Piazza has five RBI in first game since May 16


NEW YORK (AP) -- Mike Piazza looked as if he'd never left.

The All-Star catcher homered and drove in five runs in his
long-awaited return to the lineup, propelling the New York Mets to
a 9-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday night.

"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."

Steve Trachsel shut down Barry Bonds and the Giants, but Piazza
was the star of the show.

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 Triple-A 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

"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 RBI. 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

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.

Game 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 Triple-A
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