Adam LaRoche got his first two hits in the first game of his big league career during an 11-run inning, helping Atlanta beat the New York Mets 18-10 Wednesday night.
Johnny Estrada and pinch-hitter Julio Franco also had two hits in the fourth — the biggest inning for the Braves since they scored a team-record 13 runs against Houston on Sept. 20, 1972. LaRoche also got his first RBI.
“That was an amazing inning,” Franco said. “Every ball fell into place, everything they threw we hit. It was just one of those nights.”
It’s the fourth time the Mets have allowed that many runs in an inning, and the first since April 1, 1997, against San Diego.
Chipper Jones added a two-run homer as Atlanta bounced back from
a 7-2 loss a night earlier in the season opener for both teams.
Every starter for the Braves had a hit except Rafael Furcal, who
The 18 runs were the most for Atlanta since it scored 20 against
the Florida Marlins on Oct. 5, 2001.
“Here I go, saying we couldn’t beat teams 18-10 with this team,
and right out of the box we do that,” Jones said.
In 2003, the Braves led the NL in every major hitting category
on their way to their 12th straight division title: batting average
(.284), homers (a franchise-record 235) and runs (907, another club
mark). Four players reached 100 RBI, and six had 20 homers.
But Gary Sheffield and Javy Lopez signed free-agent deals with
other teams, and Atlanta also lost Vinny Castilla and Robert Fick.
LaRoche, Estrada and Mark DeRosa are regulars for the first time,
and those three finished 8-for-13 with two RBI and nine runs
Kevin Gryboski (1-0) pitched a perfect fifth for the win.
The Mets took a 6-0 lead through three innings against Atlanta
starter Mike Hampton. The Braves rallied with three runs in the
third on a run-scoring single by Marcus Giles and the two-run shot
by Jones, then took the lead for good an inning later.
The first five batters reached against Steve Trachsel (0-1),
including Franco’s pinch-hit single that drove in two runs. Grant
Roberts relieved Trachsel and gave up five runs on three hits while
getting only two outs.
“It felt like that inning would never end, and I’m sure it felt
that way to them,” Jones said. “We found a lot of holes.”
Piazza hit a two-run homer in the first and Cameron followed
with a solo shot to give the Mets a 3-0 lead. They added two in the
second on RBI singles by Cliff Floyd and Piazza, then made it 6-0
with an unearned run in the third.
“We got down 6-0 before we even really started,” Atlanta
manager Bobby Cox said. “Hampton just didn’t have his location.”
Karim Garcia hit a two-run homer in the ninth for New York.