Series: Game 4 of 4

Atlanta won 3-1

Game 1: Friday, September 27
Atlanta 3Final
New York 1
Game 2: Friday, September 27
Atlanta 7Final
New York 4
Game 3: Saturday, September 28
Atlanta 5Final
New York 2
Game 4: Sunday, September 29
Atlanta 1Final
New York 6

Braves 1

(101-59, 49-31 away)

Mets 6

(75-86, 38-43 home)

    1:10 PM ET, September 29, 2002

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    ATL 000100000 1 - -
    NYM 10014000 - 6 - -

    W: S. Trachsel (11-11)

    L: M. Remlinger (7-3)

    Mets finish last for first time since 1993

    NEW YORK (AP) -- While the Atlanta Braves are preparing for yet another postseason run, the New York Mets are packed up for a long offseason.

    Mike Piazza homered and drove in three runs as the Mets ended their worst season in six years by avoiding a four-game sweep to the Atlanta Braves, winning 6-1 Sunday.

    "We showed what we were capable of doing,'' Piazza said. "Consistency eluded us, and we were unable to make a charge to the postseason.''

    The Mets (75-86) finished in last place for the first time since 1993 and had their most losses since going 71-91 in 1996.

    "A win is always a good thing, whether it's the last game of the season or the first,'' manager Bobby Valentine said. "I'll probably look back and try to find where the wins were that we needed.''

    Atlanta (101-58) already clinched its 11th straight division title and will open the playoffs on Wednesday against San Francisco at Turner Field.

    "They've been playing great,'' Braves manager Bobby Cox said. "It's excitement. That's what you play for. This is when the fun starts.''

    The Braves were looking to sweep the Mets in a four-game series for the first time since 1965 -- when they still played in Milwaukee -- and in New York for the first time ever.

    Atlanta finished the season 12-7 against their NL East rivals, equaling their most wins in a season against the Mets since 1968.

    Once again, both teams played this meaningless game as if it was spring training, making liberal substitutions. The teams combined to use 45 players -- tying the major league record for a nine-inning game, set by Montreal and the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 5, 1978.

    "Everybody got their at-bats, everybody got their innings, and we're ready to roll,'' Cox said. "We had a good day. We got beat, but we had a good day.''

    Mo Vaughn also homered for New York, and pinch-hitter Ty Wigginton hit a two-run double.

    Steve Trachsel (11-11) allowed one run and six hits in five innings to avoid a losing season for the first time since 1998, when he went 15-8 for the Cubs.

    "Steve pitched well enough all year to get wins like this,'' Valentine said. "If we played better, he would have won 16, 17 or 18 games. He was that good.''

    Trachsel, who had a 2.35 ERA over his last seven games, might have been making his final start with the Mets. He's eligible for free agency but has said he would like to stay in New York.

    "I'm happy with the way I finished the season,'' Trachsel said.

    Piazza got the Mets started with an RBI single in the first inning off Jason Marquis. He added a two-run homer in the fifth off Damian Moss to give him 98 RBI this season.

    Wigginton's two-run double came before Piazza's 33rd homer as the Mets took advantage of first baseman Julio Franco's error to score four unearned runs off Moss.

    Vaughn's 26th homer gave the Mets a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning against Mike Remlinger (7-3).

    Game notes

    The Braves used 24 players, the Mets 21. ... The Braves last swept a four-game series in New York in 1956, when they beat the Giants at the Polo Grounds. ... 2B Roberto Alomar's error in the first inning was New York's major league-high 144th error. ... Piazza has 336 homers as a catcher -- 15 short of Carlton Fisk's major league record. ... Marquis, who won't be in the postseason rotation, went 0-4 with a 9.12 ERA in his last seven starts.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press