Reds 4, Mets 2
NEW YORK (AP)—Ken Griffey Jr. took another step toward the top 10.
Griffey tied Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt on the career home run chart and Bronson Arroyo pitched a complete game to lead the Cincinnati Reds past the New York Mets 4-2 Monday night for their eighth straight victory on the road.
Griffey’s 548th homer spoiled Orlando Hernandez’s strong start and put the 12-time All-Star in 11th place alongside Schmidt.
“He’s one of those guys when he comes in the locker room, you know who he is. You don’t want to play golf with him unless you get some strokes,” Griffey said. “He was an awesome player. For my name to be mentioned with him is an honor in itself.”
The 36-year-old Griffey and his father, Ken Sr., have now combined for 700 major league homers. Junior got the ball back as a souvenir and said he would give it to his dad.
“Which one am I prouder? Probably 700 with my dad,” Griffey said. “Now I can say, `Happy Father’s Day—here you go.”’
Next up on the career list is Reggie Jackson with 563.
“I can’t let my mind drift about what might have been if I didn’t get hurt,” Griffey said.
Brandon Phillips added a two-run double and Arroyo threw a seven-hitter for the Reds, thrilled to be on the road again. They just lost eight of nine to end their worst 10-game homestand (2-8) since 1950.
The NL East-leading Mets also have looked more comfortable on the road recently. They’ve dropped three of four at Shea Stadium since winning eight in a row to close a 9-1 road trip.
Arroyo (9-3) gave up a run in the first and Carlos Beltran’s 19th homer leading off the ninth. He struck out five and walked one in his third career complete game, second this season.
“He’s a tremendous competitor. He is fearless, and one of the better pitchers in baseball—and I mean pitchers,” Cincinnati manager Jerry Narron said. “It’s a lot of fun to watch. You sometimes think it’s a lost art for guys that know how to pitch. He’s one of those guys.”
“I didn’t take a pounding in any inning at all,” Arroyo said. “I had plenty left in the tank.”
The right-hander, acquired from Boston on March 20 for outfielder Wily Mo Pena in a trade that has worked out beautifully for the Reds, retired 10 straight before Jose Reyes’ bloop single in the eighth.
“He just kept us off balance from the word go. A lot of arms, a lot of legs,” Wright said. “The big thing is, he changes his arm angle.”
Hernandez (4-6) yielded two runs and eight hits over seven innings. He struck out seven, including Griffey the first two times up, and walked two.
Leading off the sixth, Griffey drove a 2-2 pitch an estimated 440 feet off the lower portion of the scoreboard in right-center for his 12th homer this season and a 2-1 Cincinnati lead.
“El Duque only made one mistake, really, on Griffey,” Mets manager Willie Randolph said. “He handled him pretty well early, and just missed his spot. He pitched a good ballgame.”
Hernandez turned an unassisted double play to end the second. And, as often is the case with El Duque, it was colorful.
David Ross’ RBI single tied the score at 1 and left runners at the corners with one out. Arroyo then popped up a suicide squeeze and Hernandez lunged to the ground for a nice catch, trapping Phillips off third base.
Hernandez got up and stationed himself on the line between Phillips and the bag, waiting to make the tag. But Phillips slowly sauntered in the other direction—so El Duque simply folded his arms and waited for a couple of seconds.
Phillips finally tried a fake and break around plate umpire Dan Iassogna, and was called out for running way outside the base line just as Hernandez applied the tag. El Duque flipped the ball to Phillips, who tossed it into the stands behind Cincinnati’s dugout.
“I’ve seen that double play before, but I’ve never seen it take quite that long,” Wright said.
Reyes hit Arroyo’s first pitch of the game for a double and scored on Beltran’s groundout.
Arroyo pitched his first complete game for Pittsburgh at Shea Stadium on Oct. 2, 2001. … Nady returned to the lineup in RF for the first time since his appendectomy on May 30 and went 0-for-4.