Philadelphia (26-19) at New York (19-26)

Partly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 7:10 pm EDT Wed May 21, 2003
  • TV: CSN, MSG
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Pat Burrell does not know why he plays so well at Shea Stadium. For now, he is just glad to break out of a slump.

The 26-year-old slugger will look for another big game as the Philadelphia Phillies meet the New York Mets in the middle game of their series at Shea.

Burrell, who has 19 homers and 53 RBIs in 176 career at-bats against the Mets, had another big day in New York on Tuesday. He hit two home runs in the Phillies’ 11-7 win, including a three-run shot in a seven-run seventh inning to tie the game at four.

“I don’t know what it is,” Burrell said. “I just feel comfortable here. It’s a good background to see the ball.”

Perhaps more importantly for Burrell, he may be breaking out of a season-long slump. He entered the game hitting just .213 and was 1-for-14 over his previous five games.

“I came in not swinging the bat well basically all year,” said Burrell, who raised his average to .220 by going 2-for-4. “Hitting .200 is embarrassing, is what it is. Regardless of whether I’ve hit well here, it’s nice to be able to help the team win.”

The win was the Phillies’ fourth in their last five games and pulled them within five games of the first-place Atlanta Braves in the National League East.

For the Mets, however, things just continue to get worse.

Before Tuesday’s loss, the Mets announced that All-Star catcher Mike Piazza will be out for at least six weeks and possibly the rest of the season because of a tear in his right groin muscle.

“Six weeks is certainly the low end of it,” Mets general manager Steve Phillips said. “It’s hard to pinpoint beyond that.”

The Mets have lost five of seven.

STANDINGS: Phillies - 3rd place, 5 GB, NL East. Mets - 4th place, 12 GB, NL East.

PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Randy Wolf (5-2, 3.24 ERA). Off to the best start of his five-year career, Wolf struck out a season-high nine against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday. However, he did not get the decision in the Phillies’ 6-4 win after giving up four runs and five hits in six innings. The 26-year-old lefty is 2-2 with a 3.44 ERA in 11 career games against the Mets.

METS PROBABLE STARTER: Al Leiter (4-2, 4.64 ERA). Leiter had his worst start of the season on Thursday. In a disastrous 4 2-3 innings, he gave up 10 runs and 13 hits, as the Mets were pounded by the San Francisco Giants 11-3. In 18 career games against Philadelphia, Leiter is 7-5 with a 4.30 ERA.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .318 avg.; Jim Thome, 10 HRs and 35 RBIs; Jimmy Rollins, 32 runs and 6 SBs. Mets - Roberto Alomar, .273 avg. and 5 SBs; Cliff Floyd, 8 HRs and 26 RBIs; Alomar and Ty Wiggington, 23 runs.

SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 1-0.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Phillies - C Lieberthal is 8-for-21 (.381) in his career against Leiter. … LHP Dan Plesac made his 1,022nd career appearance on Tuesday, tying Lee Smith for fifth on the all-time list. … INF Nick Punto got his first career RBI on Tuesday. Mets - INF Joe McEwing is batting just .087 (2-for-23) with seven strikeouts in his career against Wolf. … LF Floyd has 19 RBIs in his last 18 games. … 1B Mo Vaughn saw a doctor in Colorado on Tuesday, the fifth doctor he’s seen as he determines the proper course for rehabilitating his injured left knee.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Phillies - 13-10 on the road; Mets - 11-11 at home.

INJURIES: Phillies - INF Tyler Houston (finger), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Hector Mercado (hamstring), 15-day DL. Mets - C Piazza (groin), 15-day DL; IF Rey Sanchez (thumb), 15-day DL; 1B Vaughn (knee), 15-day DL; OF Jeromy Burnitz (hand), 15-day DL; RHP David Cone (hip), 15-day DL; LHP John Franco (elbow), 15-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (groin), 15-day DL; RHP Grant Roberts (shoulder), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

R. Wolf Det vs. A. Leiter NYY
16-10 Record 15-9
4.23 ERA 3.99
177 K 139
78 BB 94
1.27 WHIP 1.49