Inside Pitch: Back at home - briefly

The schedule makers gave the Mets only three home games between Aug. 22 and Sept. 12. Those come Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday against Philadelphia.

The Mets and Phillies are among the five teams in contention for the National League wild card. With 32 games left to play, any of the five have a shot.

"These games are big for a couple of reasons," 3B David Wright said. "We're competing with Philadelphia, we're at home and then we go on a long road trip."

The Mets are 40-25 at home and 8-4 against the Phillies this season.

"I'm not sure why that is. I just know we've played well against them," manager Willie Randolph said. "But every series is different."

The pitching rotation is set up well for the series as the Mets have RHP Jae Weong Seo (6-1, 1.30), RHP Pedro Martinez (13-5, 2.77) and LHP Tom Glavine (10-11, 4.06) scheduled to start.


-- The Mets were unsure what to do with Steve Trachsel when he came off the disabled list earlier this week.

The initial plan was to use him out of the bullpen, an idea that made the veteran right-hander angry considering he had had worked diligently since March to return from back surgery.

Then it was decided to push Kris Benson back two days and start Trachsel against the San Francisco Giants last night.

Trachsel proved his point, throwing eight shutout innings as the rise of the Mets continued with a 1-0 victory before a crowd of 39,591 at SBC Park.

In his first appearance against a big-league team in 11 months, Trachsel carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He allowed two singles, two walks and struck out six.

"It's hard to believe that a guy making his first start would be so sharp," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "You do not find a guy throwing eight innings on his first start."

-- LHP Tom Glavine needs one more out to trigger a clause in his contract that will guarantee him $8 million for next season. Under the terms of the deal he signed before the 2003 season, Glavine needed to pitch 560 innings over the first three seasons to earn a fourth season. He is at 559 2/3 after pitching six innings Saturday at San Francisco. If Glavine gets to 580 innings, he'll earn another $1 million. The clause tops out at $10 million for 600 innings.

-- RHP Danny Graves isn't ready to give up baseball quite yet. Graves threatened to retire when he was designated for assignment on Tuesday. But after clearing waivers Friday he accepted an assignment to Triple-A Norfolk.

The Mets have had problems winning on the road all season. One trip to Arizona cured things.

RHP Pedro Martinez lasted only six innings but picked up his first victory in a month as the Mets finished off an enjoyable trip to Bank One Ballpark with a 3-1 victory.

Rookie Victor Diaz homered and drove in two runs for the Mets, who capped their first four-game road sweep since Sept. 6-9, 2002 against Philadelphia. The Mets outscored the Diamondbacks 39-7 in the series.

-- Martinez had six strikeouts, giving him 2,835 for his career. That moved him past Mickey Lolich into 15th place on the all-time list.

-- Rookie Mike Jacobs set a major league record by hitting four homers in his first four major league games. "I must be sleeping with angels. This is the greatest thing ever," the 24-year-old first baseman said. "I never expected anything remotely like this to happen." Jacobs has been using a 32-ounce maple model he borrowed from Victor Diaz. "The airline lost my bats when I got called up," Jacobs said. "I used one of Cliff Floyd's, then I broke it. Then I borrowed one from Victor."

-- SS Jose Reyes hit three home runs over his first 519 at-bats of the season. Then suddenly he hit three in a span of 22 at-bats. His sixth of the season came on Wednesday. "I think it's because I'm swinging at better pitches now," Reyes said. "I'm making better contact." Reyes doesn't mind the home runs. But he'd rather the ball hit off the fence so he can leg out a triple.

-- C Mike Piazza, while on the disabled list, is with the team on its road trip. He said the broken bone in his left hand has started to heal. "I'm getting closer, a lot closer," he said. "I'm getting to the point of being ready to play. I want to get in there and be a part of what is going on with the team. It's exciting." Piazza is eligible to come off the disabled list on Wednesday.

BY THE NUMBERS: 21 -- Starts over the last three seasons in which LHP Tom Glavine has allowed two or fewer runs over six or more innings and has not gotten a win.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "That kid hit the ball a long ways. The fan that threw the ball back probably has a sore arm. It was so far up in the stands there was probably a relay." -- Giants manager Felipe Alou on David Wright's 426-foot home run on Friday at SBC Park.

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