ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Tony La Russa was too concerned about Mike
Piazza to celebrate the St. Louis Cardinals' latest victory.
Piazza was hit in the head by Julian Tavarez's pitch in the
eighth inning of the Cardinals' 4-2 victory over the New York Mets
on Saturday night. Piazza was activated from the disabled list
"My whole concentration on the game is affected by a pitch that
got away," the Cardinals' manager said. "The guy is a great pro.
I just talked to Julian for a long time. Nothing against him, the
ball has to get down."
Piazza had hoped to revive the Mets by returning to the lineup
for the first time since he broke a bone in his left hand on Aug.
16. He homered in his first at-bat, putting New York ahead 1-0 in
the second inning.
But in the eighth, the 12-time All-Star fell to the ground after
he was beaned by Tavarez. Piazza was laid out flat for several
seconds, then sat up before walking off the field.
Tavarez said he didn't hit Piazza on purpose.
"It got away from my hand and I hit him," he said. "I've got
nothing against that guy."
Piazza was not sure if the pitch was intentional.
"I don't want to get into that," he said.
The Cardinals' David Eckstein was hit on the thigh by Aaron
Heilman in the eighth.
Cardinals starter Jeff Suppan won his 14th game and hit his
first career home run to lead the Cardinals over the fading Mets,
who have dropped a season-high six straight games. The Mets have
lost 10 of 11, fading from contention in the wild-card race.
Suppan (14-10) allowed one run, six hits and four walks in 5 2/3
innings as St. Louis improved to a season-high 39 games over .500.
He homered leading off the third, a drive to left off Steve
Trachsel that came on Suppan's 188th career at-bat.
"It's funny, because when I hit it I just tried to run as hard
as I could and I don't really remember too much," Suppan said.
Suppan said he didn't have his best stuff and credited the
Cardinals' bullpen. Six relievers limited New York to one run.
"I had a real tough time," he said. "My slider was off the
plate a lot. And I wasn't able to command it.
"It was really about the bullpen. We had a lot of guys come out
there and they did a great job. They really got us the win."
Trachsel (1-2) made his third start since returning from back
surgery in March and allowed four runs and four hits in five
Jason Isringhausen pitched the ninth for his 36th save in 40
After Suppan's homer in the third, Albert Pujols doubled with
two outs and scored on Walker's single.
New York, which has lost the first three games of the four-game
series, had runners in each of the first seven innings, loading the
bases loaded in the fourth before Trachsel's inning-ending flyout.
Kaz Matsui led off the seventh with a double, but was stranded
when Wright grounded into an inning-ending double play. Victor Diaz
homered in the eighth.
Eckstein was 0-for-3, ending a 14-game hitting streak. ...
Pujols needs one home run to reach 200. ... La Russa, who wears the
number 10, tore that number off the sign indicating how many
regular-season games remain at Busch Stadium.