Offense? Mets Win 9-6 in Colorado

At least for one night, the New York Mets exorcised the evil spirits from one of their foreign houses of horrors, as they won the opener of their road trip, with a 9-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Monday evening in Coors Field in Denver. Their starting pitcher, long suffering Steve Trachsel (1-2) finally won a game, with Cliff Floyd and Ty Wigginton providing the timely hits.

For the most part of the past two seasons, the New York Mets have not played a winning brand of baseball, but this game was different. They took advantage of fresh-faced Jason Young (0-1), who was making his major league debut in a place where pitchers usually go to die. Just ask Mike Hampton. The Ex-Stanford Cardinal was light-years away from Palo Alto, however, as he pitched deliberately, and indeed had a 3-1 lead at one point in the game.

It all came unravelled for young Jason in the 5th inning when the Mets plated four runs and took the lead for good. Cliff Floyd was the main culprit as he blasted his sixth homerun of the year with Tony Clark and Mike Piazza on base, giving the Mets a 5-3 lead. They would never relinquish this advantage. Roberto Alomar also hit his second homer in the inning for New York.

Steve Trachsel, meanwhile did what he has done all season, only this time Lady Luck was on his side. He gave his usual blue collar performance; nothing great, but workman-like. His ledger read: Six innings pitched, four runs allowed on seven hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He saw his lead sliced to a single run, 5-4 in the fifth when Ex-Met Preston Wilson doubled in Todd Helton. Wilson previously had hit a mammoth homerun off Trachsel in the fourth.

In the Mets' seventh, it was Ty Wigginton's turn to play hero. Rockies reliever Justin Speier hit both Piazza and Timo Perez with pitches to load the bases with one out. Wigginton quickly wiped the ducks off the pond as he tripled, bringing home the three mallards and boosting the New York lead to 8-4. Joe McEwing's single brought home Wigginton and the Mets had a five-run cushion.

The Rockies threatened one last time in the bottom of the seventh. Mets reliever Mike Stanton allowed a run-scoring single by Jose Hernandez with two outs, and an error by David Weathers gave Colorado a second run, as they narrowed the gap to 9-6. Weathers retired pinch hitter Greg Norton and brought an end to the Rockies rally.

Aussie Graeme Lloyd set the table for closer Armando Benitez as he recorded the final two outs in the eighth, and Armando pitched an uncharacteristic flawless frame in the ninth, putting down the Rockies 1-2-3 for his 12th save of the season. The storms of April have vanished in May for Benitez, and he has been nearly perfect for the month.

The victory was the third straight for the Mets and the nine runs matched their highest output thus far this season. Their record improved to 6-11 on the road, and 17-21 overall. Game two at Coors Field on Tuesday will see Tom Glavine (4-3) opposing the young upstart Shawn Chacon (4-2) for Colorado. Of course pitching usually has little to say when the lights go on in that pinball machine called Coors Field… The Mets won't care as long as they score enough free plays and the "tilt" sign fails to flash, as all they want to do is to get out of Denver in one piece with their sanity intact.


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