April 5, 2002: Thirteen Hits Pound Braves

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Date: April 5, 2002
Mets starter: Pedro Astacio
Mets: 9
Braves: 3
Winning pitcher: Pedro Astacio
Key player(s): Jeromy Burnitz, Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo
Key play: Burnitz’s single and homer, Piazza’s home run

The Mets faced the Braves on a Friday night in Atlanta. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. The Mets collected thirteen hits in a 9-3 win.

Braves’ starter Albie Lopez pitched a perfect top of the first inning. Rafael Furcal doubled against the Mets’ Pedro Astacio to lead off the bottom half. Andruw Jones followed with a home run for a 2-0 Atlanta lead. Chipper Jones went down on strikes and Gary Sheffield drew a walk. Astacio then retired both Vinny Castilla and B. J. Surhoff on fly balls to left fielder Roger Cedeno to close out the inning.

Mike Piazza hit a double to open the top of the second. Edgardo Alfonzo singled and Jeromy Burnitz hit a single to drive home Piazza. Jay Payton followed with a ground ball to shortstop Furcal for a double play. Rey Ordonez singled to score Alfonzo with the tying run and a single by Astacio ensued. Cedeno hit a single to bring home Ordonez and put the Mets ahead, 3-2. Albie Lopez retired Roberto Alomar on a grounder to second baseman Marcus Giles to end the inning. Astacio then yielded just a single to Albie Lopez in the bottom half.

Mo Vaughn got a leadoff single in the top of the third. Piazza drew a walk and Alfonzo reached on an error by Furcal that allowed Vaughn to come home. Burnitz grounded to Furcal for a double play on which Piazza scored the Mets’ fifth run of the game. Payton lined out to center fielder Andruw Jones to finish off the inning and Astacio gave up only a single to Chipper Jones in the bottom half. Albie Lopez yielded just a single to Cedeno in the top of the fourth and Castilla was hit by a pitch to begin the bottom of the inning. Surhoff doubled to drive home Castilla and reduce the New York lead to 5-3. Javy Lopez went down on strikes and Giles walked. Pinch-hitter Keith Lockhart was retired on a fly ball to right fielder Burnitz. Astacio then threw a called third strike past Furcal for the inning’s final out.

Piazza drew a one-out walk against Atlanta reliever Chris Hammond in the top of the fifth. Alfonzo hit a single and Burnitz slugged a three-run homer for an 8-3 Mets lead. Payton was retired on a pop-up to Giles. Ordonez grounded out to third baseman Castilla to end the inning and Astacio set down the side in order in the bottom half. Hammond retired the side on three consecutive infield grounders in the top of the sixth. Pedro then hurled a perfect bottom of the inning.

Alfonzo doubled with two outs in the top of the seventh. Burnitz drew a walk and Hammond got Payton on a fly ball to left fielder Chipper Jones that ended the inning. Pinch-hitter Mark DeRosa got a one-out single against Astacio in the bottom half. Furcal singled and Andruw Jones was struck out. Chipper Jones walked to load the bases and Mets’ reliever David Weathers fanned Sheffield to close out the inning. Atlanta’s Darren Holmes gave up just a single to Cedeno in the top of the eighth. Weathers then shut down the Braves in the bottom half.

With two outs in the top of the ninth, Piazza homered against Braves’ reliever Tim Spooneybarger for the Mets’ thirteenth hit and ninth run of the game. Spooneybarger retired Alfonzo on a fly ball to Sheffield to finish off the inning and DeRosa singled against New York’s Mark Guthrie to begin the bottom half. Pinch-hitter Julio Franco grounded to shortstop Ordonez for a double play. Guthrie then struck out Andruw Jones to bring the game to an end. The Mets had a victory to start the weekend series.