Mets 7, Angels 3

Preview | Box Score | Recap

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Mike Bacsik is determined to make the most out of another chance with the New York Mets.

The left-hander, making his second start since Pedro Astacio’s season-ending shoulder injury, allowed two runs, six hits and no walks in five innings as the Mets beat the Anaheim Angels 7-3 Friday night in the first regular-season game between the teams.

Bacsik (1-1) has made four appearances since being called up from Triple-A Norfolk. Last year he was 3-2 with a 4.36 ERA in 11 outings for the Mets, including nine starts. But a poor spring got him demoted to the minors.

“I approached spring training in the wrong way,” Bacsik said. “I had a really great opportunity to be in the starting rotation, but I let the pressure get to me and tried too hard.”

Jeromy Burnitz homered and drove in three runs, and Timo Perez hit his first home run of the season to help the Mets win their third straight game, matching their longest winning streak of the season.

New York built a 5-0 lead through four innings against Aaron Sele, one night after beating Texas 11-0 in their first game after the firing of general manager Steve Phillips.

“I really don’t think it has anything to do with that,” Mets catcher Vance Wilson said. “I mean, yesterday was a tough day on everybody. I’ve been around Steve for a long time—he was the minor league director when I first signed, so you feel bad for him. But we’re professionals, he’s a professional, and all of us will move on.”

Burnitz agreed with Wilson.

“From a player’s point of view, it means nothing, other than the fact that you feel responsible that somebody was let go because you weren’t playing well,” Burnitz said. “We just really haven’t gotten it done this year, but we’re just trying to play hard every day. Since we’ve gotten on this road trip, the guys are swinging the bats well—and pitching well, too.”

Perez, the second batter to face Sele, golfed an 0-2 pitch over the 18-foot wall in right field for his first home run since last Sept. 3. New York added four runs in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by Perez and RBI singles from Roger Cedeno, Roberto Alomar and Burnitz.

Sele threw 84 pitches in just 3 2-3 innings, allowing five runs, eight hits and three walks.

“When he’s scuffling, we do see a pitch count that high,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He just lost his command a little bit and just couldn’t get back in synch.”

The Mets threatened to break the game open in the fifth after putting runners at second and third with none out. But Angels center fielder Darin Erstad—playing his fourth game after missing 42 with tendinitis in his right hamstring—raced to the alley in left-center and made a fully extended diving grab of Perez’s extra-base bid.

Erstad’s defensive gem seemed to inspire the World Series champions. The Angels narrowed the gap to 5-2 in the bottom of the fifth with Bengie Molina’s leadoff homer and consecutive doubles by Benji Gil and Eric Owens with none out.

“Erstad gave them some momentum with that great catch he made,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “That would have been two more runs for us and probably would have broken the game wide open. It looked like it kind of sparked them, because they came in and got a couple of runs. But Mike pitched out of it and did a great job after that.”

Burnitz got both runs back with his eighth home run, following Cliff Floyd’s single. Burnitz has five homers and 18 RBIs in 18 games since returning fromthe disabled list. He was out with a broken hand.

Notes

Howe is 53-50 against the Angels, including the previous seven seasons with Oakland. … Erstad, a two-time Gold Glove winner, was chosen by the Mets in the 13th round of the 1992 draft. He chose, instead, to attend Nebraska. … Mets rookie SS Jose Reyes let a routine grounder by Molina get past him for his second error in four games since being recalled from Norfolk on Tuesday. He robbed Shawn Wooten of a possible RBI single with a diving catch to end the fourth inning. … Jim Duquette, promoted to general manager after Phillips’ dismissal, interviewed for the Angels job in October 1999 before Bill Stoneman was hired. … Angels SS David Eckstein started for the first time in sevengames. He had been out because of a bone bruise on his left hand.

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