<
>

Floyd goes seven, wins debut

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Gavin Floyd sat in the dugout after the
seventh inning, playing back a most-impressive debut in his mind.

And he liked what he saw.

"I'm kind of in awe and happy with the performance I had,"
Floyd said.

So were the rest of the Phillies.

Floyd, the fourth overall pick in the 2001 draft, made the most
of his major league debut, holding the Mets to four hits over seven
innings Friday night to give Philadelphia an 8-1 victory and send
New York to its seventh straight loss.

"Maybe tomorrow I'll realize what happened," Floyd said.

Pat Burrell helped him out, homering in his first game since
Aug. 3, Jason Michaels homered twice and Placido Polanco also
homered for the Phillies, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

Floyd, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound righty, showed the poise of a
veteran, using a nasty curveball to keep the Mets off balance and
never seemed rattled during his few jams. He walked four and struck
out five.

Floyd (1-0) was a noted high-ball pitcher in the minor leagues
and there was some concern about how he would adjust in
hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.

It turned out there was little to worry about, for one game at
least, getting only five flyball outs and three ground-ball double
plays. All three of the double plays wiped out leadoff singles.

Leading 3-1 in the seventh, Floyd got Wilson Delgado to strike
out looking -- again on the curve -- to end a threat. Delgado struck
out three times.

Floyd mixed in a few sliders and fastballs with his
knee-buckling curveballs. Floyd said he's had a great curve since
he was a kid and knew warming up he was bringing his best stuff.

"I got a feel for it and took it into the game," he said.

Floyd's only mistake was a two-out solo homer to Eric Valent in
the third.

"He doesn't let too much bother him," Phillies manager Larry
Bowa said. "He has a pretty good idea of what he wants to do."

The Mets, coming off a 1-10 homestand, have lost 12 of 13.

The Phillies planned to move Floyd through the system slowly and
use him sparingly in September. When fans flooded talk radio this
summer wondering when Floyd would join the rotation, the Phillies
never wavered even when injuries crippled the rotation.

They turned to journeyman Paul Abbott -- with disappointing
results -- and traded for Cory Lidle -- who did little in his first
three starts before tossing a shutout Aug. 29.

The Phillies fell out of the pennant race and when Randy Wolf
went on the disabled list this week, they finally turned to Floyd.

Bowa refused to bite when asked if Floyd should have been
brought up earlier, saying, "That's not my call."

Now, this month could be an audition for Floyd. The Phillies
could use a starter next year with Eric Milton and Kevin Millwood
both eligible for free agency.

Despite the buzz surrounding the start, Floyd was only 25-27 in
the minor leagues and just 7-9 this year in stops at Double-A
Reading and Triple-A Scranton.

In 25 starts between the two levels, the 21-year-old Floyd
pitched 149 2-3 innings, struck out 112 and walked 55.

Floyd admitted to some rookie jitters early -- especially after
leaving over 20 passes for friends and family -- but settled down
after getting Joe Keppinger to ground into a double play in the
second at-bat of the game.

"With a big crowd at home, it could have been tough, but he
made pitches when he had to," said Mets catcher Jason Phillips.

Having some offensive support surely helped.

Michaels staked him to a 1-0 lead in the second with a solo
homer, then Valent tied it in the third.

Burrell gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead in the fourth with a homer
off Heath Bell (0-2), his 24th. He started in left field less than
six weeks after his season appeared over because of a wrist injury.
Burrell also walked twice and scored two runs.

The Phillies erupted for five runs in the seventh, with Michaels
and Polanco each hitting two-run homers. David Bell added a
sacrifice fly.

While one Floyd kept his concentration, another failed to -- Mets
left fielder Cliff Floyd tossed David Bell's ball into the stands
thinking it was the third out. Bell would have scored anyway, but
Mets manager Art Howe called the mental miscue "unacceptable."

"I feel bad about it, but it's a mistake," Floyd said. "That
happens sometimes."

Game notes
Phillies RF Bobby Abreu stole a career-high three bases. He
matched his season high of 36, set in 2001. Abreu also walked for
the 100th time this year, giving him six straight seasons of at
least 100 walks. ... Michaels had his first career multi-homer
game. ... Mets starter Matt Ginter left after one inning with a
sprained right ankle.