Series: Game 2 of 3

New York leads 2-0 (as of 7/20)

Game 1: Friday, July 19
New York 4Final
Cincinnati 2
Game 2: Saturday, July 20
New York 8Final
Cincinnati 7
Game 3: Sunday, July 21
New York 1Final
Cincinnati 9

Mets 8

(50-47, 25-27 away)

Reds 7

(50-47, 22-25 home)

    7:10 PM ET, July 20, 2002

    Cinergy Field, Cincinnati, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    NYM 301300100 8 - -
    CIN 230010001 7 - -

    W: D. Weathers (3-3)

    L: C. Reitsma (4-8)

    S: A. Benitez (23)

    Vaughn connects for three-run homer in win

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- The New York Mets are on a scoring binge.

    Mo Vaughn

    Mo Vaughn hit a three-run homer, and Mike Piazza and Edgardo Alfonzo had solo shots for the second consecutive game to beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-7 Saturday night.

    After struggling at the plate most of the first half of the season, the Mets have scored 76 runs in the past 11 games.

    "Players are feeling good about themselves,'' manager Bobby Valentine said. "Things are coming together.''

    Vaughn said the Mets' surge is like his own. He spent the first half of the season learning about the National League, after a career in the AL and sitting out last season with an injury.

    "It took us awhile to gain that consistency, but we're getting there,'' Vaughn said. "Now we're having some good, solid at-bats.''

    Vaughn also had an RBI single as the Mets won for the sixth time in seven games.

    Mike Bacsik, looking for his third win in three major league starts, was hit hard in the first and second innings. He lasted into the fifth but came up two outs short of qualifying for the victory.

    No Mets pitcher has ever won his first three career starts.

    "I understand why I was taken out,'' Bacsik said. "When you give up six runs in four innings, it's obvious things aren't going your way.''

    With New York leading 7-6, Mark Corey got the final two outs in the fifth. David Weathers (3-3) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win.

    Armando Benitez worked the ninth for his 23rd save in 25 chances. He gave up a leadoff homer to Reggie Taylor, then threw away pinch-hitter Brady Clark's comebacker for a two-out error. But Benitez got Barry Larkin on a long fly to right with a runner on second to end it.

    "We couldn't hold them off. Those three home runs were huge,'' Reds manager Bob Boone said. "They gave us a little breathing room in the ninth, and Larkin hit the ball hard, but it wasn't enough.''

    Bacsik allowed six runs, nine hits and hit two batters in 4 1/3 innings.

    Reds starter Chris Reitsma (4-8) matched a career high by allowing three home runs. He gave up seven runs -- six earned -- and eight hits in five innings.

    "Believe it or not, except for the three home runs, it wasn't that bad,'' Reitsma said. "Other than that, they really didn't get the ball out of the infield. It was little things -- some hits up the middle, the perfect bunt by (Rey) Ordonez. But I made some mistakes up in the zone, and they did what they're supposed to do.''

    Vaughn gave New York a 3-0 lead in the first with his 14th home run. The Reds went up 5-3 on a two-run homer by Adam Dunn, his 18th, in the first, and a three-run double by Aaron Boone in the second.

    Piazza's two-out homer in the third, his 21st, made it 5-4. Alfonzo's leadoff homer in the fourth, his ninth, tied it at 5.

    The Mets scored twice more that inning on a bunt by Ordonez and a sacrifice fly by Roberto Alomar.

    Todd Walker hit an RBI double for Cincinnati in the fifth. Cincinnati loaded the bases in the sixth against Jaime Cerda with a single and a pair of walks, but Weathers struck out pinch-hitter Taylor and got Walker on a fly to center.

    Game notes

    Boone's 17th stolen base tied a career high. ... Eric Davis, who spent nine seasons with the Reds, was honored with a bobblehead doll giveaway. ... Piazza, who has homered six times in 12 games, has at least 20 homers in 10 consecutive seasons. ... Bacsik was the minor league pitcher of the year last season in Cleveland's organization. ... It was only the second sellout this season at Cinergy Field. Attendance was announced as 40,168. ... Kevin Kelley joined the umpiring crew, replacing Bill Miller, who injured his right ankle when he stumbled near the third-base dugout Friday.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press