Series: Game 1 of 5

NY Mets leads 1-0 (as of 9/13)

Game 1: Monday, September 13
NY Mets9
Game 2: Monday, September 13
NY Mets1
Game 3: Tuesday, September 14
NY Mets7
Game 4: Wednesday, September 15
NY Mets0
Game 5: Thursday, September 16
NY Mets9

Braves 7

(84-59, 41-30 away)

Mets 9

(62-81, 33-38 home)

    5:10 PM ET, September 13, 2004

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    ATL 000400102 7 11 0
    NYM 00100530 - 9 11 0

    W: A. Heilman (1-1)

    L: J. Wright (14-7)

    Mets win for 3rd time in 22 games

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Piazza and the New York Mets made sure manager Art Howe had at least one thing to smile about Monday.

    Piazza and Richard Hidalgo homered, pinch-hitter Craig Brazell came through with a go-ahead double and New York rallied past the Atlanta Braves 9-7 in the first game of a doubleheader.

    It was an uplifting victory after a newspaper reported Monday that the slumping Mets have already decided to fire Howe after the season. He said if that's true, he wants to be let go immediately.

    "I didn't read any stories. I didn't even know what was going on. I don't think that changes anything," winning pitcher Aaron Heilman said. "We've got to go out there and give it everything we've got, every game, every pitch, every inning. I don't think it's changed our approach at all."

    After the Mets spent all afternoon answering questions about Howe, they came back from a three-run deficit to win for only the third time in 22 games.

    With less than 1,000 fans in the stands at the start, Heilman (1-1) earned his first major league win in more than a year and Wilson Delgado also homered for New York.

    "Good pitching, timely hitting, and hopefully we can get the nightcap," Howe said.

    Jae Seo started the second game against Atlanta's Paul Byrd.

    Andruw Jones hit a two-run shot to help the NL East-leading Braves build a 4-1 lead, but Jaret Wright (14-7) couldn't hold it.

    New York scored five times in the sixth. Piazza hit a two-run homer, and Brazell's two-out, two-run double down the right-field line gave the Mets a 5-4 lead.

    "I didn't have my best stuff, the stuff you'd like to have, but I was getting through it," Wright said. "That inning I left some pitches up that they could hit."

    The RBI were the first of Brazell's major league career. Mike Cameron capped the burst with an RBI single off Kevin Gryboski.

    J.D. Drew hit an RBI double off Ricky Bottalico in the seventh, but Hidalgo's three-run homer off Travis Smith in the bottom half made it 9-5.

    Bartolome Fortunato struck out two in a perfect eighth, and Braden Looper got three outs to finish it. He gave up a two-run double to Chipper Jones in the ninth.

    Heilman, recalled from Triple-A Norfolk for the second time this year last Wednesday, allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings for his first win since Aug. 12, 2003, against San Francisco. The 2001 first-round draft pick struck out six.

    "He did a nice job mixing his pitches," Howe said. "He was ahead in the count most of the night, that's the key."

    Wright, who had won three straight decisions, gave up six runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings.

    "I needed one more strike on the pinch-hitter. He just hooked it down the line," Wright said.

    Rafael Furcal hit an RBI triple and Marcus Giles had a run-scoring double in Atlanta's four-run fourth.

    Game notes

    Howe on finishing the season as manager if he's going to be fired anyway: "Why put me through this?" he said. "I'd rather have it happen now. There's no sense in waiting." ... Braves LHP Mike Hampton has a torn meniscus in his left knee and will need surgery during the offseason. He's expected to rejoin the team Tuesday, but whether he can pitch will depend on how he feels. ... Piazza's 377th homer tied him with Norm Cash for 55th place on the career list. ... New York LHP Tom Glavine felt better, one day after he was hit on the left shin by a comebacker. The team was unsure if Glavine could make his next scheduled start Friday. ... Mets backup catcher Vance Wilson will have surgery Tuesday on a ruptured ligament in his left hand, ending his season. Wilson caught the last two innings. ... The doubleheader was scheduled to make up a July 23 rainout.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press