Casey helped Cincinnati complete a three-game sweep of the Florida Marlins on Wednesday, spoiling Dontrelle Willis’ bid for a perfect game with a two-out single in the seventh inning. Casey scored the tying run, then hit a two-run homer in the ninth to give the Reds a 3-1 victory.
The sweep allowed Cincinnati to seize the NL’s best record from Florida.
“They’re one of the best teams in the NL, and we feel like we’re one of the best, too,” said Casey, who had three homers, six RBIs and five runs scored in the series.
“It was a big series for us to get a sweep. Anytime you go into Florida and play a team like the Marlins, it’s going to be tough to sweep these guys. But we feel good about the way we’re playing.”
Cincinnati has won 12 of 15, a stretch during which Casey has gone 27-for-60 (.450) to raise his major league-leading average to .391. The veteran outfielder, who totaled 20 home runs over the 2002 and 2003 seasons, has had a power surge lately with six homers and 13 RBIs in his last 11 games.
“Unbelievable, huh? There’s not much else you can say about him,” Reds manager Dave Miley said after Wednesday’s win. “The guy busts up the perfect game … then gets the big hit.”
The Reds are coming off a 5-1 road trip, which began by winning two of three at Montreal.
Each team scored 13 runs in that series, sparking a bit of an offensive surge for an Expos team which is easily last in the majors with 151 runs scored.
Montreal had 16 runs in its three-game set this week with Atlanta. The Expos lost the first two, but had a season-high 17 hits to win 8-4 on Wednesday for just its third victory in 13 games.
“Everybody had their heads up,” said Tony Batista, one of three Expos to have three hits. “Everybody got hits, everybody made plays. The way we’ve hit the last two nights, we’re starting to play better.”
Another offensive outburst would be a welcome sight for Zach Day, who starts the opener against the Reds.
Montreal has scored 17 runs in Day’s 10 starts, getting shut out three times. He’s given up three earned runs or fewer in five starts this month and has lasted at least six innings in all of them, but only has one win to show for it.