By JOE KAY AP Baseball Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) _ Lucas Duda took over for Carlos Beltran _ off
somewhere weighing a trade _ and homered Wednesday night to help
the New York Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-2 in what might have
been their last game before parting with the All-Star outfielder.
Beltran had 24 hours to decide whether to approve a trade to the
San Francisco Giants, who need a slugger in their pursuit of a
second straight World Series title. Beltran wasn’t at Great
American Ball Park on Wednesday.
Duda will get a lot more time in right field when Beltran
leaves. The rookie homered off Bronson Arroyo (7-9), who couldn’t
extend his long run of success against the Mets.
Mike Pelfrey (6-9) gave up seven hits in his second complete
game this season, including Joey Votto’s second homer of the
David Wright also homered and drove in four runs. Daniel Murphy
had a career-high four hits.
The Mets have won the first three games in the series against a
Reds team that’s turned uncharacteristically sloppy. They had
another error _ their fourth in the last two games _ and a passed
ball that helped New York pull ahead.
The defending NL Central champions fell a season-high four games
under .500 at 50-54, stranded in fourth place.
The Mets moved two games over .500 even as they prepared to part
with their best hitter. They’ve been shopping Beltran for weeks,
looking for the best match before Sunday’s trade deadline rather
than risk losing him for nothing in free agency this winter.
The outfielder has the right to block any trade.
While Beltran was away from the ballpark thinking about the
trade, Duda _ the club’s minor league player of the year in 2010 _
let it sink in that he could be playing a lot more in an
unaccustomed position. He’s more familiar with left field and first
“I’ll try my best out there and see what happens,” he said.
Mets manager Terry Collins didn’t hesitate to plug him into
Beltran’s spot in right.
“He’d better get comfortable real fast,” Collins said.
Didn’t take long.
Duda opened the sixth inning with his second homer of the season
off Arroyo, who has given up 30 overall, the most in the majors.
It’s a bad sign for the Reds when Arroyo can’t beat the Mets. The
right-hander was 7-1 in his previous 10 starts against New York,
and was 5-0 in his last six outings against the Mets, allowing a
total of 13 runs.
This time, he lasted six innings and gave up five runs.
New York blew it open with Wright’s three-run homer in the
seventh off Jose Arredondo, making it 8-1. Wright has been on a
hitting tear since he returned from a stress fracture in his lower
back, going 12 for 28 with two homers and 11 RBIs in six games. He
also had a sacrifice fly off Arroyo.
Pelfrey gave up Votto’s solo homer in the fourth and Chris
Heisey’s sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Notes: The teams conclude their series Thursday afternoon. They
play again at Citi Field from Sept. 26-28. … The Mets haven’t
swept a series in Cincinnati since 2003, when they took three games
during Great American Ball Park’s inaugural season. … If Beltran
approves the deal to the Giants, he’ll be back soon. San Francisco
opens a weekend series in Cincinnati on Friday. … Arroyo’s 30
homers allowed are one shy of his career high. He gave up 31 in
2006 and 2009, both with Cincinnati. … Votto is 5 for 14 with
three homers career off Pelfrey.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)