Mets take lumps, keep on winning

Mets take lumps, keep on winning

NEW YORK -- The residue of winning provided the Mets with the luxury to laugh at Cliff Floyd, their starting left fielder and a respected clubhouse figure, after he was hit on the right arm in a particularly excruciating incident.

A losing team certainly wouldn't have found so much to smile and laugh about within the image of Floyd screaming behind home plate in the third inning, clutching his right arm in the latest in a series of painful -- yet nearly comical -- incidents.

Then again, the Mets are not a losing team. David Wright homered, Floyd and Jose Reyes each drove in two runs and Steve Trachsel won his sixth straight start as New York defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates, 7-5, on Thursday.

After the game, secure in the knowledge that Floyd's arm had been bruised -- not broken -- by rookie Tom Gorzelanny's errant pitch, even Mets manager Willie Randolph took to piling on the Mets' unluckiest player.

"He's very dramatic, put it that way," Randolph said, smiling.

"Hopefully, everything's OK," Wright added. "He looked like one of those European soccer players. I thought he was dead at first, but I'm glad he's alive. Hopefully he'll be in the lineup tomorrow."

Floyd called Wright a few choice words, playfully absorbing the sarcasm. It might not have reduced the sting any, but as long as wins are on the board, Floyd said it's all in good fun.

"Everybody's got jokes, man," Floyd said. "I guarantee you, if they got hit three days in a row, they wouldn't be laughing."

But they are. The Mets took three of four from the Pirates in this series, winning the deciding game as Trachsel (9-3) set a new career high in consecutive victories, limiting the Pirates to three runs and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings.

The right-hander, who hasn't lost since May 17 at St. Louis, walked four and struck out four.

"Nice job by Trax, huh?" Randolph said. "He seems to get a lot of run support, which is nice. He walks that tightrope once in a while, but he's been making pitches when he has to. Sometimes, it's effective that way."

Trachsel said he has found it a little harder to slip away from the spotlight given his recent run of success, but respect has still escaped him in some circles.

"I heard one guy on TV saying I wasn't really pitching well right now," Trachsel said. "I was like, 'I don't really know what else I can do.' I'm trying my best not to pay any attention to that."

The Mets hammered Gorzelanny, the Pirates' prized rookie left-hander, for five runs in the first four innings. Floyd stroked a two-run double in the second inning to open scoring against Gorzelanny, who was making his first appearance against the Mets.

Randolph said he had instructed his players to attack Gorzelanny aggressively, not worrying too much about the scouting report. The Mets historically have struggled against rookie pitchers the first time they've faced them, and Randolph hinted that a cautious attitude might have been to blame.

"Why are you going to treat him like he's Sandy Koufax?" Randolph said. "Just go out after him. As a matter of fact, the majority of times, they're the ones who are scared."

New York extended the lead in the third as Reyes walked, stole second, moved to third on the first of Gorzelanny's two wild pitches, and scored on Carlos Delgado's run-scoring groundout.

Reyes, who also stole two bases to extend his Major League lead to 39, singled home two runs in the fourth to open a commanding 5-0 lead against Gorzelanny. The southpaw departed for a pinch-hitter after allowing five runs in four innings, throwing two wild pitches and walking four.

In the fifth, Wright opened up a 7-2 lead by blasting his 19th home run, a two-run shot to right off of Pittsburgh reliever Jonah Bayliss.

Trachsel had a blip in the fifth inning, allowing two runs on a pair of two-out hits by Jason Bay and Joe Randa, who later added a run-scoring single off reliever Aaron Heilman.

Freddy Sanchez also touched Heilman for an RBI double in the eighth, and Billy Wagner retired the Pirates around an unearned run in the ninth inning for his 17th save.

Wagner -- who learned earlier in the day that he was not selected in the Monster 2006 All-Star Final Vote for the National League's final All-Star roster spot -- said that taking three of four from lowly Pittsburgh was important, if only to keep the engines running as the break approaches.

"The word is complacency," Wagner said. "You have a double-digit lead in your division, the media and people want to build up the aspect that you're coasting. There's no coasting in July. You can't get a big enough lead to coast in this league."

Bryan Hoch is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.