Burnitz continues to spark revitalized Mets

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mets fans were waving white towels -- and it

wasn't a sign of surrender.

For the first time this season, there is a little bit of life at

Shea Stadium.

Jeromy Burnitz capped an eight-run sixth inning with a three-run

homer as New York rallied to beat the Atlanta Braves 10-4 Sunday

night and take two of three games from the NL East leaders.

"There are a lot of young kids here that are getting an

opportunity here and are taking advantage,'' Al Leiter said.

On a cool and blustery night that seemed more like early April

than early June, the Mets finally flashed the type of offense they

thought they would have. Despite missing Mike Piazza, Mo Vaughn and

Roberto Alomar, all sidelined by injuries, the Mets reached double

digits in runs for the first time since Sept. 8 against

Philadelphia.

"We're doing a lot of the things we hoped,'' Mets general

manager Steve Phillips said, "not with the names we had

anticipated.''

It was towel night at Shea Stadium, and fans in the crowd of

25,162 waved them in excitement during the big inning.

"They come to cheer,'' Mets manager Art Howe said. "We haven't

given them much to cheer for. I think they're finding out we're a

battling team.''

Atlanta pitchers were furious after the game with the Questec

Umpire Information System, saying it caused plate umpire Lance

Barksdale to shrink the strike zone on them.

"I wish I was close to the machine, so I could break it,'' said

Ray King, who gave up a go-ahead single to Rey Sanchez. "The umps

are more worried about the machine than calling the game.''

Eight days earlier in Phoenix, Arizona pitcher Curt Schilling

attacked a Questec camera. The commissioner's office has not

determined whether to discipline him.

"This system is one of the worst things that has happened in

baseball,'' said Darren Holmes, who gave up Burnitz's homer on a

3-1 pitch. "They are going to feel ramifications because of the

system. it's a joke.''

Braves manager Bobby Cox said "it was unreal. They threw a

bunch of strikes and they weren't called.''

Before the game, Pedro Astacio became the eighth New York player

on the disabled list, sidelined again by a torn labrum that could

finish his season. But as veterans keep getting replaced, the Mets

seem to be gaining strength.

"It's exciting to play with young guys who have nothing to lose

and are getting dirty. It's fun baseball,'' said Vance Wilson, who

as Piazza's replacement behind the plate matched his career high

with three hits.

Burnitz, on the disabled list from April 23 to May 23 because of

a fractured left hand, also doubled to start the big sixth inning.

New York, just 26-30 this season, has gone 7-5 the last two weeks

against division rivals Atlanta and Philadelphia but still trailing

NL East-leading Atlanta by 11 games.

"We're playing hard-nosed baseball. We're doing the little

things,'' Phillips said.

Horacio Ramirez, unbeaten in seven starts since losing to

Florida on April 11, took a 4-2 lead into the sixth but left after

consecutive doubles by Burnitz and Jason Phillips.

One out later, Vance Wilson tied it with a single off Kevin Gryboski (3-3). Tony Clark hit for Leiter (6-2) and flied out

against King but Joe McEwing singled, the first of five straight

hits off Atlanta's bullpen.

Sanchez followed with his go-ahead single, then stole second. Ty Wigginton's two-run single off Holmes put New York ahead 7-4, Cliff Floyd singled and Burnitz hit his seventh homer of the season, his

third hit of the game.

"We may be underdogs,'' Howe said, "but we can play with

anybody.''

Game notes

Atlanta OF Mark DeRosa got his 13th start of the season,

playing left field because Chipper Jones jammed his left wrist

Saturday, and hit his second homer of the series. Darren Bragg

played CF in place of Andruw Jones, who has a hyperextended left

knee. ... LHP Mike Bacsik, recalled from the minors Saturday, will

take Astacio's spot in the rotation. To fill Astacio's roster spot,

New York recalled RHP Jeremy Griffiths from Triple-A Norfolk of the

International League. ... Vaughn is likely to try rehabbing his

arthritic left knee, with the 1B waiting four-to-six weeks before

deciding whether to have surgery. ... David Weathers walked his

first two batters in seventh, then got Julio Franco to bounce into

a double play and retired DeRosa on a flyout. ... Ramirez gave up

four runs and seven hits in five-plus innings. ... Leiter, coming

off a 136-pitch outing last Tuesday at Philadelphia, threw 102

pitches in six innings, improving to 8-9 against Atlanta. He

allowed four runs, seven hits and four walks in six innings.