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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.

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 7 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.