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Mets Win: Close In On Braves


The New York Mets are closing in on the first-place Braves. But they aren't scoreboard watching yet.

Mike Piazza and Robin Ventura hit back-to-back homers in the first inning to lead the New York Mets to a 7-3 win over the Montreal Expos on Wednesday night.

The win pulled the Mets to within two games of Atlanta in the NL East. The Braves lost 2-0 at Florida.

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Game Summary

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  • "After the game, you can do that," Ventura said. "But any time you start looking at the scoreboard, it takes away from what you're doing and who you're playing and you can find yourself vulnerable to getting beat."

    Rick Reed, who hit an RBI double and won his fifth straight decision for the Mets, agreed that it's too early to be checking scores.

    "We've still got a ways to go," Reed said. "We've got a lot of baseball to play. I don't think that starts until September. I think that's like an unwritten rule. If you're in it, you scoreboard-watch in September. Or admit it."

    Rickey Henderson scored New York's sixth run on Edgardo Alfonzo's RBI double in the seventh for his 2,063rd career run, passing Willie Mays for fifth place all-time.

    "I think I'm just blessed," Henderson said. "You get excited if you go out and win the ballgame. I'm just happy to be in that class and to get that opportunity."

    Rondell White and Vladimir Guerrero hit consecutive homers for Montreal.

    Reed (8-3) allowed three runs two earned and 10 hits in six innings as the Mets won for the 10th time in their last 15 games.

    "I got groundballs when I needed them, some of them just found holes," Reed said. "I was pretty much happy with the way I kept the ball down."

    John Olerud drew a two-out walk in the first and Piazza followed with his 20th homer of the season off Dan Smith (1-5). Ventura then drove Smith's next pitch into the right-field stands for his 17th homer as the Mets homered in consecutive at-bats for the fifth time this season.

    "Mike and Robin killed those two balls and, not that we loosened up at all, but it allowed Ricto have a little delay and make a couple of mistakes and get away with it," Mets manager Bobby Valentine said. "But a win's a win and we got it tonight."

    Guerrero's RBI single in the bottom half of the first cut the lead to 3-1.

    The Mets chased Smith with three straight hits to lead off the second, including Reed's RBI double which made it 4-1.

    Smith lasted just 1 1-3 innings, allowing four runs on five hits. He is 0-5 in his last seven starts since winning his major league debut with a three-hit, seven-inning outing against the Boston Red Sox on June 8.

    "He didn't have it," Expos manager Felipe Alou said. "He's been sick for a few days. I think he was throwing the ball pretty good. He just had no command, especially with his fastball. I had to take him out after (Reed) got the hit."

    J.D. Smart relieved Smith and picked off Reed at second base before Rickey Henderson, who has 999 career RBIs, hit a two-out double.

    Smart retired the next 10 batters before Edgardo Alfonzo and Olerud hit consecutive doubles with two outs in the fifth to put the Mets ahead 5-1.

    Montreal drew to within two when White led off the sixth with his 11th homer and Guerrero followed with his 20th on Reed's next pitch to make it 5-3.

    The Mets added two runs on Alfonzo's second straight double to score Henderson in the seventh and Brian McRae's RBI grounder in the eighth.

    Notes:

  • Pete Rose is in fourth place for career runs scored with 2,165.
  • Mets starters are a combined 21-8 over the last 40 games.
  • Henderson's one-out grounder in the seventh bounced off third baseman Shane Andrews' glove to shortstop Orlando Cabrera, who threw to second for the second out.
  • Guerrero leads the Expos with 70 RBIs, more than twice as many as Chris Widger, the next highest Montreal player with 34.
  • White spent two stints on the 15-day DL since he hit his last homer on June 5 at Toronto.
  • Montreal has homered in consecutive at-bats six times this season, the last time on May 25 at Philadelphia when Jose Vidro and Orlando Merced hit back-to-back homers in the fourth off Chad Ogea.
  • Brad Fullmer went 3-for-4 with two doubles for Montreal.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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