By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Jay Bruce hit an inside-the-park homer that left
Jason Bay with yet another injury and the Cincinnati Reds beat the
New York Mets 7-3 on Friday night to give Bronson Arroyo his first
victory in 51/2 weeks.
Brandon Phillips added a two-run shot to extend his recent
hitting tear and the NL Central leaders followed up a three-game
sweep of intrastate rival Cleveland by winning the series opener at
Citi Field, a nice present for manager Dusty Baker on his 63rd
Arroyo, who was 0-3 in six starts since beating Milwaukee on May
7, found his form against one of his favorite opponents. The
right-hander entered 7-2 with a 2.81 ERA and three complete games
in his previous 12 starts against the Mets _ with five other
outings that lasted eight innings.
This time, Arroyo (3-4) was pulled in the seventh after giving
up Kirk Nieuwenhuis’ third homer in two games and a two-run drive
by Scott Hairston. Using his usual array of slow breaking balls and
odd angles, Arroyo yielded four hits while striking out five and
Wilson Valdez, making his first major league start in center
field, had a two-run double and three RBIs for Cincinnati. Jose
Arredondo, Sean Marshall and Aroldis Chapman each worked a hitless
inning out of the bullpen.
Reds slugger Joey Votto and Mets star David Wright were both hit
by pitches, but neither led to any trouble.
New York starter Dillon Gee (4-5) gave up four runs _ three
earned _ and five hits in six innings. The Mets had just returned
from Tampa Bay, where they outscored the Rays 29-9 for a three-game
sweep that salvaged a 4-5 road trip against three of baseball’s top
Bay was injured when he crashed into the wall while trying to
catch Bruce’s inside-the-park homer. The Mets said he left the game
with a possible concussion, the latest setback for a player who has
been an injury-plagued bust in New York since signing a $66
million, four-year contract before the 2010 season.
Bay missed the final two months of his first season with the
Mets because of a concussion he sustained while slamming into the
left-field fence to make a catch at Dodger Stadium.
Bruce led off the second inning with an opposite-field drive
into the left-field corner. Bay raced back, tumbled to the warning
track as the ball barely eluded him and then hit his head against
the lower part of the fence.
Bay, recently activated from the disabled list, struggled to get
to his feet and find the ball. He finally fired it toward the
infield, but Bruce slid across the plate to easily beat the relay.
It was Cincinnati’s first inside-the-park homer since Drew
Stubbs hit one against Toronto on June 17, 2011. The previous
inside-the-park shot against the Mets was hit by Blake DeWitt of
the Dodgers in Los Angeles on May 6, 2008.
Mets manager Terry Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez came out to
check on Bay, who limped slightly as he walked off the field with
Ramirez. Third baseman David Wright patted Bay on the head.
Hairston took over in left field. Moments later, he bobbled Ryan
Ludwick’s double down the left-field line for an error that allowed
a run to score.
Bay is batting .187 with four home runs and six RBIs. He was on
the disabled list from April 24 until June 6 with a broken rib and
is 2 for 25 with a home run since being activated.
NOTES: The Mets’ top two draft picks, SS Gavin Cecchini and C
Kevin Plawecki, took batting practice at Citi Field with general
manager Sandy Alderson watching from behind the cage. At a news
conference afterward, Cecchini called Alderson “Mr. Sandy” and
acknowledged he wears No. 2 because Yankees SS Derek Jeter is his
favorite player. “Can we strike that from the record?” Alderson
said. … The Reds placed CF Drew Stubbs on the 15-day disabled
list with a strained muscle on his left side and called up
utilityman Willie Harris from Triple-A Louisville. Harris, who
spent last season with the Mets, opened the ninth with a pinch-hit
double and scored on Valdez’s single. … Chris Heisey, who had
been subbing for Stubbs in center, was out of the starting lineup
after leaving Thursday’s game against Cleveland with a mild groin
strain. … REO Speedwagon was scheduled to perform after the game
as part of the Friday night postgame concert series at Citi Field.
… Talk-show host and political commentator Bill O’Reilly was
booed before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)