CINCINNATI (AP) -- Timo Perez saw Austin Kearns' fly ball all the way into his glove, as he had been taught as a child.
And he saw the ball hit the wall before it nestled into leather."Yes, it hit the wall,'' Perez said through a translator.The New York Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-2 Friday night,
thanks to solo home runs by Mike Piazza, Edgardo Alfonzo and Roberto Alomar -- and the missed call."I thought he might have trapped it,'' said Reds manager Bob Boone. "It was hard to see. I just wanted to ask the umpires if they got a real good look at it. They said they did. They said they had a good angle.''The Mets led 3-1 in the fifth when the Reds loaded the bases
with one out.Kearns then hit a high fly and left fielder Perez jumped as he approached the fence. The ball hit about three feet above Perez, caromed off the wall and bounced right into his glove.But the play was ruled a catch, with Perez holding his glove
aloft, and he threw back to second base to double off Todd Walker
before Brady Clark could tag up and score."It's a break that finally went our way,'' Mets center fielder
Jay Payton said. "I saw it come off the wall.''The call came with a three-man umpiring crew. Plate umpire Bill Miller left an inning earlier with an injured ankle, leaving no ump at second base to run out to watch Perez's play.But crew chief Larry Young did not make any excuses."It was a very difficult call,'' he said. "Being short-handed was not a factor.''Cincinnati did not help itself on the play, either, as Clark
started to tag up too early and Adam Dunn, who was on first, passed Walker on the bases."I had about three or four reactions on it,'' Walker said "I stopped between second and third, and then I saw him trap it. At that point, you just look for the umpire, and I saw Fieldin (Culbreth) make the out call.''Miller was hurt in the fourth. He was tracking Mo Vaughn's pop foul near the third-base dugout when he slipped on the Cinergy Field logo that is used as an on-deck circle.X-rays of Miller's right ankle showed no break. Bill Hohn took over behind the plate.Piazza's homer, his 20th, was only the third to clear the
40-foot black wall that for two seasons has served as a batter's
eye in dead center field, above the 393-foot marker. The others
were hit by Houston's Lance Berkman on April 16, and by St. Louis' Albert Pujols on Aug. 20, 2001.Piazza and Alfonzo both homered in the fourth off knuckleballer
Jared Fernandez (1-1).Alomar hit an RBI double in the third and homered off Bruce Chen in the eighth.Pedro Astacio (10-3) allowed six hits in seven innings for his
fourth consecutive win. He walked four and struck out seven. Armando Benitez pitched a scoreless ninth for his 22nd save.Barry Larkin doubled in a run in the third for Cincinnati, and Russell Branyan homered in the sixth.
The Mets put IF/OF Joe McEwing on the 15-day disabled list,
retroactive to July 14, with a left ribcage strain. His roster spot
was filled by IF Marco Scutaro, who was recalled from Norfolk. ...
The Reds recalled Clark from Triple-A Louisville to fill the roster
opening left by the placement of Joey Hamilton on the 15-day DL.
Clark had a pinch-hit single in the fifth. ... Ken Griffey Jr. may
be activated Monday, Boone said. Griffey went on the 15-day DL
effective June 24 with a strained right hamstring. ... Reds RHR
Jose Silva, on the DL since June 28 with a sore right shoulder, was
sent to Louisville of the International League for rehab