Leiter fell behind right away in the opening stanza. Marcus Giles walked and swiped second. Leiter uncorked a wild pitch and Giles scampered to third. Gary Sheffield singled and Marcus broke the ice, putting the Braves up 1-0. Julio Franco then grounded out as Sheffield moved up a base. Mark DeRosa brought Gary home with a single, and the Mets trailed by two.
Rookie Horacio Ramirez got the start for Atlanta and he was very erratic from the outset. In the second inning, New York took advantage of his wildness and tied the score at 2-2. The Mets loaded the bases with no outs. Cliff Floyd walked, Burnitz singled and Jason Phillips coaxed a free pass as well. With the bases juiced, Tsuyoshi Shinjo lined sharply to third. An error by Marcus Giles allowed Floyd to score and Burnitz to move to third. Vance Wilson then doubled in Jeromy and the score was even.
The Braves briefly recaptured the lead in the fourth inning. Darren Bragg reached on an infield single and Ramirez bunted him to second. Shortstop Rafael Furcal singled sharply to right, and hustled to second when Burnitz overran the ball. Bragg managed to score on the play, and Braves led once again, 3-2.
Mark DeRosa crushed a long homerun with two outs in the 5th, as the Braves increased their lead to 4-2. But that lead would disappear very quickly.
Burnitz took matters into his own hands as the bottom of the sixth unfolded. He led off the inning by bouncing a ball over the right field wall for a ground-rule double. Jason Phillips hit a pop fly down the left field line that landed just fair, allowing Burnitz to score. Phillips would up at second with a double of is own. The Mets had narrowed the deficit to 4-3.
Braves manager Bobby Cox quickly went to his bullpen and brought in Kevin Gryboski (3-3) to replace Ramirez. Art Howe sent Marco Scutaro in to run for Phillips as the opponents began to spin the wheel and play baseball roulette.
Roger Cedeno batted for Shinjo and grounded out, but catcher Vance Wilson singled in Scutaro and tied the score. The strategy continued: Tony Clark batted for Al Leiter, and Cox lifted Gryboski and brought in Ray King. Clark hit a fly ball for the second out, but the Mets were far from done. Joe McEwing kept the inning alive with a single, with Wilson advancing to second. Rey Sanchez broke the tie with single that scored Wilson, and McEwing took third.
Darren Holmes relieved King and Sanchez promptly stole second, putting two runners in scoring position, and Ty Wigginton brought them both home with a single to center. The Mets led 7-4. Floyd singled, setting the stage for a three-run Burnitz bomb to right, which capped the huge inning and sent the Mets home 10-4 winners.
The Mets won a minor victory this weekend by taking two of three from the powerful Braves, and now trail them by 11 games. New York will have Monday off, and will then entertain the lowly Milwaukee Brewers at Shea. Hopefully the good calibre of baseball will continue. Youngster Mike Bacsik (0-0) will face fireballer Matt Kinney (3-4) of Milwaukee in the opener.