With our expectations low for yesterday's doubleheader against the Braves, the Mets pulled out a 9-7 (box score) win in the first game of the twi-night doubleheader.

Aaron Heilman picked up his first win of the season in game one in six innings of work. Heilman gave up four runs and the Mets offense came alive to take the lead in the sixth inning.

In game two, the Mets didn't fare quite as well. Paul Byrd pitched well, making only one mistake in the first inning, giving up a home run to Mike Cameron. Byrd went on to pitch eight innings, giving up seven hits and no walks in the 7-1 win (box score).

In managerial news, the Daily News reported yesterday that Art Howe would be fired on October 3rd, when the Mets finally end this ugly season. They cite a team meeting Friday where Fred Wilpon, the Mets owner, finally agreed that Howe had to go. It is thought that Wilpon has been reluctant to fire Howe because $4.7 million would have to be paid through 2006. For his part, Howe would prefer to go sooner than later.

Some names in the mix include Lou Piniella, Larry Bowa, and Tony LaRussa but all have potential problems. Piniella may not want to leave the friendly confines of Florida and Tampa Bay's GM might demand a high price. Bowa is still the manager of the Phillies, but is expected to be fired at the end of the season. Do the Mets need someone like Bowa who was unable to make the playoffs on Philadelphia? And LaRussa's contract is up soon, but why would anyone want to leave a great job like the one with the Cardinals to join the Mets? Perhaps they will just promote Don Baylor, the hitting coach. The problem there is that the Mets can't really hit either.

For those that are interested, tomorrow is Smallville T-shirt night at Shea. The first 25,000 fans get a free shirt. The Mets marketing department should amend that to read "all 25,000 fans get free T-shirts and the rest will be donated to charities."