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Bubba Follows Bordick's Cue

Before this weekend, just five players in 38 1/2 seasons homered in their first at-bat for the New York Mets. Then Mike Bordick and Bubba Trammell did it in consecutive games.

"It's kind of like getting in early on an IPO ... immediate returns," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said Sunday after Trammell's three-run homer led New York over the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2.

Benny Agbayani hit a leadoff shot in the first, Trammell connected in the second and Bobby J. Jones (5-5) pitched a four-hitter for his first complete game in three years.

Before a crowd of Mets' greats that included Willie Mays, Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter on hand for a pregame promotion honoring the team's top 10 moments Trammell followed Bordick to create a little niche in the Mets' record book and help extend New York's winning streak to six games.

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  • Trammell's eyes caught Bordick's after the homer.

    "We kind of just looked at each other," Trammell said. "We knew what we were thinking."

    Bordick, acquired from Baltimore on Friday, was 2-for-3 with a homer Saturday and went 0-for-4 Sunday.

    Trammell, a 28-year-old outfielder, was acquired by the Mets from Tampa Bay on Friday along with Rick White, the winner Saturday.

    Trammell, whose first name is Thomas and goes by his middle name, got the first curtain call of his career Sunday.

    "Tey started pushing me," he said of his teammates. "After a few pushes, it didn't take a whole lot."

    Jones pitched his first complete game since May 28, 1997, at Montreal, just his 10th in 179 major league starts. He retired his first 14 batters before Fernando Tatis singled to left in the fifth, then gave up a run-scoring grounder to Eric Davis in the sixth following Fernando Vina's single and Edgar Renteria's double. Ray Lankford added a long two-out homer in the ninth.

    In recent starts, Jones has been pitching with better command, a key since his fastball doesn't overwhelm. He stopped experimenting with changes in his mechanics and is starting to show the form that made him an All-Star in 1997.

    After warming up, he made a point of checking out the pregame ceremonies and was glad he pitched well in front of the illustrious crowd.

    "I showed them the good Bobby Jones, not the early-on, struggling Bobby Jones," he said.

    St. Louis, 0-6 against this Mets this year, has lost four straight overall and six of eight. The Cardinals are 7-13 since Mark McGwire went on the disabled list and their NL Central lead, which stood at 10 games on July 5, was cut to four games with Cincinnati's 7-4 win at Montreal.

    "Now we're 10 games over (57-47) and we've got to pick it up," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. "When you're 20 games over at this time of the year, you can look forward to having some fun in October, but now we have our work cut out for us."

    Trammell's homer came off Garrett Stephenson (11-7) on an 0-2 pitch and followed Todd Zeile's walk and Jay Payton's single.

    "The home run was a killer," Stephenson said.

    Stephenson allowed all four runs and five hits in four innings, losing to the Mets for the first time in three career decisions. St. Louis has lost 18 of its last 26 games at New York.

    When you get 0-2, that isn't the kind of quality pitch we've seen from him," La Russa said.

    Notes

  • St. Louis optioned RHP Gene Stechschulte to Memphis of the Pacific Coast League to make room for RHP Mike Timlin, acquired Saturday from Baltimore. Timlin pitched a hitless seventh in his Cardinals' debut with two strikeouts and a walk. After the game, St. Louis acquired LHP Jason Christiansen from Pittsburgh for minor league INF Jack Wilson.
  • The game was delayed 37 minutes by the pregame promotion. The 1986 World Series title was No. 1, followed by the 1969 World Series title and Robin Ventura's grand-slam-turned-single that won Game 5 of last year's NL championship series.
  • Ventura made a nice barehand pickup of Vina's bunt to third leading off the fourth inning, preserving Jones' perfect-game bid.
  • Valentine said he won eBay bidding for a 1969 Bobby Valentine rookie uniform, when he played five games with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He said the winning bid was $2,000.

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