Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

NY Mets leads 1-0 (as of 4/6)

Game 1: Tuesday, April 6
NY Mets7Final
Atlanta2
Game 2: Wednesday, April 7
NY Mets10Final
Atlanta18
Game 3: Thursday, April 8
NY Mets8Final
Atlanta10

Mets 7

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Braves 2

(0-1, 0-1 home)

    7:35 PM ET, April 6, 2004

    Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia 

    123456789 R H E
    NYM 123100000 7 10 0
    ATL 200000000 2 6 2

    W: T. Glavine (1-0)

    L: R. Ortiz (0-1)

    Rookie shortstop homers on first pitch

    ATLANTA (AP) -- Kaz Matsui's big-league debut was perfect -- right from the start.

    Matsui homered on the first major league pitch he saw and Tom Glavine beat his former team for the first time, leading the New York Mets over the Atlanta Braves 7-2 in their season opener Tuesday night.

    Mike Piazza hit a long home run off losing pitcher Russ Ortiz for the Mets, coming off consecutive last-place finishes.

    But Matsui has already made a big difference from the leadoff spot.

    The rookie shortstop from Japan had a huge game, going 3-for-3 with two doubles, two walks and three RBI.

    "It was more than I ever imagined," Matsui said through a translator.

    Despite batting only .192 in spring training with one home run, Matsui said he felt more comfortable at the plate the last three or four exhibition games.

    "I did a lot of batting practice and it helped a lot," he said. "Today, if a strike came on the first pitch, I was swinging. I didn't imagine it would be a home run."

    Glavine, who was 0-4 with a 10.35 ERA against Atlanta last season after signing a $35 million, three-year contract with the Mets the previous winter, had another rough start.

    This time, however, he recovered after giving up a leadoff single to Rafael Furcal and a home run to Marcus Giles in the first inning.

    "It's impossible. It couldn't be more of the same," said Glavine, who strolled off the mound and gave himself a thorough talking to.

    "It's not anything that can be printed in a newspaper," he said. "I just gave myself a timeout and told myself to get back to being aggressive. Do what you've been doing that has been successful over my career."

    Glavine allowed only a harmless single to Giles in the third and a two-out single to Chipper Jones in the sixth. The left-hander went six innings and allowed four hits, two walks and struck out two.

    "It certainly ranked up there with some of the big wins I've had. I don't want to overplay it, but it was gratifying to pitch well after the way I pitched against them last year," Glavine said.

    David Weathers and Braden Looper combined for three innings of scoreless relief to finish it.

    "It's a tough way to start the season, but who cares? It's only one game," Giles said.

    Matsui, a seven-time All-Star in Japan, drew about 50 members of the Japanese media to Turner Field. And he immediately showed why the Mets signed him in December to a three-year contract.

    The switch-hitter, batting left-handed, hit the first pitch of the game from Ortiz 429 feet over the center-field fence for a 1-0 lead.

    "His start is almost like a fairy tale. Wow, was that outstanding," Mets manager Art Howe said.

    Matsui gave the Mets the lead for good in the second inning with an RBI double to right for a 3-2 lead, scoring Glavine, who had a run-scoring single.

    "It had to be pretty exciting for him. He looked very comfortable, very confident. You can't teach that," Giles said of Matsui.

    The Mets broke it open in the third, scoring three more for a 6-2 lead. Piazza hit a 421-foot homer to left-center.

    Mike Cameron followed with a single and stole second, and Jason Phillips walked before Atlanta shortstop Furcal made an error, loading the bases. Ortiz then walked in a run on a 3-2 pitch to Ty Wigginton. Glavine lined out against reliever Juan Cruz before Matsui drew a bases-loaded walk for another run.

    The Mets added another run in the fourth on an RBI double by Phillips.

    Game notes


    Matsui was the third Mets player to hit a home run in his first at-bat. The others were Mike Fitzgerald vs. Philadelphia on Sept. 13, 1983, and Benny Ayala on Aug. 27, 1974, vs. Houston. ... Ortiz's outing was his shortest since July 26, 2002, with San Francisco. He went two innings and gave up eight runs to the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... The Braves honored several of their former greats by painting murals on the outfield wall running from the left-field corner to the right-field scoreboard. They include Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Dale Murphy, Phil Niekro and Warren Spahn. ... Ortiz, the NL's only 20-game winner a year ago, was making his first Opening Day start.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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