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Spring Training a Pena Family Affair

March 18, 2002

The Atlanta Braves brought Tony Pena Jr. on their road trip so his father could see his son play.

The elder Pena, the bench coach for Houston, watched his son score the tiebreaking run in the 11th inning of Atlanta’s 8-6 win over the Astros on Sunday in Kissimmee, Fla.

``It’s very emotional for me,″ said the elder Pena, who had a long catching career in the majors. ``You see your kid growing up, and he grows up so fast. Then you see him next to these guys. Sometimes you feel like, ’Am I that old?‴

The younger Pena, a 20-year-old shortstop who played last season at Class-A Jamestown, singled and scored on Wilson Betemit’s two-run triple in the 11th.

``It’s good to have the opportunity to come over and play in front of him,″ Tony Jr. said. ``He’s never seen me play that much.″

Elsewhere, Jose Vidro, out since March 1 with a sprained right shoulder, went 1-for-3 with an RBI as a split squad of New York Mets beat Montreal 5-3 in Jupiter, Fla.

Vidro gave the Expos a scare when he jumped for Dickey Gonzalez’s RBI grounder in the third, hit the ground hard on his right shoulder and threw out the runner at first.

``When I landed on my shoulder and had no pain, I knew I was 100 percent,″ Vidro said. ``I was able to swing the bat in the batting cage while my shoulder was recovering, so I wasn’t concerned about hitting.″

At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Al Leiter pitched four innings in his first game in 10 days as the Mets lost a split-squad game to Atlanta.

Leiter allowed a three-run homer to Julio Franco in the first before settling down and throwing three shutout innings. Leiter pulled right hip flexor since his last start and hadn’t pitched in a game for 10 days.

``For me, the next two starts are a matter of me fine-tuning my cutter, feeling comfortable on the mound and be more precise with my pitches as opposed to arm strength,″ Leiter said.

Mo Vaughn and Mike Piazza homered for the Mets.

In other games:

Yankees (ss) 8, Blue Jays (ss) 7

At Tampa, Fla., Derek Jeter drove in the tiebreaking run with an RBI single in the eighth inning as New York came back from five runs down to beat Toronto.

Yankees (ss) 5, Dodgers 4

At Vero Beach, Fla., Todd Greene hit a three-run homer off Jeff Williams in the eighth inning, and Roger Clemens pitched five strong innings for New York.

Indians 5, Pirates 1

At Winter Haven, Fla., Travis Fryman broke out of an extended slump with a home run, and John McDonald returned to the field 18 days after an emergency appendectomy.

Blue Jays (ss) 4, Tigers 2

At Lakeland, Fla., Chad Mottola’s fourth-inning grand slam off Jeff Weaver provided all the runs Toronto needed.

Orioles 8, Rangers 1

At Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Scott Erickson allowed eight hits in six innings and Marty Cordova doubled twice for Baltimore.

Red Sox 2, Phillies 0

At Fort Myers, Fla., Jason Varitek and Lou Merloni hit back-to-back home runs, and Darren Oliver pitched four scoreless innings.

Royals 7, Reds 6

At Sarasota, Fla., Bryan Rekar pitched three solid innings before fading in 84-degree heat, and Kansas City beat Cincinnati.

Twins 7, Devil Rays 4

At St. Petersburg, Fla., David Lamb broke an eighth-inning tie with a two-run double to lead Minnesota.

Marlins 5, Cardinals 2

At Melbourne, Fla., Derrek Lee hit a three-run homer and A.J. Burnett dominated with his new delivery that resembles that of Kevin Brown.

Diamondbacks (ss) 10, Rockies (ss) 9

At Tucson, Ariz., shortstop Tim Olson committed four of Arizona’s 10 errors, but had an RBI single in the ninth to lift the Diamondbacks. Colorado’s Mike Hampton and Arizona’s Randy Johnson both allowed five runs and eight hits in four innings.

Athletics 3, Mariners (ss) 1

At Phoenix, Scott Hatteberg’s third homer in two days _ a two-run shot _ lifted Oakland over Seattle.

Cubs 3, White Sox 0

At Mesa, Ariz., Jon Lieber allowed one hit in six scoreless innings to lead the Cubs.

Rockies (ss) 10, Giants 8

At Scottsdale, Ariz., Larry Walker homered, and Gary Bennett and Juan Uribe each had three hits for Colorado.

Brewers (ss) 22, Mariners (ss) 5

At Peoria, Ariz., Henry Blanco hit a grand slam and Izzy Alcantara went 4-for-6 with three RBIs and three runs scored for Milwaukee.

Angels 7, Brewers (ss) 5

At Phoenix, Scott Spiezio hit a three-run homer to lead Anaheim. Geoff Jenkins and Richie Sexson homered for Milwaukee.

Padres 12, Diamondbacks (ss) 7

At Hermosillo, Mexico, Trenidad Hubbard hit a three-run homer _ one of five for San Diego _ to spark a six-run fourth inning.

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