By Mike Steffanos
Game 35: Mets 8 - Reds 3
Two components of the Mets that have been MIA for much of the season wree present in winning the rubber game of the Reds series Sunday afternoon: Oliver Perez and extra base hits.
First Perez. For the first five innings, we saw the Oliver Perez who won 15 games last year. His fastball and slider were both effective, and his control was good enough.
It was after the Mets staked him to a 6-0 lead that Perez showed some cracks in his last inning of work, the sixth. With Griffey on first and one out (on a great catch by Church on a foul ball in the RF corner) Edwin Encarnacion hit a deep fly ball to Alou in LF. Alou got turned the wrong way and still managed to get a glove on it, but it fell for a double. If he made that catch there would have been a man on first and 2 outs, and it's conceivable Perez could have escaped the sixth.
A Dunn sac fly scored Griffey, and then a Jeff Keppinger triple plated Encarnacion. Perez capped his night by wild-pitching Keppinger home before securing the final out. Again, not a perfect afternoon for Perez, but a solid performance.
The hot-and-cold Jose Reyes showed up for this one, going 3-5 with a double and scoring a pair of runs. Carlos Beltran had a homer and 3 more RBI, pushing his total to 8 in the series and 21 on the season. I pointed out a few days ago that Beltran only had 13 RBI in 1/5 of the season. Obviously he realized it was time to step up.
The bad news is that Luis Castillo left the game with quad tightness, but the Mets are a little stronger offensively with Easley or Marlon Anderson playing second anyway.
The Mets now sit at 3 games over .500, 19-16, and you wonder whether this is the start of a run of solid play or just another tease. Stay tuned.