Cincinnati 1B homers twice in win over Mets

NEW YORK (AP) -- Sean Casey knows he's a long way from catching
teammate Ken Griffey Jr. on the career home run chart.

Casey quickly made up some ground with a big game Wednesday
night, though.

The Cincinnati first baseman hit his second two-run homer of the
game in the 12th inning and matched a career high with five hits,
sending the Reds to a 6-4 victory over the New York Mets.

"You don't want to play until 11 o'clock and walk away with a
loss," Casey said. "We haven't been playing too well on the road,
so this was huge for us."

Griffey went 0-for-5 with a walk in his second game since
hitting his 500th homer, but Casey carried the offense. He homered
off Jae Seo in the first inning, then sent an 0-1 pitch from John
Franco into the right-field bullpen in the 12th for his 100th
career homer.

"I'm only 400 behind, so that'll take me about another 35
years. One-hundred is pretty good, so I guess I can tell my kids
about that," Casey said. "It's taken me 6˝ years to get to 100,
so you do the math."

Wily Mo Pena and D'Angelo Jimenez also connected for the Reds,
who snapped New York's season-high winning streak at five games.
They blew a 4-0 lead but still managed to win for only the second
time in 12 road games.

New York's Mike Piazza doubled leading off the eighth and scored
on Richard Hidalgo's RBI single against Todd Jones, tying it at 4.

With two outs in the 12th, Juan Castro doubled off Franco (1-4),
bringing Casey to the plate with an open base and Griffey on deck.
Mets manager Art Howe went out to the mound to talk to Franco, and
they decided to go after Casey.

"I said I had decent success with him," Franco said. "Last
night I pitched and got him out. Tonight I just got it a little
low. I made a bad pitch."

Casey finished 5-for-6 with three singles, raising his batting
average 10 points to .361.

"Unbelievable. You can't stop that guy," Reds reliever Danny
Graves said. "I think he went two games without a hit, so he was
due to break out sometime soon. When he's on, you can pretty much
throw anything up there and you can't get him out."

Mike Matthews (2-1) pitched a hitless 11th, and Graves got three
outs for his 28th save in 35 chances. John Riedling got out of a
first-and-third, one-out jam in the ninth.

"We had our opportunities to put them away," Howe said. "It
was our game to be had, but it slipped away from us."

Griffey did make a key defensive play to help Cincinnati.

He started a strong relay to cut down Kaz Matsui at the plate in
the fifth. Matsui held up too long at second base waiting to see if
Griffey could catch Piazza's shot off the center-field fence.

"With one out, unless you know he's going to catch the ball,
you should go halfway," Howe said.

Jose Reyes was left at second, and Piazza wound up with a long
single. Cliff Floyd followed with an RBI single, cutting it to 4-3.

Casey connected for a two-run homer in the first, giving him 500
career RBI. He had his seventh multihomer game, three this season.

"Oh yeah, this is a common occurrence for me," Casey joked.
"This is probably one of the best nights I've ever had in my

Pena hit his sixth home run to right-center on the first pitch
of the second. Two outs later, Jimenez sent a 1-2 pitch over the
right-field fence, drawing boos from the crowd of 32,423.

Reyes hit an RBI double with two outs in the third and scored on
Piazza's single, cutting it to 4-2.

Gold Glove center fielder Mike Cameron made probably his best
play as a Met, diving in left-center to rob Pena of extra bases in
the fourth.

Reds starter Todd Van Poppel gave up eight hits in five innings
and left with a 4-3 lead. But the bullpen cost him a win for the
third time in his last five starts.

Seo allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings.

Game notes
Casey also got five hits on June 6, 1999, at Kansas City.
... With the Mets out of position players, RHP Steve Trachsel pinch
hit in the 11th and grounded out. ... With the shift on, New York
turned a 6-5-3 double play against Griffey in the third. ... Matsui
snapped an 0-for-18 skid with a soft single in the fifth. ... Van
Poppel has not lost in five starts since May 26 against Florida.
... Mets OF Karim Garcia went to Baltimore to seek a second opinion
on his sore left wrist and could wind up on the disabled list. ...
Two of New York's injured relievers, RHP Orber Moreno and RHP Scott
Strickland, struggled in rehab outings for Class A St. Lucie.