"I think the guys that were in there feel that they can play,"
Zeile said. "I think it helps that even though some of our big
guns were down, nobody was hanging their heads."
New York played without Floyd, who was placed on the 15-day
disabled list with a strained right quadriceps after getting hurt
Sunday against the Expos in Puerto Rico.
Piazza was out of the lineup because of a sore right elbow
following a collision with Peter Bergeron at first base Sunday. And
the Mets already were without second baseman Jose Reyes, on the DL
with a strained right hamstring, and right fielder Karim Garcia,
day to day with a broken left ring finger.
That left Ricky Gutierrez, Shane Spencer and Zeile as the 2-3-4
hitters -- not exactly the players a sellout crowd of 53,666 hoped
to see when it showed up in a chilly drizzle.
But Mets fans were excited about the home debuts of Matsui and
Cameron, who came through along with the backups.
"I tell you what, I hadn't been that nervous since my first
at-bat my rookie year," Cameron said. "It was electrifying.
They're in every pitch.
"It was one of those special feelings -- what I'd been looking
forward to since I signed."
Hampton (0-1) was knocked out in the third and booed as he
walked off the mound with his head down. Fans at Shea Stadium
haven't forgiven him for leaving town as a free agent after helping
the Mets reach the 2000 World Series.
"That doesn't bother me," Hampton said. "They're fans and
they're rooting for their team."
The left-hander threw 80 pitches in 2 2-3 innings, giving up
seven runs and nine hits.
"I made mistakes and I paid for it," he said.
Trachsel (1-1), hit hard in an 18-10 loss at Atlanta in his
first start, was much better this time. He allowed one run and four
hits in six innings, and also drove in two runs.
"His splitter was working well. He kept pitches down," Braves
slugger Andruw Jones said.
Atlanta scored once in the ninth on pinch-hitter Eddie Perez's
RBI single, but Braden Looper came in and got Jones to ground into
a game-ending double play with the bases loaded for his second save
in two days.
"It's definitely a confidence booster -- first game in New York
-- and this whole game is confidence," Looper said.
The Mets jumped ahead on Cameron's two-out, RBI single in the
first. Trachsel hit a run-scoring double down the third-base line
in the second, and Gutierrez added an RBI groundout.
Hampton walked Joe McEwing with the bases loaded in the third,
Trachsel had an RBI grounder and Matsui, the newcomer from Japan,
broke it open with a two-run double.
"It was amazing. The crowd was really into it. I was really
nervous at first but it was really fun," Matsui said through a
translator. "I almost had goosebumps all over."
Cameron drove in a run with a double to deep center in the
fourth, and Jason Phillips followed with an RBI single.
Spencer added an RBI double in the fifth.
"It's a good thing we put 10 on the board," Cameron said.
The Braves were missing three injured regulars themselves: left
fielder Chipper Jones (strained right hamstring), shortstop Rafael
Furcal (strained lower back) and first baseman Adam LaRoche (sore
Manager Bobby Cox hopes all three can return to the lineup
"It was just an awful day," Andruw Jones said.
Drew came out for a pinch-hitter in the ninth after
tweaking his left hamstring on a flyball the inning before. He said
he didn't think it was serious. ... Hampton fell to 7-9 against the
Mets. ... Floyd will head to the team's spring training complex in
Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Tuesday to begin a rehabilitation program.
... The Mets improved to 27-16 in home openers, including 27-14 at
Shea Stadium. They dropped their first two at the Polo Grounds in
1962 and '63. ... This season marks Shea Stadium's 40th
anniversary. ... The Mets honored New York's 1969-70 championship
teams before the game. Ceremonial first pitches were thrown by
former Mets Tom Seaver and Jerry Grote, Knicks greats Walt Frazier
and Willis Reed, and ex-Jets running back Emerson Boozer. ...
Before the game, Cameron received the Gold Glove he won last season
with Seattle. ... The Mets lost their Shea Stadium opener 15-2 to
the Cubs last year.