Series: Game 3 of 3

New York won 2-1

Game 1: Friday, June 21
Kansas City 3Final
New York 4
Game 2: Saturday, June 22
Kansas City 5Final
New York 1
Game 3: Sunday, June 23
Kansas City 4Final
New York 5

Royals 4

(26-46, 12-28 away)

Mets 5

(38-36, 20-16 home)

    1:10 PM ET, June 23, 2002

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    KC 000004000 4 - -
    NYM 00100022 - 5 - -

    W: S. Strickland (6-3)

    L: J. Grimsley (2-3)

    S: A. Benitez (18)

    Cedeno delivers two-run single in eighth inning

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Roger Cedeno knew he'd get a good pitch to hit, and Mike Piazza knew his teammate would come through in the clutch.

    Roger Cedeno

    Cedeno hit a go-ahead two-run single with the bases loaded off Jason Grimsley in the eighth inning to rally the New York Mets to a 5-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.

    "I was ahead in the count and I thought he'd throw a good pitch,'' said Cedeno, who blooped a 1-0 pitch over shortstop Neifi Perez's head scoring Joe McEwing and Jeromy Burnitz.

    Just moments before Cedeno's hit, Piazza turned to his teammates in the dugout.

    "I said, 'Roger's got to get a hit here. He's got to.''' Piazza said. "When he hit it, I kind of turned around and was looking for someone to say, 'Nice call,' or something.''

    Cedeno, batting .243, was more than happy to make Piazza look good.

    "That's cool,'' Cedeno said with a big smile. "That's just great. We all pull for each other on this team.''

    John Valentin hit a two-run homer and Timo Perez had three hits as the Mets rallied from three runs down to win for the sixth time in eight games. New York is 7½ games behind Atlanta, heading into a four-game series with the Braves.

    With the Mets trailing 4-3, Mo Vaughn drew a one-out walk from Grimsley (2-3) and McEwing came on as a pinch-runner. Burnitz singled to put runners on first and third, and Valentin walked on four pitches to load the bases for Cedeno.

    "It's a great feeling,'' Cedeno said. "It's good to win those games, especially when you're down in the eighth.''

    Scott Strickland (6-3) pitched a scoreless eighth for the win. Armando Benitez pitched the ninth for his 18th save in 21 opportunities as the Mets improved to 19-11 in one-run games, including 13-6 at home.

    New York made it 4-3 in the seventh on Valentin's two-run homer off Cory Bailey.

    "It wasn't looking good for the home team, but the guys kind of got angry and got it done,'' Mets manager Bobby Valentine said.

    The Royals wasted an outstanding outing from Shawn Sedlacek, who allowed one run, five hits and struck out four in six innings in his second major league start.

    "I'm still looking for my first big league win, but it was exciting,'' Sedlacek said. "You know, I'm new at this and I'm sure it will come.''

    Royals manager Tony Pena opted to go to the bullpen after the sixth, and wasn't pleased with the results.

    "It was a little humid and by the sixth inning, I think (Sedlacek's) arm was a little heavy,'' Pena said. "At that point, the bullpen should take over. They just didn't do the job.

    The Royals scored four runs in the sixth to take a 4-1 lead.

    Jeff D'Amico breezed through the first five innings and got the first two batters in the sixth, but Neifi Perez singled, Carlos Beltran doubled and Mike Sweeney was walked intentionally to load the bases.

    Joe Randa followed with a two-run single to left and Raul Ibanez hit an RBI single to give the Royals a 3-1 lead.

    D'Amico walked Luis Alicea before Mark Guthrie came on. Brent Mayne shattered his bat on a grounder to third that Edgardo Alfonzo charged and tried to barehand, but the ball hit off his hand for an error and Ibanez scored to make it 4-1. Guthrie struck out Sedlacek to finally end the inning.

    "I felt great out there and the heat didn't bother me at all,'' said D'Amico, who hasn't won since May 26. "The only pitch I'd really take back is that hanging curveball to Randa.''

    The Mets nearly tied it in the bottom of the inning when Alfonzo hit a long drive to left field, but Ibanez timed his jump and stretched his glove over the wall to rob a home run. Piazza hit an RBI single in the third to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

    Game notes

    Sedlacek allowed two hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings in his major league debut against Montreal on Tuesday. He left with a 4-2 lead, but got a no-decision as the Expos came back to win 5-4. ... D'Amico allowed four runs -- three earned -- seven hits, walked two and struck out six in 5 2/3 innings. ... The Royals finished their nine-game road trip 1-8. ... A female fan was hit in the head with a bat in the fourth inning when Burnitz hit a foul ball and lost his grip on the bat, which sailed into the stands. The woman had bruises and a cut over her left ear, but was able to walk from her seat to a wheelchair. She was taken to a hospital for precautionary X-rays, although stadium medical personnel didn't consider the injuries to be serious.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press