NEW YORK -- Aaron Heilman frowned at the description that his roller-coaster season seemed like a pitching version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde -- horrible sometimes, sensational sometimes.
That's what he thinks.
Heilman (2-2) lost his first start this season, battered for five runs and eight hits in five innings by the Braves on April 9. Then he pitched a one-hitter against Florida that had Mets people thinking the former No. 1 draft choice had turned the corner. In his next start against the Marlins, though, he lasted just four innings and gave up 11 hits and seven runs. Then came Monday's dominating rematch with the Braves.
"All I can do is go out and pitch my best," he said. "I'm able to learn between starts. I felt I was able to locate my fastball and had better pitch selection. I definitely learned from the first time I faced them."
Manager Willie Randolph liked what he saw.
"He was down in the zone and had really good stuff," Randolph said. "He had good movement on his pitches."
Heilman gave up a run in the first inning when Rafael Furcal, who had three hits, beat out a bunt, stole second and third and scored before the Mets could complete an inning-ending double play. Adam LaRoche's grounder was deflected by Heilman to third baseman David Wright, who threw out LaRoche. Then Brian Jordan, who walked, was cut down trying to advance to third. But Furcal crossed the plate before the play was completed.
Heilman then retired 15 straight batters and it stayed 1-0 until the sixth when Mike Piazza, who broke out of a slump with three hits, doubled home Kaz Matsui with the tying run. Then Cliff Floyd hit his fifth home run of the season, stretching his hitting streak to 12 games.
Floyd was fooled by the swirling Shea Stadium winds.
"I hit the ball good but when I got to first base, I thought I'd better start running," he said. "The wind was all over the place."
His ball carried over the fence for a 3-1 lead. Chris Woodward then singled and Wright ended Horacio Ramirez's night with his fourth home run of the season, making it 5-1.
Atlanta manager Bobby Cox was pleased with Ramirez (1-2).
"He's strong," Cox said. "He threw a lot of strikes. He had Piazza 1-2. He tried to lock him up inside and he threw it down the middle."
"I don't know if it was bad pitch selection because I didn't get it in there," Ramirez said of the pitch to Piazza. "He did what he's supposed to do with it. He hit it hard."
In the eighth, with Roberto Hernandez working in relief of Heilman, Wilson Betemit walked and pinch-hitter Pete Orr hit his first major league home run, cutting the lead to 5-3. After Furcal doubled for his third hit, Hernandez struck out Marcus Giles and Brian Jordan, ending the inning.
After Hernandez pitched the eighth inning, Braden Looper allowed a run on two hits and a two-out error by Wright before finishing for his third save.
Piazza, 1-for-13 on the Mets homestand and batting just .200 for the season, doubled leading off the second and singled in the fourth but was stranded both times. Victor Diaz opened the third with a hit but also was left on base when Matsui, reprimanded for bunting on his own Sunday, bunted again with two outs and was thrown out by Ramirez.
Chipper Jones (bruised left foot) was out of the starting lineup for the Braves and is day to day. ... Furcal's three steals gave him seven for the season. ... Piazza has thrown out just one of 21 runners attempting to steal this season.