Atlanta outfielder goes 5-for-5, homers twice

ATLANTA (AP) -- A few sessions with hitting coach Terry Pendleton got Gary Sheffield back on track.

Sheffield went 5-for-5 with two homers and Mike Hampton won his third straight start to lead the Atlanta Braves past the New York Mets 11-4 Friday night.

Sheffield broke out of a 1-for-14 slump by tying a career high for hits, and his homer in the fifth inning was his first since June 27, a span of 58 at-bats. He added a three-run shot in the eighth off Graeme Lloyd and scored four runs.

"TP pounded it in on me enough, 'Go to right field, go to right field,'" Sheffield said. "That's what I tried to do."

Hampton (6-5) went seven strong innings a game after Greg Maddux pitched his first complete game in two years. He retired the first seven batters, pitched his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, then set down the last five batters he faced.

"It was just fluctuating a little bit of the speed and keeping the ball down," Hampton said. "It's tough as a hitter to hit a pitch when you don't know if it's 82 (mph) or 87."

Javy Lopez went 2-for-4 and drove in five runs for the Braves, who have won 11 of 12. They improved the best record in the majors to 63-32, their best 95-game start ever.

Left fielder Chipper Jones left the game after the sixth inning when he aggravated a left wrist injury on a check swing. He's day to day.

The Mets tied a season high with five errors, including two by left fielder Cliff Floyd in the first inning, and lost for the eighth time in their past nine games. At 40-55, they're a season-worst 15 games under .500.

Ty Wigginton went 3-for-4 for the Mets, who scored four times in the eighth off relievers Ray King and Kevin Gryboski.

"It means nothing at all," Wigginton said of his three hits. "They put it to us. I imagine Sheffield is celebrating over on the other side."

Jae Weong Seo (5-6) struggled for the second straight start against Atlanta and left after only four innings. He gave up five runs -- four earned -- on five hits and three walks. Last week in New York, he gave up six runs in six innings in a 7-3 loss to the Braves.

After the game, New York manager Art Howe suggested that Seo might need to develop another pitch besides his fastball and slider.

"For the time being, I'm going to stick with what I have," Seo said through an interpreter. "When the offseason comes, maybe I can sift through things and make some adjustments. I don't think I will be making major changes in my pattern."

Atlanta jumped to a 4-0 lead in the first, helped by Floyd's errors. With one out, Mark DeRosa walked, moved to second on a single by Sheffield, then scored on a single by Chipper Jones.

Andruw Jones singled to drive home Sheffield, and when Floyd bobbled the ball, Chipper Jones moved to third. After Robert Fick walked, Lopez brought home Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones with a single to left, and again, Floyd had trouble fielding the ball cleanly.

This time, Fick moved to third on the error, but Seo got Vinny Castilla to hit into a double play.

"In the back of my mind, I was telling myself to be cautious," Floyd said. "Those plays have to be made."

Sheffield led off the third with a single, then moved to third when Rey Sanchez threw away a double-play grounder hit by Chipper Jones. Sheffield eventually scored on a fielder's choice by Lopez.

"The last couple of weeks, everybody's been coming inside off the plate to me, and I'd been swinging at it," Sheffield said. "I don't know how many balls I hit foul that would have been home runs.

"It was kind of getting frustrating. Truth be told, those pitches weren't strikes. I didn't swing at them tonight, and it helped me really get a good grasp of the strike zone."

In the fifth, Sheffield hit a 410-foot solo shot to left-center off reliever Pedro Feliciano. Chipper Jones singled and later scored on a single by Lopez. Wigginton prolonged the inning by dropping a grounder at third, but Hampton hit into a double play to end the threat.

Game notes
The New York Mets recalled right-handed pitcher Edwin Almonte from Triple-A Norfolk before Friday night's game against the Atlanta Braves. To make room for him, the Mets optioned outfielder Prentice Redman to Norfolk. Almonte pitched the seventh inning and gave up a run on two hits. ... Atlanta 2B Marcus Giles missed his fourth straight start with a concussion but could return to the lineup Saturday. He took batting practice before Friday night's game, then lined out to left as a pinch-hitter in the eighth.