Mets match 14-game streak of 1911 Braves


NEW YORK (AP) -- The message on the clubhouse marker board urged
the New York Mets to put a miserable August behind them: "It's a
New Month!!! Sept. 1.''

Instead, from the time Edgardo Alfonzo threw a ball away in the
first inning to allow the first run to score, September started off
as poorly as August ended for New York.

The Mets matched the longest home losing streak in National
League history with their 14th straight defeat at Shea Stadium as
the Philadelphia Phillies pounded Al Leiter for three homers in a
9-5 victory Sunday.

"It is demoralizing,'' said Mike Piazza, who watched the latest
loss with a sore wrist. "Everyone has had losing streaks, everyone
has had slumps. But this is uncharted waters for me. I'm a little
bit in shock.''

One day after completing the first winless month at home in
league history, the Mets matched the 14-game home skid by Boston's
NL franchise in 1911, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

While Boston added a 44-year-old Cy Young to its team that
season, the only help the Mets are getting will be from minor
league callups as they try to avoid the St. Louis Browns' major
league record of 20 straight home losses in 1953.

"It's certainly been a disappointment,'' Leiter said. "We
still have a month of baseball to go. There's no reason we can't
have a great month and finish on a high note.''

Pat Burrell, Todd Pratt and Tomas Perez all homered off Leiter
(11-11), who lasted two-plus innings in his shortest regular-season
start in 14 years.

"I feel for them,'' said Pratt, who spent 4˝ years with the
Mets. "We have to beat them, but I feel for them. I have a lot of
good friends over there.''

Brett Myers (3-3) allowed four runs in six innings as the
Phillies won for the 10th time in 11 games to move a season-high
three games over .500.

Meanwhile, the Mets keep hitting new franchise lows in a season
that began with so much promise. They broke a tie with the 1979
team for the longest losing streak at home, reaching a level even
the 40-win expansion team in 1962 didn't.

The few fans who showed up on a rainy day got on the Mets from
the start, booing after Alfonzo's throwing error allowed the first
run to score in the opening inning.

They booed every Mets misplay and offered only sarcastic
applause for the few positives as the frustration of not seeing a
win since July mounts.

The losing streak, which started after a 10-0 victory over
Houston on July 31, is the longest at home in the majors since
Detroit dropped the final 17 games at Tiger Stadium in 1996.

New York's Tony Tarasco came out with a severely sprained left
ankle after landing awkwardly on first base trying to beat out a
grounder in the sixth.

After Doug Glanville led the game off with a double, Jimmy
Rollins bunted toward third. Alfonzo threw wildly to first, scoring
Glanville. Placido Polanco added a two-out RBI single to make it

"If you're going to get Leiter, you have to jump on him
early,'' Glanville said. "Once he gets into his rhythm, you're

Timo Perez tripled and scored on Roberto Alomar's groundout in
the bottom half before the Phillies broke the game open.

Dave Hollins led off the second with a single -- his first major
league hit since June 12, 1999. Hollins, who spent most of the last
three years in the minors, missed more than four months this season
with an infected left knee resulting from a spider bite.

Pratt and Perez followed with consecutive homers, making it 5-2
and drawing more boos from the crowd. Pratt improved to 6-for-7
lifetime with two homers off Leiter.

"Maybe I just know how to lay off some of his pitches because
I've caught him so much,'' Pratt said.

Burrell led off the third with a homer, and Leiter was replaced
after walking Polanco and hitting Hollins with a pitch. Jeff
D'Amico allowed an RBI double to Pratt to make it 7-1.

Leiter allowed seven runs -- five earned -- and seven hits in
two-plus innings. It was his shortest regular-season start since he
pitched only one inning on Sept. 16, 1988, for the Yankees against

"Al didn't have his cutter today,'' Mets manager Bobby
Valentine said. "The balls hit hard were cutters that didn't

The Mets scored three runs in the sixth, keyed by Alomar's
triple. Mo Vaughn added a leadoff homer in the eighth.

Game notes
Leiter didn't retire a batter in Game 6 of the 1999 NLCS
against Atlanta. ... Burrell has 15 homers and 45 RBIs in his
career against the Mets. ... Philadelphia is 20-11 since trading
All-Star third baseman Scott Rolen to St. Louis on July 29.