As good as new
Piazza homers, collects five RBIs in first game since MayPosted: Wednesday August 13, 2003 8:51 PM
Updated: Wednesday August 13, 2003 11:55 PM
NEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Piazza looked as if he'd never left.
"I'm glad I kind of downplayed everything and told them not to expect too much," Piazza said. "It feels like spring training. I'm excited to be back."
Playing his first major league game since severely straining his right groin May 16 in San Francisco, he grounded out his first time up, then connected for a two-run shot off rookie Jerome Williams in the third inning.
After Timo Perez popped out of the dugout, drawing laughs from the crowd, Piazza emerged for a curtain call. It was a welcome sight for 31,759 fans, who have endured the last three months of an awful season without a chance to watch the Mets' main attraction.
"Doesn't he do that all the time? I've seen him do it a million times on TV," Mets rookie Jason Phillips said. "I just got to see it from the dugout this time. He's Mike Piazza. He puts people in the seats. That's who they come to see and he delivered tonight."
Piazza, who was in a real groove at the plate before the injury, chased Williams (5-3) with an RBI single in the fourth. He added a two-run single in the seventh off Matt Herges and left for a pinch-runner to a standing ovation.
"It was like he never left. Raking right off the bat," Trachsel said.
The Mets beat the NL West-leading Giants for the second night in a row and fourth time in six tries this season.
Piazza went 3-for-17 (.176) in a five-game minor league rehabilitation assignment with Class AAA Norfolk and said before the game he expected to struggle for a while as he tried to get his timing back.
In fact, he said he was so jittery Tuesday night he could barely sleep.
"I didn't see any changes in his swing," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "He's a born hitter. He may be out of shape, but lacking a few at-bats Piazza is still better than most guys."
His return seemed to lift all of the last-place Mets, who got 13 hits and have won six of nine overall.
Ty Wigginton reached base all five times, going 3-for-3 with two doubles off the wall and two RBIs. Perez had two hits, two steals and two runs scored. Even Trachsel, batting .095 this year, hit a two-out RBI double over the head of right fielder Jose Cruz Jr. in the fifth.
"It's a good start. I don't want to say anything because I don't want to jinx it," Piazza said. "The comfort can go away real quickly."
Trachsel (11-7) allowed two runs and eight hits in 7 2-3 innings.
One night after hitting two homers to reach 650 for his career, Bonds went 1-for-3. He hit a long single to center leading off the fourth but was thrown out by Perez trying to stretch it.
Bonds came out for a pinch-hitter in the eighth, drawing boos from the crowd.
"He got overshadowed tonight," Phillips said.
Wigginton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and also had an RBI double. Joe McEwing added an RBI groundout.
Marquis Grissom drove in two runs for the Giants. Williams lasted just 3 1-3 innings, giving up five runs and seven hits.
Notes: Piazza has 344 homers as a catcher, second on the career list to Carlton Fisk's 351. ... It was Piazza's eighth homer of the season, and first since May 14 at Colorado. ... Mets rookie SS Jose Reyes extended his hitting streak to 13 games and stole his 11th base. He is batting .400 (22-for-55) during the streak. ... The Mets were 4-for-4 on stolen bases. The last time New York had at least four steals in a game was July 16, 1999, at Tampa Bay. ... To make room for Piazza, the Mets optioned OF Jeff Duncan to Class AAA Norfolk. ... Williams hasn't won in five starts since July 12 at Arizona. ... Giants C Benito Santiago was called out for interference when he tried to take out Reyes on a double play in the seventh. ... Trachsel improved to 7-3 lifetime against the Giants.