July 26, 2002: Vaughn Singles in 9th

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Date: July 26, 2002
Mets starter: Pedro Astacio
Mets: 3
Reds: 2
Winning pitcher: Mark Guthrie
Key player(s): Mo Vaughn, Mark Guthrie
Key play: Vaughn’s single in 9th

The Mets and Reds faced each other on a Friday night at Shea Stadium. The teams began a three-game series in front of 46,466 fans on hand. Mo Vaughn’s run-scoring single in the ninth inning gave the Mets a 3-2 win over Cincinnati.

Mets’ starter Pedro Astacio shut down the Reds in the top of the first. In the bottom half, Roberto Alomar led off with a single and Timo Perez reached on an error by first baseman Adam Dunn. Cincinnati starter Elmer Dessens walked Mike Piazza to load the bases. Vaughn hit a ground ball to third baseman Aaron Boone on which Alomar was forced out at home. Catcher Jason LaRue threw to Dunn to complete a double play. Edgardo Alfonzo drew a walk to reload the bases and Jeromy Burnitz was hit by a pitch to force home Perez. Dessens then retired Jay Payton on a grounder back to the mound to end the inning.

Astacio and Dessens each pitched one-hit scoreless ball in the second and third innings. In the fourth, Astacio pitched a perfect top half and Payton singled to begin the bottom half. Rey Ordonez flied out to left fielder Russell Branyan and a single by Astacio moved Payton to third base. Alomar singled to bring home Payton with the Mets’ second run. Perez hit a pop-up to shortstop Barry Larkin on which Astacio was doubled up at second to end the inning. Pedro yielded only a single to Dessens in a scoreless top of the fifth. The Mets were then set down in order by Dessens in the bottom of the inning.

Boone hit a single to open the top of the sixth. Dunn flied out to center fielder Payton and a single by Ken Griffey, Jr. sent Boone to second. Austin Kearns singled to score Boone and moved to second base on an error by left fielder Perez. Branyan was walked intentionally to load the bases. Juan Castro hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Griffey and tie the game at 2-2. Astacio threw a called third strike past LaRue to end the inning. Dessens then pitched a perfect bottom half.

Astacio set down all three Cincinnati batters on ground balls in the top of the seventh. Dessens and Reds’ reliever Bruce Chen combined for a scoreless bottom of the inning. With one out in the top of the eighth, Mets’ reliever Mark Guthrie hit Griffey with a pitch. Kearns hit a line drive to Payton for the second out. With Branyan at bat, Griffey was caught on Guthrie’s pickoff attempt and thrown out at second base. Cincinnati’s John Riedling pitched a scoreless bottom half. Guthrie then retired the Reds 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth inning.

Ordonez singled and advanced to second on pinch-hitter Marco Scutaro’s sacrifice bunt to start the bottom of the ninth. Alomar was walked intentionally and Perez hit a force play grounder to shortstop Castro. Timo went to second on defensive indifference and Riedling walked Piazza to load the bases. Vaughn followed with a single to center field to drive home Ordonez with the winning run. The Mets had a victory to begin the weekend series.