All the New York Mets’ raging--13 minutes’ worth, to be exact--couldn’t change the the bottom line: They lost again.
Ron Gant took advantage of rookie pitcher Reid Cornelius’ mistake by trying to steal home on a two-strike pitch, drawing a catcher’s interference call that handed the Reds their go-ahead run and a 3-2 victory Thursday night at Cincinnati.
The game was held up for 13 minutes as the Mets argued and ultimately played under protest over the sixth-inning call.
“It’s a moot point,” Met Manager Dallas Green said. “There’s no sense in even talking about it. I thought it was a lousy call.”
The daring move by Gant capped the Reds’ first three-game sweep of the Mets at Riverfront Stadium since August 1982.
“I’m a gambler. He [Cornelius] was acting like I wasn’t even there,” said Gant, who had never stolen home.
“I thought about maybe going to my stretch, but I didn’t think he’d go with two strikes,” said Cornelius (0-1), who had a 1-and-2 count on Bret Boone, who would have had to swing at another strike.
The umpires ruled catcher Alberto Castillo stepped in front of the plate to catch the ball from Cornelius, counted the run, awarded Boone first base on the interference and sent Sanders to third on a balk, as rule 7.07 requires.
Chuck McElroy (3-2) got the victory.
Atlanta 5, Philadelphia 4--Mark Lemke and Javier Lopez hit run-scoring singles in the ninth inning, lifting the Braves to victory at Atlanta and boosting their NL East lead over the Phillies to a season-high nine games.
The victory was Atlanta’s 18th in its last at-bat and 11th since July 4.
Pedro Borbon (1-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the victory. Heathcliff Slocumb (2-2) blew the save.
San Diego 3, San Francisco 0--Willie Blair, making his first start in more than a year, limited the Giants to three hits in six innings as the Padres won at San Diego.
Steve Finley went three for three and Tony Gwynn had two hits before leaving the game after fouling a ball off his right toe in the seventh inning.
Blair (4-1), backed by a three-run sixth inning, struck out one and walked two in his longest outing of the year. He started in place of Andy Benes, who was traded to Seattle on Monday night.
Trevor Hoffman pitched the ninth inning for his 18th save, finishing the combined four-hitter.
Chicago 7, Pittsburgh 2--Scott Servais, just off the disabled list, singled home the go-ahead run in a five-run ninth inning at Pittsburgh and the Cubs sent the Pirates to their 11th loss in 13 games.
Luis Gonzalez hit a solo homer in the eighth and drove in two runs to finish five for eight with four extra base hits and five RBIs in the three-game series.
St. Louis 2, Houston 1--Allen Watson worked seven shutout innings at St. Louis to help the Cardinals end a six-game losing streak.
Watson (4-4) allowed six hits.
Tom Henke pitched 1 2/3 innings for his 23rd save in 24 chances. Tony Eusebio got a run-scoring single in the eighth inning off Henke, but right fielder Brian Jordan preserved the lead when he caught pinch-hitter Derrick May’s sinking liner and then threw out Derek Bell trying to score.
Greg Swindell (7-5) failed in an attempt to gain his 100th victory.