Speed, speed and more speed.
The New York Mets practically ran the Tampa Bay Devil Rays out of their own ballpark for the second straight game, stealing five bases in a 9-7 victory Friday night.
Matt Franco hit a two-run homer and Mike Piazza continued his torrid hitting, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. But it was the speed of Rickey Henderson and Roger Cedeno that devastated the Devil Rays.
Cedeno also had two hits and swiped two bases, hiking his major league-leading total to 50. The five steals by the Mets were one shy of the club record.
"The biggest thing is to keep them off base, and we haven't done that," Devil Rays manager Larry Rothschild said of Henderson and Cedeno, who have eight stolen bases in the series.
Henderson has reached base in eight of 10 plate appearances, while Cedeno with help from a couple of Tampa Bay errors has been on seven of 10 times.
"We've scored a lot of runs the past couple of nights without the middle of our order doing a lot of damage," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "That's the sign of a good team."
Rick Reed (7-3) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings to win his fourth straight decision.
The Devil Rays scored two runs in the ninth off Jason Isringhausen on Terrell Lowery's double, two wild pitches and a passed ball. Dennis Cook relieved with a runner on second and two outs, and struck out John Flaherty for his second save.
Piazza, who's taken up where he left off before the All-Star break, had a pair of RBI singles and also doubled. He's 12-for-24 with three homers and 11 RBIs in his last six games.
The Mets, whose 25-11 record since June 6 is the best in the majors, improved to 10-4 in interleague play. The Devil Rays are 2-12 and have lost 23 of 30 all-time against NL opponents.
The Mets scored three runs in the third, only to blow the 3-0 lead in the bottom half wheMiguel Cairo and Flaherty singled in runs and Wade Boggs moved closer to 3,000 career hits with a RBI double for Tampa Bay.
Boggs' 2,983rd hit moved him one ahead of San Diego's Tony Gwynn, who's on the disabled list.
John Olerud and Mike Piazza had RBI singles for New York in the third, while the last run of the inning scored on Bobby Witt's wild pitch. Edgardo Alfonzo's two-run single chased the Tampa Bay starter and gave the Mets a 5-3 lead in the fourth.
The Devil Rays battled back to tie the game again on Herbert Perry's two-run homer off Reed in the fifth. Henderson broke the 5-5 tie with his RBI single in the sixth, and Piazza's run-scoring single off White made it 7-5.
Franco's fourth homer, which made it 9-5, came after Brian McRae led off the seventh with a single.
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