Mets 5, Giants 4
NEW YORK (AP)—The game was just a few minutes old and the fans were already booing Mets manager Art Howe.
An intentional walk to Barry Bonds was the reason for all the noise from the crowd at Shea Stadium—with former President Bill Clinton in attendance.
“Man, the fans got on me, didn’t they?” the New York manager said. “I told the president before the game that I was going to walk Bonds all four times. I probably should have.”
Bonds ended up homering twice, giving him 650 in his career, but the Mets overcame his power display to beat the San Francisco Giants 5-4 on Tuesday night.
“I haven’t seen that winning spirit on this team, except for one guy,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said. “Maybe it was just jet lag. Barry’s an amazing guy at that age. Jet lag doesn’t know him.”
Bonds leads the majors with 37 home runs. He hit a pair of solo shots, with his drive in the ninth inning moving him within 10 of Willie Mays for third place on the all-time list.
“Amazed? How can you not be?” Howe said. “This guy looks at times like he’s toying with people, hitting in his backyard off his son with a Wiffle ball bat.”
Bonds had a sore throat and did not speak to reporters after the game.
The Mets used a three-run second inning against Sidney Ponson to jump-start their third victory in five meetings with the NL West leaders this season.
Rookie Aaron Heilman (2-5) allowed seven hits and three runs in five innings to snap a three-game personal losing streak.
“I felt better tonight,” Heilman said. And I was able to put my pitches pretty much where I wanted to.”
Except for a slider to Bonds in the third inning. The slugger hit Heilman’s first pitch into the first deck of seats in right field.
“I didn’t feel any awe,” Heilman said. “I thought I made some pretty good pitches on him and he let them go. Unfortunately, he swung at my mistakes.”
Heilman came out to pitch the sixth, but was replaced by Grant Roberts to start the inning. Howe said Heilman was definitely coming out of the game, but because the bottom of the fifth was so fast, Roberts needed more time to warm up.
David Weathers pitched two innings for his third save in four chances.
Ponson (0-2), acquired by the NL West leaders in a trade with Baltimore last week, labored through his second start with the Giants. He gave up five runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings. The bulky right-hander was 14-6 with a 3.77 ERA with the Orioles.
“I go out there and do my best, but the way I pitched tonight was the worst I’ve pitched in a while” Ponson said. “We hate losing. That’s my character— to go out and win. And I will win for this team.”
The Mets took an early lead with three runs in the second inning. Phillips led off with a double and moved to third on Ty Wigginton’s foul out to right one out later. Vance Wilson followed with an RBI single to make it 1-0. Wilson moved to second on a wild pitch, and Ponson intentionally walked Joe McEwing.
Heilman followed with his first major league hit—an RBI single to center.
“It was good to get the first one,” Heilman said. “It was even nicer to get an RBI, as well.”
Roger Cedeno made it 3-0 with an RBI single.
After being intentionally walked his first time up, Bonds hit his 36th homer in the third to cut the deficit to 3-1. The fans, who loudly booed Bonds when he came up, stood and cheered the slugger as he crossed the plate.
In the bottom of the inning, Phillips hit his eighth homer of the season on a 3-2 pitch from Ponson to make it 4-1.
San Francisco got two back in the fifth on an RBI single by Bonds and a run-scoring groundout by Benito Santiago.
Reyes gave the Mets a two-run cushion with an RBI double in the seventh.
“We missed a lot of opportunities tonight,” Alou said. “It may have beena different situation if we had scored more runs.”
Mets C Mike Piazza, recovering from a severely strained groin, played all nine innings at catcher and went 0-for-4 in Triple-A Norfolk’s 1-0 loss to Richmond on Tuesday night. Piazza will work out with the Mets on Wednesday, and the team will decide before the game if he’ll be activated from the DL or continue his rehab at Double-A Binghamton. … Giants 1B J.T. Snow left the game in the fifth with tightness in his left groin, and is doubtful for Wednesday’s game. … Mets GM Jim Duquette said the Mets hope to sign first-round draft pick Lastings Milledge by the end of the week. The Mets had broken off negotiations while they investigated allegations he had sexualcontact with girls as young as 12 when he was in high school