NEW YORK -- The ball bounced off the left field wall, and New York Mets left fielder Jason Bay soon followed, crashing headfirst into the fence after chasing the ball off Jay Bruce's bat.
By the time the play ended, Bruce would get teased for "running out of gas" by his teammates after hitting his first career inside-the-park home run in the Cincinnati Reds' 7-3 win over the Mets on Friday night.
But as the Reds enjoyed their early lead in the second inning and some ribbing from their teammate along the way to their fourth straight win, the Mets had more grave concerns.
Bay was woozy as he got up, and eventually he walked off with help from Mets trainer Ray Ramirez with what the Mets said was a possible concussion.
After the game, Mets manager Terry Collins acknowledged he was concerned for Bay, who missed the last two months of the 2010 season due to a concussion. The threat was greater because Bay, who has been limited to 21 games this year due to a fractured rib, had sustained a head injury in the past, Collins said.
"I'm concerned about it right now," said Collins, who added Bay went home and would be evaluated Saturday. "He's pretty woozy, so the security people took him out.
"He only plays the game one way -- all-out," Collins said, adding Bay told him he was dizzy but still wanted to stay in the game.
It was one more rough step for Bay since he's been in New York, where he has battled injuries and subpar performances.
The respect for the former All-Star is so great that several Reds mentioned how much sympathy they felt for him, even after enjoying their victory, which was punctuated by a home run from Brandon Phillips, two hits and three RBI from Wilson Valdez and six innings of three-run ball by Bronson Arroyo.
"I was happy for him," Joey Votto said of Bruce. "I'm not happy for Jason. Our fortune is the Mets' misfortune."
Scott Hairston, who replaced Bay in left field, homered for the Mets, who dropped their first game in the last four. Dillon Gee (4-5) allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in six innings, and he also created a little subplot when he hit Votto with a pitch with one out and no one on in the top of the third.
Both sides, including the hot-hitting Votto, who doubled in his first at-bat, said they didn't see any intent in the pitch. Five innings later, though, Reds reliever Sean Marshall hit the Mets' best player, David Wright, with a pitch.
Earlier this season, Collins removed Wright from a blowout loss to the Brewers after Milwaukee star Ryan Braun was hit by a pitch, because he said he didn't want him to get hit in the tit-for-tat tradition of the game. Collins said he was not surprised when Marshall hit Wright, referencing Reds manager Dusty Baker's admission he had pitcher Mat Latos throw inside at Cleveland Indians starter Derek Lowe on Wednesday. Lowe had hit Votto in a 2009 game while with the Atlanta Braves.
"When their guy got hit, they answered," Collins said, referring to the Lowe incident.
But Baker said Friday he didn't see intent in Gee's pitch and pointed instead to Wright's success against Marshall, saying Wright was 4-for-6 against him, as an example of Marshall trying to pitch inside as a way to get more effective against him.
Wright said he understood getting hit in that situation was part of the game and he appreciated the pitch being low instead of aimed toward his head.
After Bruce's homer helped Cincinnati take a 2-0 lead in the second, the Reds hiked the lead to 4-0 in the third on Phillips' two-run homer.
"He's coming on big-time," Baker said of Phillips, who hit his ninth homer and now has 40 RBI on the season.
Arroyo (3-4) shut out the Mets until Kirk Nieuwenhuis led off the sixth with his sixth homer of the season. Arroyo left after Hairston's two-run homer in the seventh cut the Reds' lead to 6-3.
Jose Arredondo retired the next three batters, and Marshall pitched a scoreless eighth before Valdez added an insurance run with a RBI single off Elvin Ramirez in the ninth.
Aroldis Chapman pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation.
Cincinnati tacked on two runs on three hits against Jeremy Hefner in the seventh, with Valdez hitting a two-run double for a 6-1 lead.
The Mets pulled within 6-3 on Hairston's two-run homer in the seventh.
NOTES: As expected, Major League Baseball denied the Mets' appeal of an official scorer's ruling of a hit on a first-inning play in R.A. Dickey's one-hitter Wednesday. Dickey said he appreciated the effort by the Mets, but that he was relieved that he was not retroactively credited with a no-hitter. ... Infielder Justin Turner was on his way to New York after a rehab appearance with Class AAA Buffalo, a Mets spokesman said. Turner would replace Bay, if Bay is placed on the disabled list. ... First baseman Ike Davis moved up to fifth in the lineup, after starting to finally shake out of his season-long slump recently. Entering Friday night's game, Davis had eight hits in his last 14 at-bats, with a homer and seven RBI. He went 1-for-2 with a walk Friday. ... Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs (strained left oblique) was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to June 6. Manager Dusty Baker said Stubbs should return by next weekend. ... With Stubbs on the DL and Chris Heisey out after feeling tightness in his left groin, Valdez made his first career start in center field. ... Infielder Willie Harris was called up from Class AAA Louisville to take Stubbs' roster spot.