July 18, 2006: Homers and Doubles Beat Reds

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Date: July 18, 2006
Mets starter: Mike Pelfrey
Mets: 8
Reds: 3
Winning pitcher: Mike Pelfrey
Key player(s): Carlos Beltran, Jose Valentin, Xavier Nady
Key play: Nady’s and Valentin’s home runs, Beltran’s grand slam

The Mets faced the Reds on a Tuesday night in Cincinnati. The teams played the opener of a three-game series. Three home runs and two doubles provided all the scoring for the Mets in an 8-3 win.

Mike Pelfrey and the Reds’ Eric Milton each started the game with two scoreless innings pitched. Leading off the top of the third, Xavier Nady homered for a 1-0 New York lead. Milton retired the next three batters to end the inning and Pelfrey hurled a scoreless bottom half. Milton surrendered only a walk to Carlos Beltran in the top of the fourth. Pelfrey then set down the side in order in the bottom of the inning.

With two outs in the top of the fifth, Jose Valentin hit a solo home run. Pelfrey went down on strikes to close out the inning and followed up by pitching a scoreless bottom half. Jose Reyes drew a leadoff walk in the top of the sixth. Paul Lo Duca hit a double to drive home Reyes and increase the Mets’ lead to 3-0. Beltran grounded out to shortstop Royce Clayton and a strikeout of Carlos Delgado ensued. David Wright was given an intentional walk. Milton then retired Cliff Floyd on a fly ball to right fielder Chris Denorfia that ended the inning.

Rich Aurelia singled against Pelfrey with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Aurelia advanced to second base on a wild pitch and to third on Scott Hatteberg’s single to center field. Brandon Phillips grounded out to second baseman Valentin to drive home Aurelia with the Reds’ first run of the game. Clayton followed with a single that scored Hatteberg and reduced the Mets’ lead to 3-2. On his own hit, Clayton was out at second via a throw by right fielder Nady to shortstop Reyes to finish off the inning.

Nady singled to lead off the top of the seventh. Valentin got a bunt single and a sacrifice bunt by pinch-hitter Eli Marrero moved the runners to second and third base. Reyes grounded out to catcher Jason LaRue and a walk to Lo Duca loaded the bases. Beltran hit a grand slam to extend the Mets’ lead to 7-2. Milton then got Delgado to fly out to center fielder Ken Griffey, Jr. and end the inning.

Mets’ reliever Chad Bradford retired LaRue on a ground ball to third baseman Wright to begin the bottom of the seventh. Pinch-hitter DeWayne Wise singled and advanced to second base on Denorfia’s ground out back to Bradford. Adam Dunn singled against New York’s Pedro Feliciano to drive home Wise with the third Cincinnati run of the game. Feliciano struck out Griffey to finish off the inning and the Reds’ Jason Standridge pitched a scoreless top of the eighth. Feliciano and Mets’ reliever Duaner Sanchez then combined for a scoreless bottom half.

Endy Chavez singled against Cincinnati reliever Bill Bray to open the top of the ninth. Reyes followed with a force play ground ball to Clayton and went to second base on Lo Duca’s ground out to second baseman Phillips. Beltran hit a double to bring home Reyes with the Mets’ eighth run. Bray then retired Delgado on a grounder to Phillips that closed out the inning.

Mets’ reliever Billy Wagner got pinch-hitter Ryan Freel on a ground ball to Reyes to start the bottom of the ninth. Denorfia drew a walk and Dunn went down on strikes. Wagner then retired Griffey on a fly ball to center fielder Beltran for the game’s final out. The Mets had a solid victory to begin the series.