Series: Game 1 of 3

Atlanta leads 1-0 (as of 9/10)

Game 1: Tuesday, September 10
New York 6Final
Atlanta 12
Game 2: Wednesday, September 11
New York 5Final
Atlanta 8
Game 3: Wednesday, September 11
New York 5Final
Atlanta 0

Mets 6

(68-75, 35-37 away)

Braves 12

(91-51, 48-24 home)

    7:35 PM ET, September 10, 2002

    Turner Field, Atlanta, Georgia 

    123456789 R H E
    NYM 140100000 6 - -
    ATL 03036000 - 12 - -

    W: T. Hodges (1-0)

    L: P. Astacio (12-9)

    Jones' HRs give him homers in four straight at-bats

    ATLANTA (AP) -- The New York Mets prevented Atlanta from properly celebrating its 11th straight division championship.

    Andruw Jones
    Andruw Jones

    Apparently, that ticked off the Braves.

    Andruw Jones homered twice and pinch-hitters drove in five runs as Atlanta overcame a five-run deficit to beat the Mets 12-6 Tuesday night.

    The Braves, who have baseball's best record, missed a chance to clinch themselves by losing Sunday to Montreal. They were idle Monday when the Mets rallied to beat Philadelphia, handing the Braves the NL East title.

    Champagne was waiting at each player's locker after Tuesday's game, but no one popped a cork.

    ``The first one doesn't really matter,'' said Jones, who became the 11th player in NL history to homer in four straight at-bats. ``We knew we were going to win the division with the lead we had. Hopefully, we'll keep going right through the playoffs.''

    The Braves have a 21-game lead over second-place Florida.

    Jones homered twice Saturday against Montreal, then was beaned in the head. He returned to the lineup Tuesday and didn't flinch a bit, going deep his first two times up.

    ``He's really staying in on the ball good,'' manager Bobby Cox said. ``It's a pleasure to see him hit when he stays in like that.''

    Jones became the second NL player this season to homer in four straight at-bats. Shawn Green of Los Angeles accomplished the feat June 14-15.

    Also, Seattle's Mike Cameron homered four straight times in an AL game May 2.

    Trey Hodges (1-0) earned the win in his big league debut. Mets starter Pedro Astacio (12-9) gave up four homers and was ejected in the fifth inning after he plunked Gary Sheffield in the arm with a pitch.

    ``Just play the game right,'' said Sheffield, who glared at the pitcher but didn't charge the mound. ``I'm not going out there. I'm not going to miss any games. If he wants to face Chipper (Jones) with men on base, more power to him. I'll take it every time.''

    Astacio insisted that he didn't try to hit Sheffield, though he didn't complain about getting tossed. Maybe he was shell-shocked from all those homers.

    ``Every home run they hit, the ball was right over the plate,'' Astacio said. ``Every year, I don't feel so strong the last month of the season.''

    The Braves acknowledged their division title before the game, showing season highlights on the video board and unveiling a 2002 pennant alongside the 10 others that have been won since 1991.

    New York's Roger Cedeno dampened the mood on the first pitch of the game, homering into the center-field seats against Damian Moss.

    Moss gave up four more runs in the second, including a mammoth homer by Mike Piazza. The left-hander was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom half, leaving him with the shortest start of his career.

    ``You can't pitch in the big leagues with one pitch,'' Moss said. ``The only pitch I could get over was the changeup.''

    Moss might have escaped the second without any damage if left fielder Chipper Jones had not lost a flyball in the lights, giving Joe McEwing a leadoff double.

    Moss retired the next two hitters, but Cedeno and Raul Gonzalez followed with run-scoring singles and Piazza hit a 434-foot drive into the left-field seats for his 28th homer, a two-run shot.

    Chipper Jones picked up that hit right away, looking skyward to follow the flight of the ball without moving a step.

    But the Braves responded as if they were mad at the Mets for stopping their celebration. They put up three runs in the bottom half on Andruw Jones' first homer and pinch-hitter Keith Lockhart's two-out, two-run double.

    Edgardo Alfonzo drove in a run against Hodges in the fourth, giving the Mets a 6-3 lead, but the Braves tied it with three solo homers in their half.

    Jones led off with his second homer of the night and 31st of the season. Before the inning was over, Mark DeRosa and Henry Blanco also went deep.

    After Julio Franco led off the fifth with a single, Astacio hit Sheffield in the left arm with a fastball. Plate umpire Tony Randazzo immediately tossed the right-hander.

    Chipper Jones singled to load the bases and Andruw Jones singled in two runs, ending his homer streak but putting the Braves ahead to stay.

    Pinch-hitter Matt Franco broke the game open with a three-run triple, and Rafael Furcal followed with an RBI triple.

    Andruw Jones homered in his first two at-bats against Montreal on Saturday, then was hit in the helmet with a pitch by Tomo Ohka.

    Jones left the game and didn't play Sunday because of puffiness around his left eye and cheek.

    Game notes

    Astacio was the second pitcher in three games to be ejected for throwing at the Braves. Ohka was tossed Saturday. ... Cedeno hit the fourth leadoff homer of his career. ... DeRosa entered after Marcus Giles bruised his left collarbone trying to catch an errant throw in the second. X-rays were negative.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press