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Mets Dump Brewers, Grab First


Robin Ventura and the New York Mets have done little wrong since the All-Star break. That has landed them on top of the NL East.

Ventura went 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs Tuesday night as the New York Mets regained sole possession of first place in the division with a 10-3 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Mets, 15-4 since the break, moved a game in front of the Atlanta Braves, who lost to Pittsburgh 7-1. The Brewers lost their fourth straight game and have dropped nine of 11.

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  • "Star of the league and a guy who is taking the ball right now and running with it," said Valentine, when asked to describe Ventura's recent performance. "I think we've got different guys on the team that can run with the ball and right now he has it and he's doing a great job with it."

    Ventura, who has six homers and 12 RBIs in his last seven games, had RBI singles in the first and third innings and hit his team-high 24th homer for a 6-2 lead in the fifth. He walked in the seventh and added a single in the eighth.

    "Over the course of my career, I've been streaky in that way," Ventura said. "Where, for a long period of time I won't hit a lot of home runs, and then I'll go for a while where I hit them. Usually more in the second half than the first half and I don't know why."

    Orel Hershiser (11-8) allowed three runs in 7 1-3 innings and Mike Piazza hit a three-run homer and drove in four runs for New York.

    Piazza had an RBI groundout in the first and his 23rd home run in the eighth.

    Hershiser allowed six hits, struck out four and walked two. Turk Wendell got a double-play grounder in the eighth and Masato Yoshii, demoted to the bullpen with the arrival of Kenny Rogers from Oakland, retired the side on four pitches in the ninth.

    It was Yoshii's first relief appearance after 49 starts for the Mets.

    Bill Pulsipher (3-2) allowed six runs four earned and nine hits in five innings in his first start against his former team.

    "They've got a heck of a ballclub," Pulsipher said. "It's tough to see (Edgardo) Alfonzo, (John) Olerud, Piazza and Ventura right in a row there. It's a pretty tough lineup."

    The Mets scored twice in the first after loading the bases with no outs. Roger Cedeno and Alfonzo opened with consecutive singles and Olerud was hit by a pitch.

    Piazza bounced to first baseman Mark Loretta who threw to second for the force, allowing Cedeno to score. Piazza was safe when Pulsipher failed to cover first on the relay. Ventura followed with a run-scoring single to make it 2-0.

    Ventura's RBI single in the third made it 3-0, but the Brewers answered in the bottom of the inning. Brian Banks led off with his fourth homer, snapping an 0-for-15 skid, and Jeff Cirillo added a two-out RBI single to make it 3-2.

    New York increased the lead to 5-2 in the fourth on a two-run throwing error by the catcher Banks. Shawon Dunston and Rey Ordonez opened with consecutive singles. After Hershiser struck out, Dunston and Ordonez attempted a double steal on a third strike pitch to Cedeno. Banks threw wildly down the third-base line, allowing both runners to score.

    The Mets added a run in the seventh on Dunston's RBI single.

    Brewers manager Phil Garner said the Mets are much deeper than just Piazza and Ventura.

    "That's not all their ballclub," Garner said. "Their shortstop (Ordonez) is a big part of their ballclub. I think the second baseman (Alfonzo) is a terrific player. He may be their best all-around player. Ventura's a pretty good all-around player. Olerud is a pretty good player. They've got a nice thing going right now. They're all playing very well."

    Notes:

  • The Mets improved to 12-3 overall against Milwaukee, including 7-1 at County Stadium.
  • New York hs won 11 of Hershiser's last 15 starts.
  • Ventura has driven in 35 runs in his last 32 games.
  • Pulsipher was 5-7 in three seasons with the Mets. He was sent to the Brewers at the trading deadline in 1998.
  • Brewers reliever Reggie Harris hit two batters in the sixth.
  • The crowd of 17,669 put Milwaukee over the 1 million mark in its 46th home game, the fastest the Brewers have reached that figure since 1993.
  • Dunston, acquired from St. Louis prior to the trading deadline, was 3-for-4, hit by a pitch and stole two bases. He is 4-for-6 with the Mets.
  • Yoshii was a reliever in Japan before joining the Mets.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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