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Piazza, Nomo Deliver, But Mets Falter


Eric Karros thought back to some of Hideo Nomo's previous starts, then thought about the big hits of the night and pondered what might have been.
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  • "(Mike) Piazza, Mondy and myself hitting home runs and the Dodgers winning. You wouldn't expect two of those guys to be on another team," he said, including Nomo in the group.

    Yes, times have changed for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Nomo and Piazza came up big against their former team, leaving the Mets in position for an emotional win. But Mondesi and Karros changed that real fast.

    Mondesi's second homer of the game tied the score in the seventh, and Karros hit a tiebreaking two-run shot later in the inning as Los Angeles rallied Monday for an emotional 8-5 victory over New York.

    "Everybody's excited," Mondesi said after the seventh two-homer game of his career helped overcome a four-run deficit. "Everybody feels like we're going to make the playoffs."

    Nomo, 3-1 for the Mets following a 2-7 start for Los Angeles, left with a 5-2 lead in the seventh but was undone when shortstop Rey Ordonez threw Eric Young's easy one-out, double-play grounder into right field for an error.

    Mark Grudzielanek followed with a sacrifice fly, and Mondesi connected off Greg McMichael (2-4) for his 25th home, a drive that hit the top of the center-field fence and then bounced off the speakers just behind the wall.

    Gary Sheffield singled, and Karros also homered off McMichael, who faced eight batters and allowed five hits.

    "We had a lead and just didn't nail it down," Piazza said.

    Just 1-for-11 in the series coming in, Piazza had an RBI single in the first and a two-run homer in the fifth. Los Angeles traded him to Florida in May, about two months after the team refused to give him a $100 million-plus contract extension, and the Marlins sent him to the Mets a week later.

    Nomo, who had won three consecutive starts, allowed two runs and three hits in six innings and helped himself with an RBI single. He struck out six and walked two in his first start against his former team.

    Asked whether it was just another game, Nomo replied testily: "There's really no answer to that."

    He then walked away without taking more questions.

    Dave Mlicki (6-5), traded by the Mets in the Nomo deal, improved to 5-1 for Los Angeles. He gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings.

    "We were here for four days, so I had a chance to say hi and bye to everyone," he said. "I tried not to make a big deal about it."

    Run-scoring singles by Piazza and Brian McRae put New York ahead in the first. Grudzielanek, acquired Friday from Montreal, singled home a run in the third -- his first RBI for Los Angeles -- but Nomo made it 3-1 with his fourth-inning single.

    Piazza's 19th homer made it 5-1. Mondesi's first homer was a solo shot off Nomo in the sixth.

    Willie Blair, obtained by New York from Arizona on Friday, made his Mets debut in the eighth and allowed a sacrifice fly to Young after Trenidad Hubbard's triple.

    Jeff Shaw pitched the ninth for Los Angeles, getting his 33rd save in 39 chances by retiring John Olerud and Piazza with two on to end it.

    While it was just another game, there was a feeling this was something bigger. Whichever team won, it would be emotional. And it would mean a two-game swing for each team in the wild-card race.

    While the Dodgers played it up after gaining the split, the Mets played it down.

    "Every game," Piazza said, "bothers me when we lose."

    Notes

  • The Mets protested their 4-3 loss Friday, arguing the Dodgers had 26 players on their active roster. Los Angeles juggled its team just before the game to prepare for its trade with Montreal and did not list Young, who was activated from the disabled list, on the official lineup card, the Mets claimed.
  • Todd Hundley allowed Sheffield's fly ball to drop in left field the second inning, his fourth error since returning from elbow surgery last month and moving to the outfield. When Hundley made a running catch to end the fourth, fans responded with a standing ovation, and he twice doffed his cap running to the dugout. He popped out with two outs and two on in the seventh.
  • The Dodgers have either tid the score or taken the lead with 26 of their last 49 homers.

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