Mike Piazza hit the lights out Wednesday night. On Thursday afternoon, they never came back on.
One night after the largest power blackout in U.S. history wreaked havoc on their schedule, a resurgent Piazza will look to back the pitching of Tom Glavine and lead the New York Mets against the Colorado Rockies.
Thursday night’s Mets-Giants game was the only one on the major-league schedule that needed to be postponed due to the outage, spoiling a rare chance for a three-game sweep by New York. The highlight of the abbreviated series came Wednesday night when the team’s All-Star catcher made his much-anticipated return.
Piazza, on the disabled list since May 16 with a severely strained right groin, had three hits—including a two-run homer—and five RBIs, giving the struggling Mets a jolt of adrenalin and the Shea Stadium crowd reason to cheer again. New York went on to win 9-2.
“Like a thousand-pound weight off my shoulders,” Piazza said, explaining the pressure. “I’m glad I kind of downplayed everything and told them not to expect too much. It feels like spring training. I’m excited to be back.”
After an unexpected day off—New York was trickling out to take batting practice in the empty stadium when power went out in their clubhouse just after 4 p.m.—Piazza will look to give battery-mate Tom Glavine similar offensive support.
Glavine had one of his best performances in an otherwise disappointing season last Friday night, when he pitched six innings, allowing just one run on four hits in a 3-1 win over Arizona. It was his first outing since July 29 because of a strained oblique muscle and his first win in six starts.
The Rockies, who were off Thursday and had already arrived in New York by Thursday afternoon, experienced their second blackout in as many days. On Wednesday night, they were playing at Montreal when a power failure briefly plunged Olympic Stadium into darkness. The rest of the city was not affected by that outage, which delayed play 1 hour, 16 minutes.
Colorado lost the game 6-5 to fall back under .500.
STANDINGS: Rockies - 4th place, 14 GB, NL West. Mets - 5th place, 27 1/2 GB, NL East.
ROCKIES PROBABLE STARTER: Darren Oliver (10-7, 5.16 ERA). The left-hander was hit hard in his last outing, allowing nine runs on 10 hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 10-4 loss to Pittsburgh last Saturday. He did not figure in the decision of a May 14 win against New York, pitching 5 2-3 innings and giving up three runs.
METS PROBABLE STARTER: Glavine (7-11, 4.93 ERA). On May 13, the left-hander did not figure in the decision of an eventual 9-8 loss. He gave up three runs in six innings. For his career, Glavine is 8-4 against the Rockies.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Rockies - Todd Helton, .354 avg. and 108 runs; Preston Wilson, 30 HRs and 114 RBIs; Tony Womack, 11 SBs. Mets - Piazza, .345 avg.; Cliff Floyd, 18 HRs and 62 RBIs; Ty Wigginton, 61 runs; Jose Reyes, 11 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Rockies, 2-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Rockies - Colorado’s road record (20-43) is the worst in the majors. … CF Wilson’s 114 RBIs lead the majors. Mets - With 344 career homers as a catcher, Piazza is just seven behind Carlton Fisk for the all-time record. … Rookie SS Reyes is in the midst of an 11-game hitting streak.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Rockies - 20-43 on the road; Mets - 25-35 at home.
INJURIES: Rockies - IF Mark Bellhorn (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Nelson Cruz (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Denny Neagle (elbow), 15-day DL; OF Chris Richard (shoulder), 60-day DL. Mets - IF Mo Vaughn (knee), 60-day DL; RHP Pedro Astacio (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Scott Strickland (groin), 60-day DL.