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Matsui, Bench Key Amazing Win

Mike SteffanosFriday, April 21, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

Mets 7 - Padres 2

Kaz Matsui opened up this season as he has in both of his previous seasons, with a home run in his first at bat. His inside-the-park homer leading off the third inning tied him with Ken Griffey, Jr. as the only major-leaguer to hit a home run in his first at bat of the season 3 years in a row.

Unfortunately it proved to be the only offense the Mets could muster against Jake Peavy in the seven innings that he pitched. Meanwhile, Steve Trachsel rebounded from his awful performance against the Brewers Saturday and gave the Mets 6 strong innings before weakening in the seventh. Trachsel left the game after allowing the first two batters to get on base. When Chad Bradford allowed an infield single to load the bases with none out and the Mets already trailing 2-1, it looked really dire. Feliciano came in and got a big out on an outstanding play on a foul pop by Delgado. Duaner Sanchez came in to face PH Eric Young looking for a ground ball and got it -- although it took a diving stop by David Wright and a magnificent turn by Kaz Matsui, along with a favorable call from the first base umpire to escape the inning.

The Padres brought in Scott Linebrink, their lights-out setup man, to get through the eighth and get the game to Trevor Hoffman. Xavier Nady lead off by smashing a 2-strike double down the left field line. Kaz Matsui failed to move him to third when he grounded out to Vinny Castillo at 3B. The sad part of this was that, despite home run and the great turn on the double play in the previous inning, he probably would have got booed for that if they were in New York. Julio Franco picked him up by hitting an opposite field home run to put the Mets up 3-2 -- in the process becoming the oldest major league ballplayer to ever hit a home run.

That home run awoke the slumbering Mets offense. Jose Reyes followed with a hit, stole second and went to third on Lo Duca's long flyout. The Padres brought in Alan Embree to face Endy Chavez -- who had replaced Beltran earlier. Chavez foiled that move with a beautiful drag bunt single that scored Reyes. Delgado hit a 2-run homer to make it 6-2, and then Floyd singled in Wright for the Mets final run.

Things started going so well at that point that, before it was over, Jose Valentin managed his first hit of the year pinch hitting for Aaron Heilman in the ninth, and Jorge Julio pitched a 1-2-3 ninth with a pair of Ks to nail it down.

You can't make this stuff up, folks. Franco bailed out the Mets tonight, Matsui had one of his finest games as a Met, and the team ended their first losing streak of the year in style.

Brian Bannister squares off with Woody Williams tomorrow night at 10:05 ET.

Box Score

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