NEW YORK (AP)—Mike Piazza held his home run ball and cracked a satisfied smile.
Now some other catcher can try to chase HIS record.
“I’m very proud of this,” Piazza said. “It’s just a thrill.”
Piazza set a major league mark for home runs as a catcher Wednesday night, and Shane Spencer hit a tiebreaking, three-run shot in the eighth inning of the New York Mets’ 8-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Barry Bonds was not in San Francisco’s starting lineup for the third straight game because of a sinus infection, disappointing many of the 19,974 fans who showed up at Shea Stadium on a rainy night.
But Piazza made it worth their while, breaking Carlton Fisk’s record with his 352nd homer as a catcher. He drove a 3-1 pitch from Jerome Williams off the bottom of the scoreboard in right-center in the first inning for a 1-0 Mets lead.
“It’s maybe a little more significant at catcher because of the physical demands of the position,” Piazza said. “Just relief, because I wanted to get it done and just move on. It’s a little bit of a crossroads for me.”
The 10-time All-Star got a warm greeting in the dugout from his teammates and bounced out for a curtain call.
“It’s always nice to be part of history, even if you’re just there to shake hands,” Mets manager Art Howe said. “And it wasn’t a cheapie.”
Piazza kept the ball as a souvenir, but his bat is headed to the Hall of Fame.
“I’m so proud to be in that company with the great catchers that played this game,” he said. “It’s definitely a special position. And I’m glad I did it at home.”
Mike Cameron also connected for the Mets, who won their third straight for the first time this season.
The game was delayed by rain for 1 hour, 19 minutes after the fifth inning, and maybe 1,000 fans were left to see Spencer give the Mets a 5-2 lead with a two-out drive to center off Matt Herges.
Cameron added a two-run shot for his sixth of the season, making it 7-2, and Kaz Matsui’s RBI single capped the six-run rally. Seven straight batters reached safely—all with two outs.
“In that situation, to hang two pitches like I did, so badly, is unacceptable,” Herges said. “I made probably the two worst pitches I’ve made in recent memory. We had two outs, I mean, just make one pitch.”
Piazza almost got the big hit in the eighth. With a runner on, he flied out to the center-field warning track. In a rare show of emotion, he slammed his helmet down, banged the bench with his bat and punched the wall in frustration.
“It just kind of reaffirms the fact that nothing has come easy in my career,” said Piazza, drafted in the 62nd round (1,390th overall) in 1988.
David Weathers (2-1) worked a scoreless eighth for the win. Four Mets relievers combined for 4 2-3 hitless innings after starter Jae Seo left with a cracked nail on his right index finger.
“We were kind of deflated a lot today—without Barry,” Giants manager Felipe Alou said.
Cameron walked and scored on a throwing error by Williams in the bottom half. The Giants tied it at 2 in the fifth when Neifi Perez led off with a double and scored on Brian Dallimore’s sacrifice fly.
Williams made a wild pickoff throw to third in the fourth, but Cameron was thrown out trying to score. Williams departed after the rain delay. He allowed two runs—one earned—and four hits.
“I would’ve went seven, guaranteed. I felt that good,” Williams said.
Seo was charged with two runs and six hits in 4 1-3 innings. Howe said Seo’snext start will probably be pushed back at least a few days.
The Giants have dropped seven of their last nine road games. … Giants 2B Ray Durham (left knee) could be ready to return when he’s eligible to come off the disabled list next Thursday. … RHP Ricky Bottalico, called up from the minors Tuesday, pitched 1 2-3 hitless innings in his Mets debut. … Piazza tied Fisk’s mark on April 27 at Dodger Stadium with a solo shot off Hideo Nomo. Piazza, 35, hit his first 177 homers with Los Angeles. … Piazza, who has started playing some games at first base recently, has 363 homers overall, 58thon the career list, six behind Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner.