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Turner retrieves home run ball

New York Mets second baseman Justin Turner (2)

New York Mets second baseman Justin Turner (2) is celebrates with teammates after beating the Houston Astros. (May 15, 2011) Credit: AP

HOUSTON -- It's a common practice in baseball for teams to try to recover a player's first major-league home run ball when it ends up in the hands of a fan. Usually, the fan asks for something in return, such as a signed bat or ball.

So after Mets second baseman Justin Turner's initial big-league blast in the sixth inning of Sunday's 7-4 win over the Astros cleared the leftfield fence at Minute Maid Park, new Mets clubhouse manager Kevin Kierst set out to retrieve it.

The ball was caught by a male fan in the back of the leftfield box seats. That fan then gave it to two little girls.

The girls' parents did not drive a hard bargain. All they asked for was a ball for each girl. Not signed by anyone. Just two regular baseballs for a keepsake Turner will have for the rest of his life.

"It'll probably go home to my parents' house," he said. "My dad has a pretty good collection of stuff like that."

The ease with which Kierst got the home run ball stands in contrast to what happened when former Met Chris Carter hit his first homer last June 11 in Baltimore.

The fan who caught it was offered autographed balls from several Mets, including Jose Reyes, David Wright and Francisco Rodriguez, plus an autographed bat from Carter. But when he asked the Mets to get him autographs from his favorite Orioles, too, the Mets told him to keep it -- or words to that effect.

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