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PIRATES Suppan wins third with Young's help



Published: Sun, April 20, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Pirates dealt the Mets their seventh loss in eight games with a 6-3 decision.

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Some major league players don't willingly embrace change. For Jeff Suppan and Kevin Young, accepting change might have been the best thing possible for their careers.

Suppan won his third straight start since switching leagues, pitching the Pittsburgh Pirates past the New York Mets 6-3 Wednesday night as Young's pinch-hit single drove in the go-ahead run.

The Mets lost their seventh in eight games and, understandably, are looking forward to a change of venue. They are 2-7 on a 10-game road trip that ends Thursday, and are looking forward to a nine-game home stand that starts Friday.

"Thank goodness," manager Art Howe said.

May be turnaround

For Suppan (3-0), leaving Kansas City after four seasons to sign with the Pirates might have turned his career around. He was 9-16 with a 5.32 ERA last season and 39-51 overall with the Royals, but is 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA with Pittsburgh.

"I can't say it's one particular thing, but sometimes a change of scenery can help," Suppan said.

For Young, a move from the starting lineup to the bench -- one most players don't want to make -- appears to have been beneficial. He put the Pirates up 3-2 in the sixth with a two-out RBI single off reliever Jaime Cerda, his first run-scoring pinch hit since 2001.

"I know in spring training a lot of publications were saying Kevin Young was a useless player," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "That flummoxed me. He's done a good job for us. He's showing he still has something left."

Mike Piazza tried to do the same thing for the Mets, homering off Suppan for his long-awaited first RBI and first extra-base hit of the season. But the Mets couldn't come up with enough offense to support a bullpen that knew beforehand it might pitch more than half the game.

David Cone (1-2), back in the Mets' rotation at age 40 after being out of baseball last season, threw 95 pitches in five-plus innings and was pulled following Reggie Sanders' leadoff single in the sixth. Sanders later scored on Young's single.

Adam Hyzdu added a two-run double and Pokey Reese had an RBI double in the seventh, both off reliever David Weathers.

Stanton still out

Cone has lasted only 14 innings in three starts, putting a strain on a Mets' bullpen that was again without Mike Stanton (calf injury).

"It's not that I'm able to go only five, I've got to be more economical with my pitch counts," Cone said.

Just as the Mets pitchers wish the offense wouldn't be so economical with its base hits. Piazza and Mo Vaughn each homered, but the Mets had only four hits.

"We do have a lot of talent," Cone said. "We had big expectations in spring training that we would score some runs. These guys can do it, the track record is there."




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