Mets use HRs to whip Reds

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 30, 2004

CINCINNATI - Finally away from New York, Cliff Floyd relaxed and let things happen.

Floyd hit two of New York's three homers off Todd Van Poppel, driving in four runs and leading the Mets to a 7-5 victory Tuesday over the Cincinnati Reds.

Ty Wigginton added a two-run shot as the Mets rebounded from their doubleheader sweep by the Yankees on Sunday. They've won two of their last six games overall.

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No one took the weekend harder than Floyd, who went only 1-for-13 at Yankee Stadium.

Worse, his private flight to Cincinnati on Tuesday got delayed by a traffic backup in New York, where Vice President Dick Cheney attended a Yankees-Red Sox game. Floyd didn't get to the ballpark until about three hours before the first pitch.

Once he got onto the field, he forgot about the last few days in New York.

''I just let the atmosphere of the city and the Bronx get to me,'' Floyd said. ''I tried to do too much. When you don't let your talent come out, that's what you get.''

Jae Seo (4-5) and four relievers held on against a Reds lineup missing two of its top hitters - Ken Griffey Jr. and Sean Casey.

Griffey was a late scratch because of cramps in his left calf, but pinch-hit against Braden Looper in the ninth and singled to load the bases with none out, ending the worst slump of his career.

Griffey has gone 2-for-28 since hitting his 500th career homer on June 20, with his single Tuesday ending a career-worst 0-for-24 stretch.

Barry Larkin grounded into a run-scoring double play that undercut the rally and helped Looper get his 14th save in 16 chances. Adam Dunn grounded out to end it.

Looper was just trying to make it through an off-night.

''You've got to go out and battle with what you've got,'' said Looper, who didn't have much on his pitches. ''It was one of those situations where you're trying to limit the damage. That was my focus.''

Casey, who is batting .352, is expected to miss the entire series with a strained right calf. He hurt it while running out a single last Sunday.

''We did what we could,'' Larkin said. ''I'd like to have seen what would have happened if Casey was hitting against Looper. It's a blow anytime you lose players of that caliber.''

The Reds managed only one run in the first five innings off Seo, who faded but got his first victory since June 3. Brandon Larson hit a two-run homer and Larkin doubled home a run as the Reds rallied from a 7-1 deficit in the seventh.

Van Poppel (3-3) had his roughest outing since he moved into the rotation after Jimmy Haynes was waived last month. The right-hander gave up a season-high seven runs in only 5 1-3 innings, with Floyd doing most of the damage.

Floyd was hit on the leg in the second inning and came around on a groundout and Mike Cameron's single.

Floyd pulled the first pitch from Van Poppel over the wall in right, just inside the foul pole, for a 2-1 lead in the fourth. He hit a three-run shot, also on the first pitch, into the seats in left-center field in the sixth inning.

''I said if he threw the first pitch for a strike, I'm going to hit it,'' Floyd said. ''It was good to get good swings at the ball.''

Floyd's first two-homer game of the season gave him 10 overall. He has nine two-homer games in his career.

Richard Hidalgo followed Floyd with a single, and Wigginton hit his seventh homer deep into the seats in left for a 7-1 lead.

Seo, who hasn't gone more than 6 1-3 innings this season, ran into trouble in the seventh once again when Juan Castro singled and Larson hit his first career pinch homer, starting the Reds' comeback.

Notes: The three homers off Van Poppel matched his career high - the fifth time he's surrendered that many. … LHP Tom Glavine, who will start Wednesday, is 25-11 for his career against the Reds. … Mike Piazza made his 33rd start at first base, then came out of the game as part of a double-switch in the seventh. … Mets reliever John Franco made his 1,069th career appearance, leaving him one shy of Hoyt Wilhelm for third place on the list.