Bulldog: Leiter Propels Mets to 4-2 Win

Al Leiter has established himself as the bulldog of the Mets rotation over the past six years and on Tuesday night he provided further evidence to support that. The lefty threw one hundred and thirty six pitches, allowing just two hits in six innings, and Jeromy Burnitz cracked a two run homer as New York Mets defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 4-2 inside Veterans Stadium.

The Mets (23-28), who dropped two straight games in Atlanta over the weekend after winning the series opener, were in a desperate need of a win and Al Leiter (5-2) was the stopper. He worked full counts to 16 batters in order to hand the Phillies their fifth loss in the past six games.

"My style of pitching, it's hard for me to get low pitch counts," Leiter said to the Associated Press. "I know you get to 100, bells start ringing. But it's how you get to that number. I wasn't clueless out there. I had good stuff. I was in control."

Armando Benitez got four outs for his fifteenth save of the season, but not before loading the bases in the ninth. He got Mike Liberthal -- 5-for-9 against the closer before the at bat -- to pop up to short to end the game.

Cliff Floyd began the top of the second by drawing a seven pitch walk against Phillies' starter Randy Wolf (5-3) and, after Jason Phillips struck out, Jeromy Burnitz hit an opposite field homer -- his third in four games -- to put the Mets ahead 2-0.

Burnitz, since coming off the disabled list before Friday night's contest, went 3-for-4 and has hit three home runs and driven in eight runs over the four game span. For a team hindered by injuries at key positions, his return was certainly welcomed.

"I'm not surprised I'm seeing it good," Burnitz said to the Associated Press. "My approach hasn't changed."

Philadelphia (27-24) miscues in the fourth led to two more New York runs. Cliff Floyd started it off with an infield single, but David Bell's throwing error moved him up to second. Jason Phillips walked and Jeromy Burnitz singled to load the bases as catcher Vance Wilson stepped to the plate.

Wilson -- who has started nine straight games since Mike Piazza went down May 16 -- grounded a ball to third basemen David Bell who threw to second for the force as Floyd scored, but Placido Polanco's throw to first for the easy double play was wide and allowed Phillips to cross the plate for the Mets' fourth run.

Al Leiter went six innings and surrendered just two hits, no runs, and six walks while fanning eight. He got his eighth win against the Phillies after coming in 7-5 with a 4.31 ERA against them in his career. He loaded the bases in the third with two outs, but got David Bell looking on a full count pitch to end the threat.

Graeme Lloyd pitched a perfect seventh, but yielded a Jim Thome double to begin the eighth. David Weathers came on to retire Pat Burrell and David Bell, but Mike Liberthal delivered with an RBI single before Jason Michaels' base hit chased the reliever.

Benitez came on to retire Marlon Byrd and gave up a run in the ninth before earning the save.

Twenty-six year old lefty Randy Wolf worked 6 2-3 innings allowing eight hits and four runs while walking two and striking out nine. Rheal Cormier, Turk Wendell, and Carlos Silva combined to work the rest of the game.

"I just didn't do my job again," Wolf said to the Associated Press, who took a no decision in last Wednesday's start against the Mets. "We're going through a bad time and hopefully we come out of it."

Notes
2B Roberto Alomar left the game in the sixth with a left hip flexor... Before the game, OF Timo Perez was placed of the 15-day disabled list (strained right calf), SS Rey Sanchez was activated (sprained left thumb), LHP Jaime Cerda was sent to Triple-A Norfolk, and RHP David Cone (hip) was activated... LHP Mike Stanton had an MRI on his left knee which showed inflammation. He received a cortisone shot and is day-to-day... Phillies' OF Bobby Abreu did not start after straining a lower back muscle over the weekend, but did pinch hit... RHP Pedro Astacio (3-1, 6.34) draws RHP Vincente Padilla (3-6, 4.55) on Wednesday night...


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