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METS BLOW FOUR-RUN LEAD, MAY LOSE PIAZZA FOR SEASON

The Mets lost another game on Tuesday night, and maybe they've lost their All-Star catcher for the rest of the season.

Mike Piazza will miss at least six weeks and possibly the rest of the year after tearing his right groin muscle last week.

Piazza saw Mets team physician Dr. Andrew Rokito who said the All-Star catcher had a Grade 3 strain -- the most serious kind -- where the muscle is partially torn off the bone. Piazza will not need surgery.

"Six weeks is certainly the low end of it," Mets General Manager Steve Phillips said. "It's hard to pinpoint beyond that."

When asked if the injury could be season-ending, Phillips said, "It's possible. We don't know. We're leaving it as an indefinite period of time. We can't pinpoint it. It depends on the symptoms and the rehab process."

Piazza hurt himself Friday night in San Francisco trying to avoid an inside pitch from San Francisco's Jason Schmidt.

Piazza was the Mets' leading hitter, batting .333 with a team-leading seven homers and 15 RBIs. After a slow start, he found his groove before the injury, hitting .500 (12 for 24) with four homers and nine RBIs in his last seven games.

"I've always been able to bounce back," he said. "I'm a reasonably good healer. . . . I'm always optimistic. I'm not looking at this as being the end."

On the field, Pat Burrell got Philadelphia going with a solo homer in the sixth and a tying shot in a seven-run seventh as the Phillies rallied from four runs down to beat the Mets, 11-7.

The Phillies trailed, 4-0, but Burrell hit a sixth-inning homer against Jae Seo and a three-run drive in the seventh against David Weathers. Philadelphia then broke it open against the Mets' struggling bullpen in the seventh to win for the fourth time in five games.

Burrell broke out of a 1-for-17 slump with the homers in his final two at-bats, giving him 10 in Shea Stadium and 19 in 176 career at-bats against the Mets. Those are his best numbers against any opponent.

"I don't know what it is," Burrell said. "I just feel comfortable here. It's a good background to see the ball."

Junior powers Reds' win

CINCINNATI -- Ken Griffey Jr. homered for the first time since returning from a dislocated shoulder and Jason LaRue hit a tiebreaking two-run shot that rallied the Cincinnati Reds to a 9-8 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

"It's every day," Reds manager Bob Boone said. "We keep clawing back. We never hang our heads, which is easy to do in that situation."

The Reds blew a 7-2 lead before LaRue connected in the eighth off Roberto Hernandez (3-1) for yet another late win. Eleven of the Reds' 22 wins have come in the last at-bat.

Vinny Castilla hit a pair of homers, including a three-run shot off Scott Sullivan (5-0) that tied it in the eighth.

Scott Williamson gave up a solo homer to Rafael Furcal in the ninth before finishing it off for his 11th save in 12 chances.

The late innings usually belong to the Reds, who have gotten 11 of their 23 wins in their last at-bat.

"It's kind of weird," said Cincinnati's Austin Kearns, who had four RBIs. "It seems like it's somebody different every night. I don't think any of us was surprised by it because we've been doing it all year."

Around the horn

Wade Miller hit a two-run double and allowed three hits over seven innings to lead the Astros over the Cardinals, 3-2. Adam Everett drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning, helping send St. Louis to its ninth loss in 14 games. . . . Brian Schneider homered and Orlando Cabrera hit a two-run double to key a four-run fourth inning, leading the Expos over the Marlins, 6-4. Javier Vazquez (4-2) won for the first time in five starts since April 24. . . . John Vander Wal homered in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Brewers an 8-7 victory over San Diego, sending the Padres to their season-high seventh consecutive loss. . . . Barry Bonds homered and Kirk Rueter threw seven scoreless innings as the Giants held off the Diamondbacks, 6-5. . . . Kevin Brown allowed three hits in seven innings, and Adrian Beltre's tiebreaking two-run single in the seventh sent the Dodgers past the Rockies, 3-1. L.A. moved to a season-high five games over .500.

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