Sunday, July 28, 2002

Double dose of Kearns frustrates Mets

Reds outfielder's arm, bat deny New York a win

By John Fay,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mets' Roger Cedeno is out at second base as he tries to stretch a single to a double. Austin Kearns fired a perfect throw to Reds shortstop Aaron Boone, who makes the tag.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        NEW YORK — Before Austin Kearns hit a double that led to the Reds' 2-1, 11-inning win Saturday, he made a throw that prevented a double that could have won it for the New York Mets.

        With one out in the eighth, the Mets' Roger Cedeno hit a ball between Kearns and the right-field line. Cedeno runs well, so it looked like a sure double. But Kearns wheeled around and threw a perfect strike — about two feet off the bag — to nail Cedeno at second base.

        Runners have shied away from taking an extra base on Kearns as word of his strong arm gets around. But he expected Cedeno to run.

        “That's the way I read it,” Kearns said. “He's pretty fast. I thought he'd be going in that situation.”

        Kearns' throw would have hit the second-base bag if Reds shortstop Aaron Boone hadn't caught it and tagged Cedeno.

        “That's the one thing I was worried about,” Kearns said. “Spinning like that, it's tough to keep it on line.”

        Kearns' big hit came leading off the 11th.

        “I was just looking to get on anyway I could,” he said. “It was a fastball away.”

        Kearns lined a double into right field and later scored the game-winner on Todd Walker's single.

        Kearns went 2-for-5 to push his average to .287. He's on a five-game hitting streak during which he's hitting .381 with six RBI. Over his last 13 games, Kearns is hitting .370.

        “I'll be feeling good one day,” he said, “then it'll go. It changes from at-bat to at-bat.”

        LARKIN OUT: Shortstop Barry Larkin was out of the Reds' starting lineup Saturday after straining a muscle in his right calf Friday. Larkin probably will be out today as well.

        “I don't know,” Reds manager Bob Boone said. “He's the proverbial day-to-day.”

        The strain is near the Achilles' tendon, but it's not the same one Larkin had surgery on in 1997.

        With left-hander Al Leiter starting for the Mets, Boone already had Juan Castro penciled in at second base, so Aaron Boone played shortstop and Brandon Larson played third.

        NO GABE: As expected, left-handed reliever Gabe White did not come off the disabled list Saturday when he was eligible. He has been on the DL since July13 with a broken right little toe.

        The toe is too sore for White to field a bunt or run the bases.

        “I feel fine throwing,” White said. “But if I can't field my position, it doesn't matter. That's what's frustrating. I'm OK jogging, but any quick step really hurts.”

        UP NEXT: The Reds wrap up their three-game series with the Mets at 1:10 p.m. today. Reds right-hander Jimmy Haynes (11-6, 4.08 ERA) faces New York right-hander Steve Trachsel (6-7, 3.86).


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