<
>

Leiter pitches six shutout innings

NEW YORK (AP) -- When the ball left Doug Glanville's bat, Al
Leiter and the New York Mets thought it was big trouble.

Suddenly, Mike Cameron swooped in and made a play that both
teams were still buzzing about after the Mets' 6-1 victory over the
Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.

"It's unbelievable where he came from to make that catch,"
Mets catcher Vance Wilson said.

With the game scoreless in the fifth inning, Cameron ran a long
way into right-center field to track down Glanville's slicing
liner. Then he gathered himself and doubled up Todd Pratt at first
base.

"It just goes to show that defense can turn the momentum right
around," Glanville said. "That was a great play right there. ...
If that ball falls in, I'm standing at third probably with a run in
and one out less."

Instead, the Phillies had no runs and a scoring opportunity
eliminated.

"That was the kind of play I always saw Mike Cameron make on
the highlights on SportsCenter," Leiter said. "Because of how
much hang time it had, I was just hoping."

Leiter (6-3) pitched six shutout innings, and Cameron and Wilson
hit back-to-back homers to help the Mets salvage a split of the
four-game series.

"Today was a nice, crisp win," Cameron said.

Wilson and Cameron each drove in two runs for the Mets, who
moved a game above .500 at 46-45 -- two games behind Philadelphia
and Atlanta in the NL East. New York hosts a two-game series
against Florida, which is a game behind the Mets, starting Monday.

"It was a very big win," Wilson said. "We needed to win that
game, especially going into the series with the Marlins."

After going only three innings in his last start, a 5-2 loss at
Florida, Leiter was solid in a game played under the lights at Shea
Stadium with an intermittent misty rain falling throughout.

Leiter (6-3) allowed four hits and struck out a season-high
seven for his fifth win in six starts. He lowered his ERA to 2.24 --
which would lead the majors if he had enough innings pitched.

Braden Looper got four outs for his 19th save in 21 chances.

"When you score one run, you're not going to win very many
games," Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. "We've had some
problems trying to solve Leiter."

Cameron and Wilson hit consecutive homers off Brett Myers (5-7)
to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.

Cameron, 1-for-11 on the homestand before that at-bat, led off
by hitting a 3-2 pitch from Myers into the picnic-area stands in
left-center field for his 15th homer.

Myers then hung an 0-2 curveball to Wilson, who drove it into
the left-field bullpen. It was the fifth time this season the Mets
have hit back-to-back homers.

"I made two mistakes -- Cameron and Wilson," said Myers, who
allowed four runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings in his fourth loss
in five starts. "I just got outpitched today. I thought my
location was good, my mechanics were good."

New York added to its lead in the sixth with a bases-loaded walk
by Cameron and an RBI single by Wilson, who was 3-for-4.

Cliff Floyd hit a leadoff single, Richard Hidalgo doubled and,
one out later, Todd Zeile was walked intentionally to load the
bases. Myers then walked Cameron, forcing in a run.

Roberto Hernandez came in and Wilson hit his first pitch into
left field to make it 4-0.

In the seventh, the Phillies loaded the bases against Ricky
Bottalico with one out. John Franco got Tomas Perez to foul out to
first before walking Jimmy Rollins to force in a run. Dan Wheeler
then threw one pitch and got Placido Polanco to ground out to end
the inning.

The Mets added two runs in a strange eighth inning.

Zeile led off with a single, Cameron bunted and reliever Geoff
Geary threw the ball away for an error, putting runners on second
and third. With Wilson up, Geary threw a pitch up and in that
missed Pratt's glove, hit plate umpire Wally Bell in the shoulder
and bounced to the backstop. Pratt got the ball and threw home to
Geary, who tagged Zeile for the out.

Wilson followed with a single that broke his bat, with a piece
hitting Bell. The umpire was dazed, but he stayed in.

Shane Spencer then drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, Jose
Reyes singled and Kaz Matsui blooped an RBI single to center. The
inning finally ended when Looper -- in a rare at-bat -- grounded
out.

Game notes
Mets C-1B Mike Piazza got the day off. ... The slow-footed
Zeile bunted for a single down the third-base line in the second,
drawing big cheers. ... RHP Scott Erickson will start Monday night
for the Mets against Florida. It'll be his first appearance in the
majors since Aug. 31, 2002, with Baltimore.