Matsui: First Contact

The Mets 6-4 victory over the Cardinals and Mike Piazza's 3-run homerun took a back seat yesterday to Kazuo Matsui's first at bats as a New York Met. Though Matsui went 0-2 and was limited to left handed DHing by the lacerated finger injury he suffered last week, he was aggressive at the plate and drilled the ball in his final plate appearance only to have the liner snagged by Bo Hart at second base.

Though Matsui's at bats didn't have any bearing on the game, his timing was surprisingly good, as he lined a couple of balls foul in his first at bat before popping up to first, and he drilled a liner in his second appearance against Jeff Suppan that only a nice play by Bo Hart kept from being Matsui's first hit.

Matsui displayed many of the idiosyncrasies typical of Japanese players, acknowledging the umpire before batting, running hard off the field after being retired, and aggressively attacking pitches early in the count.

The game featured a display of excellent pitching for the first five innings as neither team was able to plate a run, and until the 6th, both teams had been limited to two hits.

Steve Trachsel started for the Mets, pitching three superb innings, allowing just 1 hit and striking out two. Not to be outdone, Grant Roberts solidified his position as a contender for the fifth spot in the rotation, pitching three brilliant innings of his own, striking out 6 and allowing just two hits while allowing neither a run nor a walk.

As good as the Mets pitching was, it was matched by Jeff Suppan and Chris Narveson, who pitched AA ball last season, for five innings as the Mets were unable to get anything going.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Mets offense got going as Ty Wigginton led off with a single and stole second base. With a lefty on the hill and Matsui unable to bat right handed due to his still healing finger, Art Howe sent up Todd Zeile to pinch hit and he promptly delivered an RBI double.

After Jose Reyes delivered a single to send Zeile to third, Mike Piazza crushed a homer deep over the fence in the left field corner plating 3-runs and giving the Mets a 4-0 lead.

After Mike Stanton cruised through the top of the seventh, allowing just a single and subsequently picking the runner off first base, the Mets tagged on two more runs in the bottom of the inning with a little help from the Cardinals defense.

Roger Cedeno leadoff with a walk and stole second base, bringing Jason Phillips to the plate. Phillips, going to the opposite field to move Cedeno to third, hit a grounder to second which kicked off Bo Hart and rolled into shallow right field. The throw home was late as Cedeno scored on the play, and the play at home gave Phillips just enough time to get to second, where he was promptly pinch run for by David Wright. The Mets then played perfect small ball, as Ty Wigginton grounded to second to move Wright to third, and Joe McEwing lifted a sac fly that plated the Mets sixth and final run.

After an uneventful eight inning in which David Weathers threw well allowing just one hit, Jose Diaz came on for the ninth and barely held on as a combination of wildness, poor fielding, and a long ball made the game closer than it should've been. After a leadoff single and a wild pitch and a passed ball, Diaz started to struggle, walking a batter, getting saved when David Wright and Wayne Lydon both snagged linedrives that had been ripped, and the hitting a batter to put runners on first and third with two outs and one run in on the sac fly liner snagged by Lydon. Emil Brown then made it a game by hitting one out and bringing the score to the eventual final 6-4.

Scene Of The Crime

Eric Vidal of Port St. Lucie filed an official police report Monday alleging simple battery in the incident in which Karim Garcia and Shane Spencer made some piss-poor decisions outside of Duffy's Sports Bar and Big Apple Pizza last week. Below is a picture of the parking lot in question.

PHOTOS: Reyes, Piazza, Phillips(2), J. Diaz, Huber, Jacobs, Reyes(2), Redman, Wilson, Matsui(6), Reyes(2), Floyd, Wigginton, Floyd, Jacobs, Cameron, Cedeno, Trachsel(2), Phillips(2), Reyes(2), Roberts, McEwing, Reyes, Piazza(4), Roberts, Phillips(2), Wilson, Franco, Jacobs, Moreno, Jacobs, Lydon, Jacobs, Stanton/Wilson, Perez, Stanton, Redman(2), Stanton, Piazza, Stanton(2), Phillips, Basak, Ring, Wright(5), Wilson, Hietpas, D. Garcia, Diaz, Wright, Diaz, Wright, Diaz(2), Brazell, Diaz, Team, Lydon(2), Redman, Duffys/BigApplePizza

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