Jose Reyes and Ruben Gotay opened with consecutive home runs, the first time that's happened in the 46-season history of the Mets, and New York beat the Cincinnati Reds 3–2 yesterday. Reyes, fresh off his three-hit performance in the All-Star game, led off the bottom of the first with his fifth homer and Gotay followed with his fourth, both against Bronson Arroyo (3-10). It was the third time this season that the Mets hit back-to-back homers but the first time ever the team opened that way.
It was a strong start in the first game since New York dismissed hitting coach Rick Down and added Rickey Henderson to the coaching staff. It has not been decided whether Henderson or first base coach Howard Johnson will replace Down, but Johnson filled the role against Cincinnati.
Orlando Hernandez (5–4) allowed three hits and two runs in six innings to earn the win in the first game after the break. He struck out seven and walked three.
Scott Hatteberg hit a two-run single in the second to tie it at 2 but the Mets went in front for good in the fifth.
Lastings Milledge, who got the start in left field, led off with a single. Arroyo then retired Hernandez and Reyes before Gotay's drive fell just in front of diving center fielder Ryan Freel.
Milledge circled the bases and barely beat the play at home, touching the plate with his hand ahead of catcher David Ross' tag. Hernandez retired the last 12 batters he faced. Joe Smith worked a perfect seventh, Pedro Feliciano pitched the eighth and Billy Wagner got three outs for his 18th save in 19 chances.
Brandon Phillips led off the ninth with a single, ending a streak of 18 consecutive hitters retired by New York. He advanced on a groundout but was caught off second when Edwin Encarnacion bounced to Reyes at shortstop.
Encarnacion stole second before Jeff Conine grounded out to end the game. Cincinnati finished with just four hits and fell to 5-2 under interim manager Pete Mackanin, who took over for Jerry Narron earlier this month.
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Julio Franco may have finally run out of at-bats.
The Mets cut the 48-year-old utilityman yesterday, opting to give 22-year-old outfielder Lastings Milledge another chance in the majors.
Franco hit only .200 in 50 atbats with one home run and eight RBIs. Mostly a pinch-hitter, he also played a bit at first base and third base this season.
Popular in the clubhouse, Franco often acted as a coach, motivating both veterans and younger players. There has been speculation he might eventually have that role full-time. Franco was a three-time All-Star and won the 1991 AL batting title with Texas. He has 2,576 career hits, along with 173 homers and 1,186 RBIs. Last year, Franco contributed several key hits for the Mets while batting .273 with two homers and 26 RBIs in 165 at-bats. His bat seemed to slow considerably this year, but on May 4 he homered off Arizona's Randy Johnson — Franco is the oldest player in major league history to homer .