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Mets Lose Pace In NL East

For Jay Bell, redemption is becoming routine.

Bell, whose error opened the way for two unearned runs in the sixth inning, went 3-for-4 with two RBIs as the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied to beat the New York Mets 5-3 Saturday night.

Bell's two-out double into the left-field corner scored Tony Womack from first for the go-ahead run in the seventh.

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  • "Jay's been around too long to wallow around in self-pity," Arizona manager Buck Showalter said. "He's one of the reasons we are where we are right now."

    It was the second time in four games that Bell had atoned for a costly error with the game-winning hit. Bell's two errors in one play against Florida allowed the tying two runs to score last Wednesday, then he hit the game-winning home run the next time Arizona came to bat.

    "That's certainly coincidental," Bell said. "That's not something that you can orchestrate at all. Certainly whenever you make an error, you want to try to do your best to help your team come back and get those runs back. But you don't expect to get individual redemption. You want to get team redemption."

    Matt Williams hit his 31st home run on a 3-0 pitch off reliever Pat Mahomes in the eighth.

    Ex-Met Armando Reynoso (10-2) allowed one earned run on six hits in six innings. He struck out three, walked two, had a balk and a wild pitch.

    Matt Mantei pitched a perfect ninth for his 24rd save in 28 tries. He is 14-for-16 in saves sice being traded to Arizona from Florida. The capacity crowd was on its feet roaring as Mantei struck out the last two batters.

    "This place was rocking when I got a couple of strikes on a guy," Mantei said. "That's a blast. I've got to get used to that, because that's how it's going to be in the playoffs."

    Dennis Cook (10-4) took the loss in relief as the Mets fell 2 1/2 games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East.

    Arizona has won 11 of its last 13 and stayed 8 1/2 games ahead of second-place San Francisco in the NL West.

    With the score tied at 3 and Womack safe at first on a fielder's choice, Bell lined a shot that got past Rickey Henderson in left field.

    "It took a little hop and skipped by Rickey," manager Bobby Valentine said. "It seemed like he was ready to snag it, but it picked up some steam. Womack doesn't score if he cuts it off."

    New York took a 3-1 lead with the two unearned runs in the sixth. Second baseman Bell, playing on the outfield grass far deeper than he normally would, had to charge John Olerud's ground ball and booted it as it took a tough bounce when it hit the lip of the grass.

    "You don't expect him to hit a slow roller like he did," Bell said. "You have to determine whether you want to charge it or stay back. Unfortunately it hit the lip a little bit. It was just one of those freak things."

    Olerud took second on Reynoso's wild pitch and scored on Robin Ventura's double down the right-field line. Roger Cedeno, who was 2-for-3 with two RBIs, drove in Ventura with a two-out single.

    The Diamondbacks scored twice with two outs in the sixth to tie it at 3. With one out, Bell and Gonzalez singled. Williams struck out, but Erubiel Durazo lined a single to center to drive in Bell.

    Cook, a lefty, relieved starter Orel Hershiser to face the left-handed Steve Finley. Finley broke his bat on a soft grounder that bounded past the mound, leaving everyone safe as Gonzalez scored the tying run from third.

    The Mets and Diamondbacks are 1-1 going into the rubber game of the series Sunday night.

    "The breaks went their way tonight," Cook said. "The whole series is going to come down to whoever gets big hits and plays fundamentally sound baseball. Both teams are playing good baseball."/B>

    Each team scored its first run in the fourth. The Mets' Mike Piazza walked, moved to second on a balk and scored on Cedeno's two-out single.

    Womack led off Arizona's fourth with a walk, went to second on his major league-leading 59th steal, and scored on Bell's single to center, Arizona's first hit off Hershiser.


  • Cedeno, who entered the game tied with Womack for the major league lead in stolen bases, was thrown out by catcher Damian Miller trying to steal second in the fourth inning. In the fourth, Arizona's Luis Gonzalez grounded to the first baseman Olerud for what looked to be a sure double play, but Olerud couldn't get the ball out of his glove because the string in the webbing came loose.
  • Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 12 games, his fourth double-digit streak of the year.
  • The crowd of 47,076 was Arizona's sixth sellout of the season.
  • Arizona is 6-2 against the Mets this season.

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