Mets Wilt Under Heat, Reds Pitching & Hitting

On a day where the on-field temperature reached oven levels, Al Leiter couldn't take the heat. His fastball wasn't spotted where he wanted them spotted, and his cutter wasn't jamming in on the hitter's hands, which it absolutely has to do, allowing the hitters to get the barrel of the bat on the ball. Leiter, whose assortment of grimaces while pitching a good game, took on a circus funhouse mirror look during Sunday's game.

In a game where Leiter was both hammered and blooped to death and Elmer Dessens, the Reds' starting pitcher, seemed impervious to the heat, shutting down the previously hot Mets' bats for seven innings, it was not a good way to close out the last time the Mets would play at Cinergy Field, as they lost 9-1, needing a ninth-inning single by John Valentin to drive in Tony Tarasco to keep them from being shut out.

Back-to-back two-out looping base hits off of Leiter in the second inning got the Reds on the board first, with Juan Castro blooping a base hit to right to score rookie Brandon Larson, who had started the rally. Leiter then gave up a single to opposing pitcher Dessens, the third single in a row, to make the score 2-0.

The Reds added three more in the third to make it 5-0. After Barry Larkin scored on a throwing error by Vance Wilson on a bunt, former Met Kelly Stinnett singled in two runs.

Larkin made it 6-0, turning on a Leiter cutter that didn't cut, yanking it over the left field fence.

Bobby J. Jones came in to pitch the seventh and Stinnett doubled in another run for his third rbi of the day. Juan Castro followed with a single to score Stinnett, but was throw out at second to end the inning.

Larson hit his first career home run off of Jones in the seventh to make it 9-0.


- Valentin started at shorstop in place of Rey Ordonez. Ordonez pinch-hit in the eighth and was retired.

-Recently-called-up Jae Seo pitched an inning of mop-up duty in the bottom of the eighth. He gave up a couple of long foul ball drives, but otherwise pitched a perfect inning.

-Rookie Marco Scutaro, called up the other day to replace the injured Joe McEwing, got his first major league at bat in the ninth inning, and flied out.

-The Mets will return to New York for a 13-game homestand, beginning with a three game series against the Expos that kicks off on Monday. Jeff D'Amico(4-8, 5.02 E.R.A.) will attempt to regain his early-season dominating form while the Expos will counter with former Red Sox prospect Tomokazu Ohka(8-4, 3.31 E.R.A.)

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