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Piazza delivers two three-run homers in loss

7/4/2002

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Jimmy Rollins gave the fans a reason to come back to Veterans Stadium.

Rollins' two-out RBI single in the eighth inning lifted the
Philadelphia Phillies to an 8-7 victory over the New York Mets
before a crowd of 50,396 on Wednesday night.

Mike Piazza hit a pair of three-run homers for the Mets, who
lost for the fifth time in seven games.

Philadelphia won its third straight series, but first at
Veterans Stadium since beating Montreal on June 2 to take two of
three against the Expos.

Scott Strickland (6-5) retired the first two batters in the
eighth, but left after Ricky Ledee doubled to left-center. Mark
Guthrie entered and Rollins lined his first pitch into center,
scoring Ledee to give the Phillies an 8-7 lead.

Though most of the fans showed up to see fireworks after the
game, it was the type of victory that could get more people
interested in the Phillies. The last-place Phillies entered the
night with the third-worst attendance in the NL.

"The crowd reminded me of the late 1970s, early '80s,'' said
manager Larry Bowa, a shortstop on the Phillies' 1980 championship
team. "To win it the way we did is incredible.''

Dan Plesac (2-1) pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings, and Jose Mesa
worked the ninth, striking out Piazza with a runner on first for
his 22nd save in 26 chances.

After Piazza's second homer gave the Mets a 7-6 lead in the
seventh, Bobby Abreu walked to start the bottom of the inning
against reliever Jaime Cerda. Strickland entered, Abreu stole
second and Burrell hit a double to right-center that tied it at 7.

"I was fooled,'' Burrell said. "It was a slider that I usually
hit to shortstop. I stayed with it and went to right.''

Mets starter Jeff D'Amico allowed four runs and eight hits in
five innings. He has won just once in his last seven starts.

Randy Wolf gave up four runs and five hits in six innings for
the Phillies. He had allowed two runs or less in four of his last
five starts, but went just 1-2 in those outings.

"We swung the bats well. We just didn't hold them,'' Mets
manager Bobby Valentine said.

Trailing 6-4, the Mets rallied with two outs in the seventh off
reliever Carlos Silva. Roger Cedeno and Edgardo Alfonzo singled.
Piazza then hit a 2-1 pitch into the right-field bullpen for his
17th homer and a 7-6 lead.

Piazza hit a three-run homer off Wolf an inning earlier that
gave the Mets a 3-1 lead. Mo Vaughn followed with a solo shot that
made it 4-1, but the Phillies answered with five runs in the bottom
of the inning.

Rollins led off the inning with a triple off D'Amico and Abreu
followed with a two-run homer to right that cut it to 4-3. Burrell
then chased D'Amico by hitting a 3-2 pitch into the left-field
seats for his 21st homer, tying the game at 4.

Scott Rolen greeted David Weathers with a single, and scored on
Marlon Anderson's double down the left-field line, giving the
Phillies a 5-4 lead. Pinch-hitter Doug Glanville added an RBI
single that made it 6-4.

Mike Lieberthal's RBI single in the second gave the Phillies a
1-0 lead.

The crowd was the largest at the Vet since Opening Day when
50,942 came out to see the Phillies after they finished in second
place last season.

"To hear that noise is nice. It's not something you normally
hear at the Vet,'' Rollins said.

Wolf retired the first nine batters and 15 of 17 before D'Amico
and Roger Cedeno singled to start the sixth. After Alfonzo flied
out to right, Piazza nailed Wolf's first pitch deep into the
left-center field seats and Vaughn followed by hitting an 0-2 pitch
just over the right-center field wall for his 10th homer.

"I was trying to hit the ball out of the park,'' Piazza said
about the 3-2 pitch he missed for the final out.

Game notes
Joe McEwing started at 2B instead of Roberto Alomar. He
went 0-for-2, and is in an 0-for-31 slump. ... Burrell has 13
homers and 38 RBI in 136 career at-bats against the Mets. ...
Alfonzo is 2-for-26 against Wolf. Piazza is 8-for-20 off Wolf with
three homers.