Johnson's two homers help Braves beat Mets


• Summary: Trailing 6-3 in the seventh inning, the Braves used a three-run homer by Edgar Renteria to tie the game and then a three-run home run by Kelly Johnson in the eighth to stun the Mets.


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• Hero: Johnson hit two homers to help the Braves win their second series against the Mets.

• Goats: The Mets' bullpen coughed up a three-run lead as Scott Schoeneweis and Aaron Heilman allowed crushing home runs.

• Figure this: Bobby Cox was ejected in the sixth inning for arguing balls and strikes. It was Cox's 127th

ejection, four behind John McGraw's record.

• Quotable: "That was one of the most exciting ones I've seen between the

Braves and the Mets." -- Johnson

• Elias Says: Tom Glavine has now allowed a home run to the first batter of the game in each of his last two home appearances. In 80 career regular-season starts at Shea Stadium prior to that, Glavine had allowed only one home run to lead off the first inning.

-- news services

Braves 9, Mets 6

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kelly Johnson stood in front of his locker,

wrapped in just a towel, his eyes bright with excitement.

"That was one of the most exciting ones I've seen between the

Braves and the Mets," he said. "It's only April. And if that's

something to look forward to for the rest of the year, it could be

pretty exciting. I have a feeling that we're going to change hands

at the top of the division many more times."

Johnson homered on Tom Glavine's first pitch of the game, then

hit a tiebreaking, three-run drive off Aaron Heilman in the eighth

inning. The first multihomer game of his career sent Atlanta to a

9-6 victory over New York on Sunday, and for the second time in

three weekends the Braves took two of three from the Mets.

A sellout crowd of 55,671 came out on a sunny spring afternoon

to watch Glavine face John Smoltz, his golfing buddy and former

teammate. What was a pitcher's duel through five innings turned

into a battle of bats. Jose Reyes' three-run triple in the sixth

put Glavine and the Mets ahead, but Edgar Renteria erased a 6-3

deficit in the seventh with a three-run homer off Scott Schoeneweis.

Johnson went 3-for-4, making him 13-for-25 (.520) for the week -- and that included an 0-for-4 performance Saturday in which he

struck out four times against Oliver Perez, an afternoon that left

him wondering whether he would be in Sunday's lineup.

"I was happy to see my name up there, that's for sure,"

Johnson said. "I wasn't entirely expecting it."

After three weeks, the first-place Braves (12-6) have a

half-game lead in the NL East over the Mets (11-6), who last year

ended Atlanta's run of consecutive division titles at 14.

"I don't think it's too early for any kind of signature win,"

Smoltz said. "We were going to lose this game. For all the ways

they scored in the sixth inning, it just looked like it was too

much for us to come back. And for us to come back and win this game

was just a tribute to everybody's effort to not give in and not

give up."

Chipper Jones wouldn't go that far.

"Smoltzie plays once every fifth day," he said. "It's a nice

win, don't get me wrong. A signature win? Possibly. Maybe later on,

down the road, you look back and say it was."

When Reyes tripled, it appeared Glavine was on the way to

victory No. 294.

"I don't know if the sting you feel is shock or disappointment

over not winning the game," Glavine said. "I think anytime you

have a game like that, it hurts."

Glavine allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings, while

Smoltz gave up six runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings. Their

competitiveness showed in the fifth, when Glavine hit a bouncer

near the third-base line. Smoltz sprinted off the mound, made a

barehanded pickup and an off-balance throw just before crossing

into foul territory to retire Glavine at first.

"It's probably my best play, ever," Smoltz said.

Glavine shot his friend a look as he walked back to the dugout,

muttered to himself, smiled and looked at Smoltz again.

"I was mad at him, that he made it, but I wasn't surprised,"

Glavine said.

Johnson's first homer was offset by Shawn Green's fifth-inning

shot. Jeff Francoeur's two-run single in the sixth put Atlanta

ahead 3-1.

Singles by Carlos Delgado and Moises Alou and a one-out walk to

Green loaded the bases in the bottom half. Atlanta manager Bobby

Cox was ejected for arguing ball four to Green. It was Cox's 127th

ejection, four behind John McGraw's record, according to the


Jose Valentin then dumped a single into short left to drive in a

run, Reyes tripled with two outs for a 5-3 lead and Paul Lo Duca

chased Smoltz with an RBI single.

But with two outs and none on in the bottom half, pinch-hitter

Scott Thorman hit a catchable drive to right against Ambiorix

Burgos that Green jumped for and allowed to tick off his glove for

a double.

"It's frustrating, a play that you know you're capable of

making and have it go off the glove and come back to haunt the

team," Green said.

Schoeneweis walked Johnson and allowed Renteria's homer.

"You could just see kind of the air being sucked out a little

bit from the Mets," Smoltz said.

Francoeur began the eighth with a soft liner off the end of his

bat that handcuffed Valentin. The second baseman let it fall, and

it spun past him for an error that would make all the runs in the

inning unearned.

Heilman (1-2) hit Craig Wilson with a pitch, and Johnson homered

into the right-field bullpen with two outs.

Ex-Met Tyler Yates (1-0) pitched a perfect seventh, Rafael

Soriano retired Lo Duca with two on to end the eighth and Bob

Wickman retired Green on a grounder with two in the ninth for his

sixth save in six chances.

"These are the games you're probably going to need late in the

year," Valentin said. "You can't afford to lose games like


Game notes
Mets 3B David Wright was 0-for-4 with two called strikeouts

and is hitless in 12 at-bats following a 26-game hitting streak

that dated to last year. ... Atlanta's Brian McCann was hit on his

left ring finger and pinkie while trying to bunt against Pedro Feliciano in the ninth. X-rays were negative.