Mets Notes & Quotes: Ishii, Matsui team up

New York Mets Notes and Quotes for Wednesday, May 18: Kaz Ishii and Kaz Matsui - who else? - lead the Mets on Asian Night at Shea Stadium; Mike Cameron gets a crack at center field; Willie Randolph tests his limits...

Last Game: Mets 2, Reds 1. Kaz Ishii and Kaz Matsui played their roles to a tee on Asian Night at Shea Stadium – Ishii was strong in his first start off the disabled list, taking a shutout into the sixth inning, while Matsui blasted his way toward redemption with unhappy fans, cracking a two-run homer off Reds starter Ramon Ortiz in the seventh.

The Mets have won two straight over Cincinnati and will go for the sweep Wednesday, which would give New York quite the boost heading into this weekend's Yankees festivities – though, perhaps, not quite as big a boost as the Bombers' recent West Coast swing, which has seen them run a win streak to 10 games.

Regardless, Joe Torre's crew was the last thing in the Mets' heads Tuesday at Shea, where New York rolled to their 10th win in 16 games.

Ishii made sure that long man Victor Zambrano – to be used if Ishii floundered – stayed planted in the bullpen, stymieing the Reds with a 96-pitch outing, scattering three hits over 6-1/3 innings while walking two and fanning two.

Reliever Mike DeJean (3-1), who recorded two outs in the seventh inning, picked up the victory. Roberto Hernandez and Dae-Sung Koo brought the game to Braden Looper in the ninth inning, with Looper getting the final two outs for his 10th save.

The Mets are two games above .500 at 21-19 and have won two straight.

Notes, Quotes

PUT ME IN, COACH: Mets manager Willie Randolph hinted to reporters Tuesday that Mike Cameron – who volunteered this week to play center field in the event Carlos Beltran needs a day off – should finally get his chance to return to the middle of the outfield grass on Wednesday.

Beltran has started each of the Mets' 40 games to date, hitting .298 with six home runs and 24 RBI.

ROLE RELIEF: With three left-handed batters due up in the ninth inning for Cincinnati, Randolph took a strange tact – instead of calling upon closer Braden Looper, a right-hander, the call went to Dae-Sung Koo, the lone southpaw in New York's bullpen.

Though the move was certainly interesting and the latest indication yet that Randolph is growing more comfortable with managing his staff, it also didn't work. Koo got the first out on Sean Casey, but allowed a single to Ken Griffey, Jr. and walked Adam Dunn before Randolph was forced to bring in Looper.

OUT OF THE PICTURE: The Mets released pitcher Robert Keppel after Monday's game, making room for catcher Mike DiFelice on the club's 40-man roster.

Keppel, once a highly touted pitching prospect, wasn't pitching poorly at Triple-A Norfolk – the righthander was 2-1 with a 3.29 ERA over five starts, allowing 24 hits in 27.1 innings while striking out 19 and walking six.

There remains a good chance the Mets could re-sign Keppel to a minor league deal and keep him in the organization.

On Deck

  • The Mets go for a series sweep of the Reds on Wednesday afternoon at Shea Stadium, with Tom Glavine (2-4, 5.77) looking to build upon his last strong outing against the Cardinals five days ago at Shea Stadium. Eric Milton (2-4, 7.21) counters for Cincinnati in a matchup of southpaws; first pitch is 1:10 p.m.

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