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.
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