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

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

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

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