SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The New York Mets couldn't have asked for much
more than Mike Piazza's grand slam and a triple play in the same
"We're doing a lot of things very well right now," said first
baseman Mo Vaughn, who completed the 5-4-3 triple play that was one
of the big highlights of the Mets' 13-4 rout of the bumbling San
Diego Padres on Friday night. The triple play came in the bottom of the fifth inning. Piazza's
13th career slam, and first since July 18, 2000, highlighted an
eight-run seventh and sent the Mets to their highest score this
year. It was New York's fourth straight win since dropping eight of
nine. New York led the majors with 43 errors coming in, but looked
sharp in turning the triple play, from third baseman Edgardo
Alfonzo to second baseman Roberto Alomar to Vaughn. The situation was perfect. With runners on first and second, catcher Wiki Gonzalez hit a
sharp grounder to Alfonzo, who barely needed to take two steps to
the bag to force Deivi Cruz. "I knew I was in trouble as soon as I saw him catch it,"
Gonzalez said. "I hit the ball very good and he was in the perfect
spot." Alfonzo's throw to Alomar was high and to his left, and he took
an extra moment to make sure he stepped on the bag to force the
onrushing Sean Burroughs before throwing to Vaughn. Gonzalez didn't appear to be running full speed until about
two-thirds of the way to first, when he suddenly picked up the
pace, but it was too late. "It's a great feeling," said Alfonzo, who also had three hits.
"I was so close to third base. If we were playing regular, I would
have just thrown to second base. Robbie was holding on pretty good,
because the throw was not too good." The Padres, who led the majors in errors each of the last two
seasons, committed a season-high five, three by shortstop Cruz. The Mets' .973 fielding percentage was just above Detroit, which
had the worst at .972. It was the ninth triple play in Mets history, and the first
since Aug. 5, 1998, against San Francisco. It was the ninth triple play turned against San Diego, the first
since Tony Gwynn hit into one July 17, 1995, against Cincinnati. The Mets ripped reliever Jason Boyd for the first seven runs --
five earned -- in the eighth, on just two hits and four walks.
Leadoff hitter Roger Cedeno scored twice in the inning, and Boyd
retired just one of his eight batters. Cedeno opened the inning with a walk and was safe at second as
Cruz booted Alomar's grounder. Vaughn walked, and Piazza drove a
1-1 pitch an estimated 410 feet over the center-field fence for a
9-1 lead. It was Piazza's ninth homer this season. "I definitely don't feel like I've been swinging the bat that
well, but in that situation I just wanted to put a good swing out
there," Piazza said. "It was a breaking ball over the plate, and
I didn't try to pull it, fortunately. I just hit it pretty well." The Mets piled it on as Rey Ordonez and pinch-hitter Joe McEwing
had RBI doubles, winning pitcher Steve Trachsel an RBI single and
Cedeno an RBI grounder. The Mets built a 5-1 lead as Alfonzo doubled and scored on
Jeromy Burnitz's single in the second, singled and scored in the
three-run fourth and hit an RBI double in the fifth. Cedeno hit an RBI double in the fourth, and another run scored
on Cruz's bad throw home trying to get Burnitz. "We got what we deserved," Padres manager Bruce Bochy said.
"We had too many mistakes. We were bad in all aspects of the game.
We were horrible tonight." San Diego's D'Angelo Jimenez homered leading off the first, his
second. Burroughs hit a two-run double and Gonzalez an RBI double
in the seventh. Trachsel (3-4) allowed four runs on seven hits in seven innings. San Diego's Jason Middlebrook (0-1), making his first start this
season, allowed five runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He
started for Bobby Jones, who went on the disabled list Wednesday.
The eight runs in the seventh tied the most runs the Mets
have ever scored in a seventh inning. On April 6, the Mets scored
nine runs in the ninth against Atlanta. ... Mets closer Armando
Benitez pitched for the first time since May 8. He cut his index
finger while closing a clubhouse door May 10.