New York (28-28) at Minnesota (30-26)

Fair Currently: Minneapolis, MN
Temp: 57° F
  • Game info: 8:10 pm EDT Tue Jun 8, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Mike Piazza has been one of the major leagues’ hottest hitters of late. If his past performance in interleague play is any indication, that won’t change anytime soon.

Piazza will try to live up to his reputation as the best hitter in the history of interleague play when the New York Mets open a three-game series at the Metrodome against the Minnesota Twins.

Piazza hit his third homer in two days and drove in four runs Sunday, sending New York to its fifth win in its last seven games, 5-2 over Florida.

Piazza, who is hitting .354 (29-for-82) over his last 22 games, has the highest batting average in the history of interleague play—.365, 20 points ahead of Darin Erstad of the Anaheim Angels.

“I feel very comfortable at the plate,” Piazza said. “I’m seeing the ball well. I’m putting pretty good swings on the ball. I’m using the whole field, I can’t complain.”

Manager Art Howe thought about giving Piazza a day off over weekend, but he was in the lineup both days. When Piazza was exclusively a catcher, he used to get a lot of Sundays off. Now that he’s playing more first base, he remains in the lineup, a good thing for the Mets.

“Now he’s finding out what he was missing when he didn’t play on Sunday,” Howe said.

Piazza hit a two-run double in the first inning Sunday and his 371st home run in the fifth. His 13th homer of the season put him in 56th place on the career list, one in front of former Mets manager Gil Hodges and four back of Rocky Colavito.

Joe Mauer hit a tiebreaking, three-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning to help the Twins beat Detroit 6-5 on Sunday.

It was the rookie catcher’s first major league home run. Mauer, from St. Paul, Minn., was the No. 1 pick in the 2001 draft. He injured his knee in the second game of the season and returned from surgery Wednesday. He was 0-for-8 in three games prior to his home run.

“I don’t know what it is about superstars, but they do those things,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said.

By taking two of three from the Tigers, the Twins ended their series losing streak at four.

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T. Glavine Atl vs. B. Radke Min
11-14 Record 11-8
3.60 ERA 3.48
109 K 143
70 BB 26
1.29 WHIP 1.16