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Reyes Leads NL Batting Race

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Jose Reyes (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Jose Reyes (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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By BEN WALKER
AP Baseball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ Jose Reyes hit two home runs, made a diving stop
and finished the day leading the NL batting race.

Still, he was disappointed.

“I feel like I didn’t do anything because we didn’t win,” he
said.

Reyes put pop into his bid for the batting crown, but the
Cincinnati Reds beat the New York Mets 5-4 on Tuesday night on Drew
Stubbs’ squeeze bunt in the 13th inning.

Reyes began the next-to-last game of the season with a minuscule
.00003 lead over Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun. Reyes went 3 for 6 and
raised his average to .336, finishing the evening one point ahead
of Braun, who went 1 for 2 in a 6-4 win over Pittsburgh.

The Mets wind up Wednesday afternoon against the Reds. Braun has
a night game.

“I’m going to play tomorrow, for sure,” Reyes said.

Juan Francisco, who entered after Reds star Brandon Phillips
exited early with a strained left quadriceps, hit a tying double
with two outs in the ninth. He then hustled for a triple in the
13th and scored on Stubbs’ bunt.

Justin Turner lined into a double play with the bases loaded to
end the game, leaving Reyes on deck.

Reyes certainly made his case to become the Mets’ first batting
champion. He launched a drive into the Reds’ bullpen in deep
right-center field in the third inning, scoring his 100th run of
the season. The next time up, the speedy leadoff man lined a drive
that banged the facade of the upper deck in right.

Cheered by fans who realize the All-Star shortstop might play
his final game for the Mets on Wednesday afternoon, Reyes came out
for a curtain call after that fifth-inning shot. The home runs gave
him seven this season and were his first since Aug. 2, a stretch
interrupted by an injured hamstring. This was his first multihomer
game since June 19, 2010.

Reyes, who will be a free agent after the season, said he
appreciated the crowd support, especially because “I don’t know if
I’m going to be in Citi Field next year.”

Reyes added an infield single with two outs in the ninth. He
fought off an inside fastball from Aroldis Chapman and beat out a
broken-bat dribbler down the third base line, taking second when
the reliever made a wild throw. Reyes stole third and bluffed a
dash home, trying to get Chapman to balk, but was left stranded.

The Reds left the bases loaded in the 10th when pinch-hitter
Dontrelle Willis struck out, and left them loaded again in the 11th
when Chris Heisey grounded out.

Reyes flied out to end the bottom of the 11th, emptying many of
the remaining fans at the ballpark.

Sam LeCure (2-1) got the win and Francisco Cordero held on for
his 37th save in 43 chances. Dale Thayer (0-3) took the loss.
Both of Reyes’ home runs came against Bronson Arroyo. The Reds
right-hander went eight innings and has pitched 199 season _ he
desperately wanted to reach 200 for the seventh straight year _ and
threw a complete game in his previous start. Arroyo left for a
pinch-hitter in the ninth.

Arroyo has allowed 46 homers this year. That’s two short of Jose
Lima’s NL record and four shy of the major league mark of 50 set by
Bert Blyleven in 1986.

“I really wanted to go deep in the ballgame, but I let a couple
balls out of the park. I was frustrated, but it’s good to see us
battle back for the win,” Arroyo said.

Jay Bruce hit his 32nd home run and Joey Votto hit his 29th for
the Reds.

Mets starter Chris Capuano struck out nine in six innings. It
was a strong effort, the kind the Boston Red Sox wanted when they
recently tried to trade for him to bolster their AL wild-card run.

Capuano was a pleasant surprise for the Mets, signed after two
Tommy John surgeries. The former All-Star, who missed two seasons
because of his injuries, didn’t miss a start this year and wound up
making 31 overall.

The Mets lost shortly after announcing they had picked up the
2013 option on manager Terry Collins’ contract.

NOTES: Reyes has had six two-homer games, plus a three-homer
performance. … Reyes also made a nifty diving stop up the middle
to rob Heisey of an RBI single in the eighth. … Edinson Volquez
(5-6, 5.84) will start the yearender for the Reds vs. Miguel
Batista (4-2, 4.24). … Mets LF Jason Bay, out of the lineup with
a sinus infection, was a pinch-runner in the 13th.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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