Mets 3, Braves 1

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ATLANTA (AP)—Jose Reyes switched on the power and put his name in the record book.

Reyes became the youngest player in modern major league history to homer from both sides of the plate, leading the New York Mets over the Atlanta Braves 3-1 Thursday night.

“This is my first time ever,” the 20-year-old rookie said. “I wasn’t thinking about hitting home runs, but it’s a good feeling.”

Al Leiter allowed two hits in seven shutout innings for the Mets. He outpitched Mike Hampton, who had won nine straight decisions.

Reyes connected right-handed against Hampton leading off the fifth and added a two-run shot from the left side off Trey Hodges in the ninth.

At 20 years, 79 days, Reyes became the youngest player since 1900 to homer from each side of the plate in one game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, baseball’s statistician.

The youngest player to do it previously was Texas’ Ruben Sierra at 20 years, 342 days on Sept. 13, 1986, at Minnesota.

Reyes, a natural right-handed hitter, began batting from the left side only three years ago.

“I’ve got more power from the right side, but I’m getting better from the left side,” he said.

Reyes also became the first Mets rookie to connect from both sides of the plate in one game.

“He’s something. He’s going to be special,” Leiter said.

The last-place Mets took two of three from the Braves, who have the best record in the majors. New York has won four of five and 11 of 15 overall.

Leiter (13-7) allowed only three runners, none beyond second base. He gave up a one-out double to Mike Hessman in the third, a leadoff walk to Andruw Jones in the fifth and a leadoff single to Gary Sheffield in the seventh.

The left-hander walked one and struck out six, winning for the fifth time in seven starts since coming off the 15-day disabled list July 20 because of an inflamed right knee.

“I lost 20 pounds and I feel better physically,” said Leiter, who trimmed his 6-foot-3 frame down to 200 pounds.

“The difference is I’ve been pitching ahead in the count instead of pitching with bad counts like 2-0 and 3-1 and they know what’s coming,” he said.

David Weathers pitched two innings for his career-high fifth save.

Weathers gave up a leadoff single to Javy Lopez in the eighth, but got Vinny Castilla to hit into a double play and struck out Hessman.

Two errors, including one by Weathers, helped Atlanta score in the ninth.

Hampton (12-6) allowed only five hits in seven innings. He walked four and struck out four.

“Al pitched a heck of a game. He battled us all night,” Hampton said. “Those things happen. What can I say? He outpitched us and they won.”

Reyes connected on an 0-1 pitch leading off the fifth, a 385-foot drive over the left-field wall. He added a two-run shot off Hodges in the ninth, his fifthof the year and second from the left side.

Notes

Sheffield needs one stolen base to become the 17th player with 300 homers and 200 steals. … The Braves placed RHP Kevin Gryboski on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis and recalled RHP Joe Dawley from Triple-A Richmond. … Braves SS Rafael Furcal was removed from the starting lineup 30 minutes before the game. Manager Bobby Cox said Furcal didn’t start because his left shin was bothering him. Furcal was hit by a pitch there Friday in Colorado. … Mets OF Cliff Floyd will undergo surgery Friday on his right Achilles’ tendon. … Jay Bell, who started at second base for the Mets, has 21 starts this season—eight at second, six at shortstop, five at third base andtwo at first base.

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