July 26, 2011
AP Baseball Writer
CINCINNATI — Carlos Beltran’s sacrifice fly started a four-run rally in the seventh inning off Cincinnati’s bullpen on Monday night, and the New York Mets held on for a 4-2 victory over the Reds, who couldn’t get that elusive third straight win.
The Mets rallied against Mike Leake (8-6) and two relievers, stopping Cincinnati’s modest two-game winning streak. The Reds haven’t won three in a row since they swept the Dodgers from June 13-15.
R.A. Dickey (5-8) allowed eight hits and a pair of runs in 6 2-3 innings. Jason Isringhausen struck out Brandon Phillips with the bases loaded to end the opener of the four-game series.
The biggest intrigue for the Mets is whether Beltran will still be with them when they leave town on Thursday. Manager Terry Collins thinks Beltran can handle the possibility of a trade without problem. The outfielder had the game-tying sacrifice fly, but went 0 for 3 otherwise, ending his streak of reaching base safely in 30 straight games.
Collins is more interested in how the rest of the team would react.
“I think the first thing I have to do, if there’s a trade, is see how the team reacts to it,” Collins said. “I want to see how they deal with it, what their conversations are about. I have to get a feel for that.”
Both teams know their biggest problem lately — getting a hit with runners in scoring position. They had trouble with it again until the Mets finally broke through in the seventh.
Jose Reyes and Justin Turner had one-out singles off Leake, who left the game with a pitch count at 112. Beltran tied it with his fly out against left-hander Bill Bray. David Wright singled home the tiebreaker off Logan Ondrusek, and Daniel Murphy and Jason Bay followed with RBI doubles.
Wright has driven in seven runs since coming off the disabled list on Friday. He was sidelined on May 18 with a stress fracture in his lower back. The third baseman is 8 for 19 in his four games back.
Wright’s one-out error in the ninth gave the Reds a chance to tie. Isringhausen gave up a two-out single to Miguel Cairo, then walked Jay Bruce. He fanned Phillips on four pitches for his third save in six chances.
Phillips doubled home a run in the sixth, and Dickey left after giving up Drew Stubbs’ RBI single with two outs in the seventh. A bullpen that has struggled lately made it interesting and gave Reds fans a moment to reminisce.
After Dickey left, Pedro Beato walked Cairo to put runners on first and second. Collins then brought in left-hander Tim Byrdak to face Bruce in a sentimental matchup.
Bruce hit a first-pitch, game-ending homer off Byrdak last Sept. 28 for a 3-2 win over Houston that clinched the NL Central title. This time, Byrdak fanned him on three pitches.
Notes: Reyes has scored in each of his last seven games. … Reds 1B Joey Votto was out of the starting lineup for only the second time this season, getting a day of rest. Votto pinch hit in the eighth and flied out. He’s 2 for 18 in his last six games. … OF Chris Heisey got an MRI on his left shoulder that was negative. Heisey was sore after bumping the outfield wall while going for a fly ball on Sunday night.