Mets, Braves remain tied for first place


About the only positive for the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves was that they played equally bad.

One night after the Mets moved into a tie for first place with the Braves for the first time since April, the two best teams in the majors played anything like it Tuesday.

Ken Griffey Jr.’s two-run single in the seventh inning put Cincinnati ahead and the Reds went on to a 4-2 victory over the Braves.

“The bottom line is we’re still tied with the Mets,” said Braves reliever Mike Remlinger, who gave up three runs in the seventh after Andy Ashby left the game because of a blister. “As bad as it may seem, it’s not that bad.”

That’s because the Mets weren’t any better than Atlanta.

Wade Miller pitched a five-hitter for his first complete game in the majors, Jeff Bagwell hit his 40th homer and Houston romped past New York 11-1 at Shea Stadium.

“It was a rough night all around for everybody,” Mets catcher Mike Piazza said.

Reds 4, Braves 2 The Braves have lost two straight to Cincinnati and five of their last six — all at Turner Field.

“We’re playing decent baseball right now. But the ball has got to fall your way occasionally,” manager Bobby Cox said. “I have no complaints about the guys. They have gotten us to this point.”

There was a 12-minute delay because of a power outage before the bottom of the ninth. Team officials blamed a “power spike” and quickly corrected the problem, but they couldn’t fix the team’s bats. Atlanta went down meekly on three straight grounders to give Graves his 23rd save.

Steve Parris (9-14) won his fourth straight start, allowing eight hits and both Atlanta runs in six innings. Astros 11, Mets 1 Tony Eusebio’s 24-game hitting streak came to an end, but most everything else went right for the Astros.

Bagwell hit a two-run single in a four-run third and added a solo homer in the sixth to reach the 40-homer mark for the third time in his career.

Al Leiter (14-6) left after three innings because of a strained muscle in his right buttocks. He was pulled as a precaution with the Mets trailing 4-0, and the team did not think he would not miss a start.

“I hurt it at the end of my warmups. I felt it pull and I was just uncomfortable,” Leiter said.

Pirates 8, Giants 0 At Pittsburgh, Kris Benson (9-11) allowed one hit in eight innings to win for the first time in nine starts since July 8.

Diamondbacks 8, Expos 7 Greg Colbrunn homered and had three RBIs, including a tiebreaking RBI single off Scott Forster (0-1) in the seventh, as visiting Arizona moved within 2 1/2 games of first-place San Francisco in the NL West.

Rockies 2, Phillies 1 Jeffrey Hammonds went 3-for-4, including a go-ahead RBI double in the sixth as Philadelphia’s Omar Daal (3-16) lost his major league-leading 16th game.

Marlins 3, Cardinals 1 Chuck Smith (3-5) allowed four hits in eight innings and struck out nine for host Florida, and Antonio Alfonseca pitched a perfect ninth for his major league-leading 37th save.

Dodgers 7, Brewers 2 Chan Ho Park (14-8) allowed one hit in eight innings — James Mouton’s two-out, two-run homer in the sixth — and struck out a career-high 14 for visiting Los Angeles.

Cubs 7, Padres 6, 13 innings Pinch-hitter Ricky Gutierrez had a sacrifice fly in the 13th inning off Trevor Hoffman (4-6) as Chicago outlasted San Diego at Wrigley Field. Felix Heredia (7-3) got the win.