Mets 7, Reds 4
That’s just a minor setback for a squad as confident as the Mets these days.
Mike Piazza hit a go-ahead home run in the fifth inning and Mike Cameron fell a homer shy of the cycle, leading the Mets to their season-high fifth straight win, 7-4 over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
“We were a little frustrated early on and got behind,” Piazza said. “But we didn’t panic. We just kept chipping away.”
In his first game since hitting his 500th homer, Griffey went 1-for-5 with a single. He was mostly cheered by the Shea Stadium crowd of 19,301, who showed up possibly hoping to see home run No. 501.
But it was the Mets who had the big hits. Cliff Floyd added a solo homer for the Mets, who came back from a 4-1 deficit in the third to win for the seventh time in eight games and move above .500 at 35-34.
“It’s a great feeling,” manager Art Howe said. “There’s just no quit in this ballclub.”
John Franco (1-3) came on for Matt Ginter in the fifth and pitched two perfect innings. It was his first win since Sept. 17, 2001, at Pittsburgh on his 41st birthday—and the Mets’ first game back after the Sept. 11 attacks.
“It seems like a decade ago,” Franco said. “That’s the earliest I’ve been in a game, so I was kind of caught off-guard, like a deer in headlights, but I’ll take it.”
Griffey made casual comments after the game, but wouldn’t discuss the game with reporters.
“One of the big stories tonight was the bullpen,” Howe said. “Johnny brought a little sanity out there. He put up some zeros for us and we were able to score some runs with him in there.”
Piazza gave the Mets a 5-4 lead with one out in the fifth when he hit a 2-2 pitch from Paul Wilson into the picnic area in left field.
“I was just trying to not overswing,” Piazza said. “I just kind of felt good that at-bat and was able to stay back on it.”
The Mets added another run in the sixth on Eric Valent’s sacrifice fly. Cameron, who was 3-for-3, led off with a triple, and Valent lifted a deep fly to center one out later to make it 6-4.
The Mets added another run in the eighth on pinch-hitter Joe McEwing’s run-scoring groundout.
“It’s just a sign of a good team starting to come together,” Cameron said. “Paul Wilson was pretty good, but we were able to get to him.”
Wilson (7-1) allowed six runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings. He struck out nine and walked one.
The right-hander was making his third career start against the team that selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 1994 draft. His career with the Mets was plagued by injuries, including missing all or parts of three seasons from 1997-99 with operations on his right shoulder.
“We did what we were supposed to, but I just couldn’t hold them,” Wilson said. “We scored early, and I let them into the game. That’s my job—to keep them down, and I really didn’t do it.”
The Reds got off to a good start for Wilson, taking a 1-0 lead in the second on Dunn’s team-leading 20th homer over the bullpen in right field.
Floyd tied it in the Mets’ half of the inning, leading off by hitting a 1-1 pitch from Wilson for his seventh homer.
Cincinnati scored three times in the third to take a 4-1 lead against Ginter.
D’Angelo Jimenez hit a leadoff single, Griffey singled one out later and Dunn drove in Jimenez with a ground-rule double. LaRue followed with a run-scoring single to make it 3-1, and Jermaine Clark’s double drove in the Reds’ fourth run.
The Mets tied it again with a three-run fourth. Floyd and Richard Hidalgo hit consecutive singles to lead off the inning, and Cameron doubled over Griffey in center to make it 4-2. One out later, Valent hit a run-scoring groundout and Shane Spencer hit a pinch-hit single to left-center to tie it.
“It wasn’t vintage Willie,” Reds manager Dave Miley said. “They scratched some runs off him. He got us deep in the game, though. But still, they got somebig hits off him.”
Ginter lasted just four innings, allowing four runs and nine hits. … Piazza tied Rocky Colavito for 55th on the career list with his 374th homer. Next up is Carlton Fisk, who hit 376. … Wilson was trying to become the firstReds starter to open a season 8-0 since Mike LaCoss did it in 1979.