Series: Game 3 of 4

New York leads 2-1 (as of 9/4)

Game 1: Monday, September 2
Florida Postponed
New York
Game 1: Tuesday, September 3
Florida 3Final
in 12
New York 2
Game 2: Tuesday, September 3
Florida 5Final
New York 11
Game 3: Wednesday, September 4
Florida 3Final
New York 11
Game 4: Thursday, September 5
Florida 1Final
New York 4

Marlins 3

(68-70, 26-41 away)

Mets 11

(63-74, 32-38 home)

    7:10 PM ET, September 4, 2002

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    FLA 030000000 3 - -
    NYM 30010241 - 11 - -

    W: P. Astacio (12-8)

    L: J. Tavarez (10-11)

    Mets win second straight at Shea in blowout fashion

    NEW YORK (AP) -- After a month of futility, the New York Mets are playing so well they can hit pitchouts and hustle their way to blowouts.

    Mike Piazza

    They've even put together a home streak that doesn't have anything to do with losing.

    Rey Ordonez slapped an intended pitchout for a go-ahead single and Mike Piazza homered as the Mets beat the Florida Marlins 11-3 Wednesday night.

    ''Hey, that's my job -- I can't take a pitch on a squeeze,'' Ordonez said. ''I can't go back to the dugout like that.''

    By the time he got back to the dugout, the Mets had a lead they wouldn't lose and were on their way to winning consecutive games at Shea Stadium for the first time since July 22-23. New York broke its NL-record 15-game home losing streak Tuesday night in the second game of a doubleheader.

    It was 3-all in the fourth when singles by Jeromy Burnitz and Roger Cedeno put runners at first and third.

    The Mets called for a squeeze, and as Cedeno tried to steal second, Burnitz pulled up as Florida catcher Charles Johnson popped up for a pitchout. Julian Tavarez (10-11) delivered a slow pitch high and outside that Ordonez, who started to square around, slapped into shallow center field for an RBI single.

    ''I've never seen a bunt to center field that got a runner from first to third,'' manager Bobby Valentine said. ''I've never seen anything like that.''

    The Mets showed that kind of savvy several times, turning tough double plays, bunting and running the bases in Valentine's classic style -- a style that, at times, the Mets haven't been executing the last month.

    Pedro Astacio (12-8) allowed three runs on six hits in six innings for the win.

    Mike Lowell had a home run, double and three RBIs for the Marlins, who called the pitchout with a hunch Valentine was up to something. Ordonez said he thought the pitch was just high and inside, but Johnson gave it away and Tavarez confirmed the call.

    ''How many times does that happen?'' Tavarez said of Ordonez hitting a pitchout. ''You trust yourself to throw a pitchout, and I didn't. I have to say, everything went right for them, and I didn't do my job.''

    Piazza, playing with a sore left wrist wrapped tight, connected for the second straight game. He hit his 26th home run of the season in the first to put the Mets up 2-0.

    ''It's nice,'' said Piazza, who turned 34 Wednesday. ''We got Pedro some runs, even after Lowell homered, and pulled it out. We want to finish strong and play better.''

    Mo Vaughn, who was 2-for-4 with a double, then singled and moved to third on Edgardo Alfonzo's double off the center-field wall, and scored on a groundout as the Mets gave Astacio a three-run lead.

    But Lowell, in a 0-for-26 slump before homering Tuesday, hit his 18th homer to tie it in the second.

    Vaughn turned a tough double play in the third, grabbing a grounder from Andy Fox, wheeling and firing to Ordonez before getting back to the bag and stretching for the shortstop's throw. Ordonez had a couple of nice plays in the field, too.

    In the sixth, Burnitz and Cedeno worked full counts into walks and Ordonez sacrificed. Valentine then sent pinch-hitter John Valentin to the plate for Astacio, and his first-pitch single to center cleared the bases and chased Tavarez.

    ''I think we are capable of doing this,'' Valentine said. ''Those losses at home are some tough games -- we played a lot of them close and came up short. Those were tough.''

    Alfonzo and Burnitz hit back-to-back solo home runs in a four-run seventh inning, giving both players 13 for the season. Alfonzo also had a double and Burnitz added an infield single and scored twice.

    Ty Wigginton hit a home run in the Mets eighth, his third of the year and the first of his career as a pinch-hitter.

    Game notes

    Mets 2B Roberto Alomar left the game in the sixth inning with inflammation of his left knee and is day-to-day. ... Florida's Kevin Millar extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the third inning. ... Rookie Esix Snead stole his first major league base in the sixth inning after entering as a pinch-runner. Snead was recalled Monday from Double-A Binghamton, where he stole 66 bases this season. ... Tavarez was previously 2-0 in three starts against the Mets this season. ... Pedro Feliciano made his debut for the Mets, closing with two scoreless innings.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press