NEW YORK (AP)—Mike Piazza and Richard Hidalgo homered, pinch-hitter Craig Brazell came through with a go-ahead double and the New York Mets rallied past the Atlanta Braves 9-7 on Monday in the first game of a doubleheader.
After the Mets spent all afternoon answering questions about manager Art Howe, they came back from a three-run deficit to win for only the third time in 22 games. Aaron Heilman (1-1) earned his first major league win in more than a year, and Wilson Delgado also homered.
New York scored five times in the sixth. Piazza hit a two-run homer, and Brazell’s two-out, two-run double down the right-field line gave the Mets a 5-4 lead.
There were less than 1,000 fans in the stands at the start, yet it was an uplifting victory for the Mets after a newspaper reported Monday that the team has already decided to fire Howe after the season. He said if that’s true, he wants to be let go immediately.
“Why put me through this?” Howe said. “I’d rather have it happen now. There’s no sense in waiting.”
Heilman, recalled from Triple-A Norfolk for the second time this year on Sept. 8, allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings for his first win in the majors since Aug. 12, 2003, against San Francisco. The 2001 first-round draft pick struck out six.
Wright, who had won three straight decisions, gave up six runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Braves LHP Mike Hampton has a torn meniscus in his left knee and will need surgery during the offseason. He’s expected to rejoin the team Tuesday, but whether he can pitch will depend on how he feels. … Piazza’s 377th homer tied him with Norm Cash for 55th place on the career list. … New York LHP Tom Glavine felt better, one day after he was hit on the left shin by a comebacker. The team was unsure if Glavine could make his next scheduled start Friday. … Mets backup catcher Vance Wilson will have surgery Tuesday on a ruptured ligament in his left hand, ending his season. Wilson caught the last two innings. … The doubleheader was scheduled to make up a July 23 rainout.