Reds 6, Mets 2
NEW YORK (AP)—Ken Griffey Jr. has played center field long enough to know all about sunny days and what havoc they can create.
Thursday at Shea Stadium was one of those days.
“It was pretty bad out there with the sun directly above you,” Griffey said. “Balls hit on a line were OK. But popups are trouble.”
So when Griffey lofted a fly ball to center with the bases loaded in the seventh inning, it wasn’t an easy out.
Not at all.
Two-time Gold Glove winner Mike Cameron, sun glasses down, seemed set to catch the ball. Then, at the last second, it glanced off his glove for a two-base error, clearing the bases as the Cincinnati Reds rallied for five runs and a 6-2 victory over the New York Mets.
“In most cases, yeah, you think the inning is over,” Reds manager Dave Miley said. “But with that sun … it was a tough play for Mike. It was a very nice New York day.”
Cameron said he’s been down this road before, playing hide and seek with the sun.
“It happens a lot of times,” he said. “Sometimes (the ball) comes out and sometimes it doesn’t. In this case, it didn’t. It cost us three runs. I feel bad for everybody, but it’s over and done with.
“By far, it’s one of the toughest plays you have to deal with out there. Those things are going to happen. I did everything I could. I tried to make a play at the end. It just hit the side of my glove. It’s one of the worst feelings you can have on a baseball field.”
Mets manager Art Howe called it an unfortunate set of circumstances.
“It was pretty clear that he was fighting it all the way,” he said. “When the ball stays in the sun, you can’t see it, you can’t catch it. These high sky days, it’s very hard to find that ball. I knew he was fighting the ball the whole way. You feel for Mike. He feels worse than anybody.”
Cory Lidle (5-5) pitched eight innings, allowing nine hits and no walks while striking out seven.
“I felt good,” he said. “I was throwing strikes. I had everything working. I kept the ball down. That was my game plan. Keep the ball down. Let them hit it on the ground.”
Cameron’s error foiled a strong start by Tom Glavine (7-4), who leads the major leagues with a 2.11 ERA. Glavine took a 2-1 lead into the seventh, but gave up singles to Tim Hummel and Javier Valentin.
Mike Stanton relieved and walked Casey, loading the bases for Griffey. Stanton appeared to escape the jam when Griffey hit the fly ball to center, but Cameron’s error broke the inning open. Adam Dunn followed with an RBI single.
Glavine entered the seventh with a 2-1 lead. Joe McEwing beat out an infield hit with one out in the fifth, Glavine sacrificed and Jose Reyes hit his first home run of the season, his third hit in 20 at-bats since coming off the disabled list.
Glavine gave up a run in the first inning on an RBI single by Castro, who had three hits.
The Mets threatened in the fourth when Mike Piazza singled with one out and Cliff Floyd doubled over Griffey in center. But Lidle struck out Richard Hidalgo and got Ty Wigginton on a comeback line drive to strand both runners.
In the sixth, Piazza opened with his third single of the game and Floyd also singled. But Lidle recovered, retiring Hidalgo on a pop fly and getting Wigginton to hit into a double play. The Mets put the first two men on base inthe seventh, but Lidle retired to the next three.
Casey’s third-inning single was his 100th hit of the season. He left in the seventh inning with stiffness in his upper left hamstring. … Thursday’s game was Piazza’s 800th with the Mets. He had his second straight three-hit game. … Freel’s first-inning steal was his 13th. … McEwing, starting at shortstop for struggling Kaz Matsui, made several sparkling defensive plays…. Floyd had three hits.