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New York outguns Cincinnati

NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York Mets fell behind by three runs
early against a team with an undefeated pitcher on the mound and
Ken Griffey Jr. in the lineup.

That's just a minor setback for a squad as confident as the Mets
these days.

Mike Piazza hit a go-ahead home run in the fifth inning and Mike Cameron fell a homer shy of the cycle, leading the Mets to their season-high fifth straight win, 7-4 over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.

"We were a little frustrated early on and got behind," Piazza
said. "But we didn't panic. We just kept chipping away."

In his first game since hitting his 500th homer, Griffey went
1-for-5 with a single. He was mostly cheered by the Shea Stadium
crowd of 19,301, who showed up possibly hoping to see home run No.
501.

But it was the Mets who had the big hits. Cliff Floyd added a
solo homer for the Mets, who came back from a 4-1 deficit in the
third to win for the seventh time in eight games and move above
.500 at 35-34.

"It's a great feeling," manager Art Howe said. "There's just
no quit in this ballclub."

John Franco (1-3) came on for Matt Ginter in the fifth and
pitched two perfect innings. It was his first win since Sept. 17,
2001, at Pittsburgh. That was his 41st birthday -- and the Mets' first game
back after the Sept. 11 attacks.

"It seems like a decade ago," Franco said. "That's the
earliest I've been in a game, so I was kind of caught off-guard,
like a deer in headlights, but I'll take it."

Braden Looper pitched the ninth for his 13th save in 15
opportunities, striking out Griffey, Adam Dunn and Jason LaRue to
end it.

Griffey made casual comments after the game, but wouldn't
discuss the game with reporters.

"One of the big stories tonight was the bullpen," Howe said.
"Johnny brought a little sanity out there. He put up some zeros
for us, and we were able to score some runs with him in there."

Piazza gave the Mets a 5-4 lead with one out in the fifth when
he hit a 2-2 pitch from Paul Wilson into the picnic area in left
field.

"I was just trying to not overswing," Piazza said. "I just
kind of felt good that at-bat and was able to stay back on it."

The Mets added another run in the sixth on Eric Valent's
sacrifice fly. Cameron, who was 3-for-3, led off with a triple, and
Valent lifted a deep fly to center one out later to make it 6-4.

The Mets added another run in the eighth on pinch-hitter Joe McEwing's run-scoring groundout.

"It's just a sign of a good team starting to come together,"
Cameron said. "Paul Wilson was pretty good, but we were able to
get to him."

Wilson (7-1) allowed six runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. He
struck out nine and walked one.

The right-hander was making his third career start against the
team that selected him with the No. 1 pick in the 1994 draft. His
career with the Mets was plagued by injuries, including missing all
or parts of three seasons (1997-99) with operations on his right
shoulder.

"We did what we were supposed to, but I just couldn't hold
them," Wilson said. "We scored early, and I let them into the
game. That's my job -- to keep them down, and I really didn't do
it."

The Reds got off to a good start for Wilson, taking a 1-0 lead
in the second on Dunn's team-leading 20th homer, which went over the bullpen in
right field.

Floyd tied it in the Mets' half of the inning, leading off by
hitting a 1-1 pitch from Wilson for his seventh homer.

Cincinnati scored three times in the third to take a 4-1 lead
against Ginter.

D'Angelo Jimenez hit a leadoff single; Griffey singled one out later; and Dunn drove in Jimenez with a ground-rule double. LaRue followed with a run-scoring single to make it 3-1, and Jermaine Clark's double drove in the Reds' fourth run.

The Mets tied it again with a three-run fourth. Floyd and
Richard Hidalgo hit consecutive singles to lead off the inning, and
Cameron doubled over Griffey in center to make it 4-2. One out
later, Valent hit a run-scoring groundout and Shane Spencer hit a
pinch-hit single to left-center to tie it.

"It wasn't vintage Willie," Reds manager Dave Miley said.
"They scratched some runs off him. He got us deep in the game,
though. But still, they got some big hits off him."

Game notes
Ginter lasted just four innings, allowing four runs and
nine hits. ... Piazza tied Rocky Colavito for 55th on the career
list with his 374th homer. Next up is Carlton Fisk, who hit 376.
... Wilson was trying to become the first Reds starter to open a
season 8-0 since Mike LaCoss did it in 1979.