09/01/2002 8:09 pm ET
Hollins reaches goal vs. Mets
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- It may have taken until Sept. 1, but Dave Hollins accomplished a big goal in Sunday's 9-5 win over the Mets.
"I walked in and said I'm gonna get an average today," said Hollins, who was 0-for-7 entering the game, and hadn't faced a Major League pitcher since April 11. "That was my goal, to get a batting average."
The Phillies recalled Hollins and left-handed pitcher Hector Mercado from Triple-A prior to Sunday's game with the Mets at Shea Stadium.
The hit was a second-inning bounding single off Al Leiter and gave Hollins a .125 mark. It was also his first Major League hit since June 12, 1999, while with Toronto.
"It's a testimony to staying power," said Doug Glanville.
"It's good to see him out there," said Pat Burrell. "I know all the guys are pulling for him."
Three pitches after singling, Hollins jogged home when catcher Todd Pratt sent a Leiter pitch 405 feet out of the park to left. The pair exchanged a "high 10" at home plate that, for a brief moment, called up memories of the 1993 Phillies, when the two played for the NL champions.
Tomas Perez then homered, the seventh time this season that Philadelphia has hit back-to-back homers.
"We have a lot of guys that are unsung heroes," said manager Larry Bowa. "They know their role and lead in the clubhouse. They have helped tremendously. Those guys teach the way to act at the big-league level and are very instrumental in our team's growth."
Speaking of growing up, Brett Myers served as reminder that the year is 2002, not 1993, as the rookie would have been 13 then and a few years removed from Little League baseball.
The baby-faced 22-year-old provided the youth portion of the afternoon. He cruised through the first five innings -- save for a Timo Perez triple and Roberto Alomar RBI groundout in the first -- before allowing three runs in his sixth and final inning. Myers (3-3), who debuted July 24, has soaked up information and isn't close to running out of questions.
"I'll make my rounds asking questions and learning," he said. "It helps me to watch everybody."
The lessons showed in the sixth when he found himself in a bases-loaded, no-out jam with a run already in. Bowa left him in with an 8-2 lead and Myers allowed two more runs on groundouts, but worked out of the trouble spot.
The lead came courtesy of scoring in the first four innings. The Phillies plated two runs in the first and third innings, three in the second and one in the fourth. Leiter lasted two-plus innings, his shortest outing since Sept. 16, 1988, while pitching for the Yankees.
Pratt's mastery of Leiter is pronounced -- he's 6-for-7 against him with two home runs.
"It all started in '92. I took him deep in the first at-bat in Spring Training (when Leiter was with Toronto)," said Pratt. "When I sat out in '96 and got called up in '97, my first game was against the Marlins and I took him deep my first at-bat as well. He's a great pitcher. Seven at-bats don't mean anything. Maybe I just know how to lay off some pitches because I've caught him so much (when they were teammates with the Mets)."
Pratt also doubled off Jeff D'Amico for his third RBI. It scored Placido Polanco, who had walked, and came two pitches after swinging so hard on a pitch that he nearly spun himself into the ground.
Prior to Pratt's double was Hollins getting plunked in the elbow. Considering Hollins' season, this wasn't surprising. He got hit in his first at-bat in the first, though it was ruled a foul. He saw six pitches from Leiter in the first because he was up when Polanco was caught stealing.
"He must have (upset) somebody," said Burrell. "First at-bat he got hit in the hand, but (Polanco) gets thrown out trying to steal. Then he gets a hit. Next at-bat he gets hit in the elbow. It's unbelievable. I'm glad he's not hurt. That's the kind of year it's been for him."
"(Mike) Lieberthal predicted something crazy was going to happen," added Glanville.
The crazy part actually happened one night early this spring, when Hollins slipped on one of his boots that was occupied by a poisonous spider, which didn't appreciate the visit. He missed a significant portion of Spring Training due to complications with the treatment combined with his diabetes, then went on the DL April 12. He went on various rehab assignments with Triple-A Scranton, where he was hit with pitches galore.
Which is why the fact that nothing was broken after the latest brush came as welcome news.
"The fact that it's not broken is probably a change in luck for me," Hollins said.
Glanville, always aware of the situation, became extra concerned when 36-year-old Hollins rounded the bases on Pratt's homer, then went first-to-third on Pratt's double.
"I was just hoping there weren't any spiders lurking in the grass," Glanville said. "You never know where they might spring up from."
Ken Mandel covers the Phillies for MLB.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story
was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.