NEW YORK (AP)—Mets fans were waving white towels—and it wasn’t a sign of surrender.
For the first time this season, there is a little bit of life at Shea Stadium.
“There are a lot of young kids here that are getting an opportunity here and are taking advantage,” Al Leiter said.
On a cool and blustery night that seemed more like early April than early June, the Mets finally flashed the type of offense they thought they would have. Despite missing Mike Piazza, Mo Vaughn and Roberto Alomar, all sidelined by injuries, the Mets reached double digits in runs for the first time since Sept. 8 against Philadelphia.
“We’re doing a lot of the things we hoped,” Mets general manager Steve Phillips said, “not with the names we had anticipated.”
It was towel night at Shea Stadium, and fans in the crowd of 25,162 waved them in excitement during the big inning.
“They come to cheer,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “We haven’t given them much to cheer for. I think they’re finding out we’re a battling team.”
Atlanta pitchers were furious after the game with the Questec Umpire Information System, saying it caused plate umpire Lance Barksdale to shrink the strike zone on them.
Eight days earlier in Phoenix, Arizona pitcher Curt Schilling attacked a Questec camera. The commissioner’s office has not determined whether to discipline him.
“This system is one of the worst things that has happened in baseball,” said Darren Holmes, who gave up Burnitz’s homer on a 3-1 pitch. “They are going to feel ramifications because of the system. it’s a joke.”
Braves manager Bobby Cox said “it was unreal. They threw a bunch of strikes and they weren’t called.”
Before the game, Pedro Astacio became the eighth New York player on the disabled list, sidelined again by a torn labrum that could finish his season. But as veterans keep getting replaced, the Mets seem to be gaining strength.
“It’s exciting to play with young guys who have nothing to lose and are getting dirty. It’s fun baseball,” said Vance Wilson, who as Piazza’s replacement behind the plate matched his career high with three hits.
Burnitz, on the disabled list from April 23 to May 23 because of a fractured left hand, also doubled to start the big sixth inning. New York, just 26-30 this season, has gone 7-5 the last two weeks against division rivals Atlanta and Philadelphia but still trailing NL East-leading Atlanta by 11 games.
“We’re playing hard-nosed baseball. We’re doing the little things,” Phillips said.
One out later, Vance Wilson tied it with a single off Kevin Gryboski (3-3). Tony Clark hit for Leiter (6-2) and flied out against King but Joe McEwing singled, the first of five straight hits off Atlanta’s bullpen.
Sanchez followed with his go-ahead single, then stole second. Ty Wigginton’s two-run single off Holmes put New York ahead 7-4, Cliff Floyd singled and Burnitz hit his seventh homer of the season, his third hit of the game.
“We may be underdogs,” Howe said, “but we can play with anybody.”
Atlanta OF Mark DeRosa got his 13th start of the season, playing left field because Chipper Jones jammed his left wrist Saturday, and hit his second homer of the series. Darren Bragg played CF in place of Andruw Jones, who has a hyperextended left knee. … LHP Mike Bacsik, recalled from the minors Saturday, will take Astacio’s spot in the rotation. To fill Astacio’s roster spot, New York recalled RHP Jeremy Griffiths from Triple-A Norfolk of the International League. … Vaughn is likely to try rehabbing his arthritic left knee, with the 1B waiting four-to-six weeks before deciding whether to have surgery. … David Weathers walked his first two batters in seventh, then got Julio Franco to bounce into a double play and retired DeRosa on a flyout. … Ramirez gave up four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings. … Leiter, coming off a 136-pitch outing last Tuesday at Philadelphia, threw 102 pitches in six innings, improving to 8-9 against Atlanta. He allowed four runs, sevenhits and four walks in six innings.