Mets manhandle Reds again, 6-2

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 6, 2003

CINCINNATI - Jeromy Burnitz's RBI double ended Danny Graves' no-hit bid in the seventh inning and started a four-run rally that swept the New York Mets to a 6-2 victory Saturday over the Cincinnati Reds.

Steve Trachsel (8-5) pitched six innings on a humid, 90-degree evening, keeping it scoreless until Graves faltered.

The heat got to Ken Griffey Jr., who felt dizzy during pregame warmups and was a late scratch from the Reds lineup. The conditions were right for Graves' sinker, which produced 11 groundouts in the first six innings.

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The closer-turned starter allowed only one runner through six, hitting Burnitz in the back as he tried to come up-and-in on a two-strike pitch in the first inning.

The majors' worst defense made five impressive plays to keep the no-hitter going until the seventh, when Graves (4-8) walked leadoff hitter Jay Bell. Burnitz, who had a homer and three hits in the Mets' 7-2 win Friday, hit the first pitch to the wall in left-center for a 1-0 lead.

Cliff Floyd then doubled for another run and took third on Ty Wigginton's bunt single. Wigginton alertly stole second when none of the Reds covered the base or called timeout after Jason Phillips' flyout to shallow left, and both runners scored on Vance Wilson's single.

Burnitz doubled again in the ninth and Floyd hit his 15th homer off Chris Reitsma to make it 6-1.

Trachsel gave up four hits and one walk in six innings. Kelly Stinnett hit a solo homer, his third, off Dan Wheeler in the seventh. David Weathers got the last four outs for his first save.

A capacity crowd of 41,020 cheered one sensational defensive play after another, then turned glum as Graves faded and the Reds headed for their 10th loss in 14 games.

Cincinnati fell five games under .500 (40-45) for the first time since May 4, when they were 13-18.

Graves made his second consecutive start in three days' rest, part of the Reds' shift to a four-man rotation. The quick turnarounds have invigorated his nastiest pitch - a sinker that works best when his arm's a little tired.

The Reds kept him out of trouble by turning nice plays on four consecutive grounders in the early innings.

Third baseman Aaron Boone took hits away from Wigginton and Jason Phillips on grounders in the second, and shortstop Barry Larkin stole hits from Wilson and Rey Sanchez on consecutive grounders.

Larkin took another hit from Phillips in the fifth, going several steps into the outfield to glove his grounder and throw him out from the hole.

Notes: It was the eighth regular-season sellout at Great American Ball Park. The Yankees sold out their three-game series last month. … The Mets haven't been no-hit since Sept. 8, 1993, when Houston's Darryl Kile did it. … OF Roger Cedeno was a late scratch from the Mets lineup because of a strained right triceps. Timo Perez took his place. … SS Jose Reyes was out of the lineup for a third consecutive game because of a tight hamstring. … Reds C Jason LaRue had tests on his left shoulder that found nothing more serious than a bruise. He was hit by a pitch last Sunday, and aggravated it while making a tag on Friday. He's expected to sit out a few games.