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Leiter rebounds to pitch seven solid innings

9/6/2002

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Though it's too late to matter, the New York Mets are starting to play like they expected coming into the
season.

Jeromy Burnitz hit a three-run homer, Timo Perez had three RBIs
and Al Leiter pitched seven solid innings to lead the Mets to a 7-2
victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.

The Mets have won four straight since setting an NL record by
losing 15 straight home games. The Phillies have dropped four of
five to fall back to .500 after sweeping the Mets at Shea Stadium
last weekend.

"Only way to have fun is to be successful,'' said Burnitz, who
has homered in two straight games.

Leiter (12-11) allowed two runs, seven hits and overcame five
walks to make up for a 9-5 loss to Philadelphia last Sunday in
which he lasted just two innings, the second-shortest outing of his
career.

Phillies rookie Brett Myers (3-4) gave up six runs and six hits
in 5 2/3 innings.

"I think I had good stuff. I just didn't use it right,'' Myers
said.

Burnitz, who has struggled the entire season, gave New York a
4-2 lead during a five-run sixth inning with his 15th homer.

Mo Vaughn walked with one out and Edgardo Alfonzo followed with
a single. Burnitz, batting .208 to that point, then hit a 1-1 pitch
deep into the right-field seats.

"He's been searching for his swing,'' Mets manager Bobby
Valentine said of Burnitz, one of New York's high-priced offseason
acquisitions that hasn't worked out. "He's found one he's
comfortable with.''

After Raul Gonzalez struck out, Jason Phillips hit a single off
Myers' leg and Joe McEwing and Leiter walked. Rheal Cormier entered
and Perez hit a two-run single to make it 6-2.

Perez added an RBI double in the ninth.

The Phillies, who beat Leiter twice this season, took a 2-0 lead
in the first on a two-run single by Placido Polanco.

Doug Glanville hit a double to start the inning and went to
third on Jimmy Rollins' bunt single. After Bobby Abreu struck out,
Pat Burrell walked to load the bases.

Mike Lieberthal fouled out, but Polanco delivered a liner to
left that scored Glanville and Rollins.

Leiter helped himself with a two-out RBI single in the fifth
that cut it to 2-1. Phillips hit a one-out single and moved to
second on a groundout by McEwing. Leiter, a career .093 hitter to
that point, blooped a single to left and Phillips scored without a
throw as Burrell mishandled the hop.

Leiter worked a 3-2 count in each of his three at-bats,
finishing with a strikeout, a single and a walk.

"It's difficult for me to be serious about my hitting,'' Leiter
said, trying to keep a straight face. "I had some good at-bats.''

Myers, the 12th overall pick in the 1999 draft, has shown a
propensity for giving up homers in his brief big league career. He
has allowed nine in just 57 innings after giving up nine in 128
innings at Triple-A Scranton.

"He sort of lost his concentration there for a bit,'' Phillies
manager Larry Bowa said. "You've got to remember he's 22 years
old.''

Game notes
Leiter improved to 7-6 with an NL-leading 2.18 ERA in night
games. He is 5-5 with a 5.42 ERA in day games. ... Mets C Mike
Piazza had the night off because of a day game Saturday. His
replacement, Vance Wilson, was hit by a pitch in the second and
left an inning later with a lower back bruise. He was replaced by
Phillips. ... Vaughn left after he was hit on the left leg by a
pitch in the ninth. ... Polanco went 3-for-4 and made three solid
plays at third base, including backhanders on grounders hit by
Roberto Alomar and McEwing. ... Philadelphia is 21-15 since trading
All-Star 3B Scott Rolen to St. Louis. ... The Phillies are 17-23 at
Veterans Stadium after starting 18-10 at home.