beat Atlanta for the fourth time in five meetings. Mike Piazza snapped an 0-for-17 skid with a two-out RBI single in the seventh inning that made it 3-1.

    Some sloppy defense cost the Braves, who have the best record in the majors.

    "We're playing flat right now," Atlanta slugger Gary Sheffield said. "They're catching us at a bad time. We'll rebound. We're not playing with intensity out there."

    Leiter (14-7), who beat Hampton 3-1 last Thursday in Atlanta as well, is 6-2 with a 1.45 ERA in nine starts since coming off the disabled list July 20. He pitched out of a couple of early jams, allowing just an unearned run and five hits in seven innings.

    "Getting back to my style of pitching has helped," said Leiter, who also pointed again to the weight he lost while he was out.

    The left-hander is 3-0 in four outings against the Braves this season. The Mets have won 13 of 20 overall.

    "It's very satisfying that we've played well not only tonight against the Braves, but the last month or so we've held our own against playoff teams," Leiter said.

    Grant Roberts pitched a perfect eighth, and David Weathers worked the ninth for his career-high seventh save in eight chances.

    Hampton (12-7) has lost two decisions in a row -- both to the last-place Mets -- after winning nine straight overall. The ex-Met, who signed a $121 million contract with Colorado after helping New York reach the 2000 World Series, left to a chorus of boos after Piazza's single.

    He gave up two earned runs, seven hits and two walks.

    "Hampton really battled," Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "Last run -- broken bat, error, error. He's battled all year."

    Garcia, who along with Victor Diaz is one of two second base prospects the Mets are excited about, singled up the middle in the first inning and scored on Phillips' two-out double.

    Batting second and wearing the same No. 12 that Roberto Alomar wore before he was traded to the Chicago White Sox on July 1, Garcia got a nice hand from the sparse crowd on a damp night.

    "I'm just happy. All the hard work in the winter, swings, preparation, is paying off," Garcia said. "I understand I have an opportunity and I'm going to make the most of it."

    Mets center fielder Prentice Redman, also called up from Triple-A Norfolk earlier Tuesday, doubled an inning later for his first career hit.

    "It's a great feeling. Get called up, you've got a hit in the big leagues," Redman said. "It's something you dream about as a kid. Hopefully, I'll get many more."

    Both balls were tossed into the New York dugout as souvenirs -- Garcia said he would probably give his to his mother.

    "She deserves it," he said.

    The Mets went ahead 2-1 on a wild play in the third. With two outs and Ty Wigginton on second, Phillips' one-hop smash back to Hampton caromed into foul territory and sent the pitcher's glove flying.

    Hampton had to dodge Phillips at the first-base line as he chased the ball, then went into a slide on the wet grass trying to pick it up.

    "I was trying to give him the fake. I didn't know if I had to give way," Phillips said. "I just didn't want him to flip one backhanded and throw me out. The fans are already on me about my speed, I guess I would have really gotten it on that one."

    Hampton couldn't grab the ball so catcher Javy Lopez finally did, leaving home plate uncovered. Wigginton outraced Lopez to the plate and scored with a nifty, standup slide.

    Game notes

    The Mets improved to 7-11 against the Braves this year. ... Hampton dropped to 7-8 career against the Mets. ... The Braves began to get some help for their injury-riddled bullpen when RHP Roberto Hernandez was activated from the disabled list before the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press