Series: Game 1 of 3

New York leads 1-0 (as of 7/26)

Game 1: Friday, July 26
Cincinnati 2Final
New York 3
Game 2: Saturday, July 27
Cincinnati 2Final
in 11
New York 1
Game 3: Sunday, July 28
Cincinnati 5Final
New York 6

Reds 2

(53-49, 28-23 away)

Mets 3

(53-49, 28-21 home)

    7:10 PM ET, July 26, 2002

    Shea Stadium, Flushing, New York 

    123456789 R H E
    CIN 000002000 2 - -
    NYM 100100001 3 - -

    W: M. Guthrie (5-0)

    L: J. Riedling (0-1)

    Mets pull even with Reds in wild-card race

    NEW YORK (AP) -- With the game tied in the bottom of the ninth, Mets slugger Mo Vaughn turned to his teammates in the dugout and called his shot -- a single.

    Roberto Alomar


    Roberto Alomar acknowledges the crowd after getting his 2,500th hit.

    "He told us he had seen enough of these curveballs, he was just going to hit the ball up the middle,'' New York manager Bobby Valentine said.

    Vaughn came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded. Then he sent the first pitch he saw from John Riedling back up the middle to give the Mets a 3-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.

    "You're going to get your home runs,'' Vaughn said. "But I want to get my average up where it belongs. And you do that by getting singles, too. By staying in the middle of the field, you have a better chance of success.''

    After Vaughn's hit, Rey Ordonez ran home with his hands in the air as the screaming Merengue Night crowd of 46,466 made Shea Stadium shake.

    Ordonez led off the ninth with a single. Pinch-hitter Marco Scutaro advanced him with a sacrifice bunt and Roberto Alomar was intentionally walked.

    Timo Perez grounded into a fielder's choice -- avoiding the double play -- and Mike Piazza walked to load the bases and bring up Vaughn.

    Riedling (0-1) had no place to put Vaughn, who entered the game batting .278 with runners in scoring position.

    The Reds' infield played Vaughn, who earlier singled to left, as if he would pull the ball. Instead, his grounder went just right of second base.

    Vaughn, like the Mets, began the season as a disappointment. His average is still .260, but in his last 28 games, Vaughn is 34-for-101 (.337) with 11 homers and 25 RBI.

    The win was the Mets' ninth in 12 games and tied them with the Reds at 53-49 as they chased the NL's wild card spot.

    "There's a long way to go,'' Valentine said.

    Mets reliever Mark Guthrie (5-0), who extended his scoreless streak to 25 1/3 innings, hit Ken Griffey Jr. in the batting helmet with a pitch in the eighth.

    The ball struck with an audible crack, and broke Griffey's batting helmet. Trainers rushed onto the field, helped Griffey to his feet, and he went to first base as fans cheered.

    Guthrie came to the plate to check on Griffey, and later phoned the Reds' clubhouse to check on Junior, who said after the game that he was fine.

    "Guthrie's not that kind of a pitcher,'' Griffey said.

    Griffey, who had been booed before each of his at-bats, was later caught in a rundown after Guthrie's pickoff throw to end the inning.

    Alomar began the night with his 2,500th career hit in the first inning and went 3-for-3, but the Mets gave up a 2-0 lead in the sixth inning.

    Aaron Boone led off with a single. After advancing on Griffey's one-out single, Boone scored on a single by Austin Kearns. Left fielder Perez threw wildly to the plate, and Piazza had trouble catching the ball cleanly, allowing Griffey and Kearns to move up.

    Perez was charged with the error, and Juan Castro, who entered the game when Barry Larkin left with an injured lower back, scored Griffey from third with a sacrifice fly.

    The Mets loaded the bases with no one out in the first inning, but scored only one run. Alomar led off with a single, Perez reached on first baseman Adam Dunn's error and Elmer Dessens walked Piazza.

    Vaughn hit into a 5-2-3 double play, but after Dessens walked Edgardo Alfonzo, he hit Jeromy Burnitz with a pitch to score the run.

    Alomar hit an RBI single in the fourth, bringing home Jay Payton from third. Pitcher Pedro Astacio moved Payton over from first when he singled over the head of third baseman Boone, who was anticipating a bunt.

    Astacio gave up six hits and two runs in seven innings, striking out five.

    Game notes

    Burnitz ended the Mets eighth when it was ruled he slid too wide at second base on Payton's one-out grounder to short. Payton, who might have been safe at first, was called out on Burnitz' interference. ... The Reds began a stretch in which they play 21 of their next 25 games outside the NL Central. Cincinnati began the night four games behind St. Louis in the division.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press