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Floyd hits grand slam, Mets win third straight

5/15/2004

HOUSTON (AP) -- Cliff Floyd didn't believe he could hit Roy
Oswalt's fastball, so he waited for a curveball that he knew would
come. His patience paid off.

Floyd hit a grand slam in the third inning Friday night, helping
the New York Mets to an 8-3 victory over the Houston Astros and
only their second three-game winning streak this season.

"He had blown me away in my first at-bat with fastballs so I
told myself that he could have that 97 mph fastball. I was waiting
for a curve," Floyd said. "I know that he likes his curveball and
that he was going to throw it. It was just a matter of when and if
he hung it. He made a mistake and hung it."

Floyd, activated Thursday from the disabled list, said his
timing was off and he had to make adjustments in his swing. He had
been sidelined since April 11 with a strained right quadriceps.

"You can ask anyone who has been out two or three weeks, and
they will tell you that you are going to off for a while," he
said. "I knew I couldn't hit his fastball, so I had to make
adjustments. This game is about adjustments."

Floyd's fourth career grand slam and his second home run of the
season helped the Mets win for the eighth time in 12 games.

"We're playing good baseball. Just about everybody is
contributing in some fashion," New York manager Art Howe said.
"Everybody in the bullpen is stepping up, we are getting hits when
we have to have them and we are making plays on defense."

Mike Piazza also homered for New York, his seventh of the
season.

Steve Trachsel (4-3) allowed three runs and five hits in six
innings, and Ricky Bottalico and Orber Moreno combined for one-hit
relief.

"Cliff's home run allowed me to go out there and be a little
more aggressive and catch more of the plate early in the count,"
Trachsel said. "My curveball was pretty good tonight, and I got
some key outs on changeups away."

Oswalt (2-2) struck out seven in seven innings, giving up five
runs and seven hits as Houston lost its third straight. It was the
first time in his career he allowed a grand slam.

"I tried to throw him a curveball for a strike. Normally on
1-and-0 they won't go for that pitch," Oswalt said. "But I left
it over the plate. I think I was overthrowing my curve. My curve
was going about 74 to 75 (mph). It's a lot better at 69 to 70."

Craig Biggio hit his eighth homer of the season for the Astros.

Floyd's slam, which put New York ahead 5-1 followed one-out
singles by Trachsel, Eric Valent and Kazuo Matsui. Oswalt then
retired 13 of his last 17 batters.

Piazza hit a solo homer in the second. Floyd also doubled in the
eighth and scored on Ty Wigginton's grounder, and Joe McEwing and
Matsui added RBI doubles in the ninth against Brandon Backe.

Raul Chavez hit a tying RBI single in the second, and the Astros
got a pair of runs in the fifth on Oswalt's sacrifice fly and
Biggio homer, which stopped an 0-for-12 slide.

Game notes
New York's longest winning streak is four (one against San
Diego and three over San Francisco). ... Trachsel is 6-for-20 at
the plate in his first eight games this season ... He has allowed
three runs or fewer in seven starts. ... Adam Everett leads the NL
with five bunt singles ... Houston allowed its second slam -- the
other was by Jim Edmonds of St. Louis on April 21.