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Mets prove pen's not mightier; Reds rally in 9th

By wire services
Published April 5, 2005


CINCINNATI - Pedro Martinez blew 'em away. Carlos Beltran knocked 'em in. Everything was going exactly according to plan for the new-look Mets until Adam Dunn exposed the one area they overlooked.

Dunn's second homer tied it in the ninth, and Joe Randa followed with a home run off Braden Looper that sent the Reds to a 7-6 victory Monday in front of the biggest crowd in Great American Ball Park's history.

For the first time in their 129 season openers, the Reds finished one off with a homer.

"I felt like I was at a rock concert, screaming for the next song," said closer Danny Graves, who pitched the ninth and then piled on Randa at home plate.

The Mets couldn't believe it. Not after the way Martinez and Beltran - the cornerstones of their expensive offseason makeover - performed in their New York debuts.

Martinez struck out 12 and allowed only one hard-hit ball - Dunn's three-run homer - during his six innings. Beltran had three hits, including one of the Mets' three homers, as they went ahead 6-3.

The Mets committed $172-million to those two players, but maybe they should have spent a little more on the bullpen, their weak link.

Martinez became the fourth pitcher to amass 100 double-digit strikeout games.

CUBS 16, D'BACKS 6: Aramis Ramirez went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer and four RBIs for visiting Chicago. Derrek Lee had four hits and five RBIs, including a three-run homer for Chicago, which had 23 hits and set a team record for runs in an opener. Javier Vazquez, acquired from the Yankees in the Randy Johnson deal, lasted 12/3 innings for Arizona and allowed seven runs.

PHILLIES 8, NATIONALS 4: Kenny Lofton hit a three-run homer and Jon Lieber pitched 52/3 effective innings to help host Philadelphia ruin Washington's debut. Terrmel Sledge hit the first homer in Nationals history and drove in three runs. The team moved during the offseason after 36 seasons as the Montreal Expos.

ROCKIES 12, PADRES 10: Rookie Clint Barmes hit a two-run homer to cap host Colorado's four-run ninth inning off Trevor Hoffman. Aaron Miles had a career-high five hits, including a run-scoring single to tie it, and Jeff Baker and Preston Wilson homered for Colorado.

BREWERS 9, PIRATES 2: Ben Sheets allowed two runs over seven innings to outpitch Oliver Perez in a matchup of two of the NL's best young starters. Jeff Cirillo, who played for Milwaukee from 1994-99, homered and doubled for the visiting Brewers.