Lo Duca, Mets slug Reds

By Joe Kay The Associated Press

CINCINNATI – Paul Lo Duca hit a pair of three-run homers and drove in a career-high seven runs last night, powering the New York Mets to their fifth straight victory, 11-7 over the Cincinnati Reds.

The NL East leaders have regained control of their division with their longest winning streak of the season. A balanced offense has led the way, piling up 46 runs in the last six games and reaching double-digits three times.

No matter who the Reds put on the mound, the Mets hit him. Hard.

Lo Duca got it started with his three-run homer in the second inning off Matt Belisle, a drive that was caught by a fan wearing a white Mets jersey in the front row behind the left-field wall.

Right off the bat, things were going right.

After falling behind 5-3, the Mets sent nine batters to the plate for five runs in the sixth inning, a rally started by Carlos Beltran’s two-run homer. Shawn Green added a two-run double off reliever Bill Bray (3-2) during the comeback, and Lo Duca finished it with an RBI single.

Lo Duca, who hadn’t homered since June 30, hit another three-run shot in the eighth off Todd Coffey to complete his career night. His previous best was six RBIs on June 26, 2001, at San Francisco.

Carlos Delgado, Green and Lo Duca each had three hits apiece, helping left-hander Oliver Perez (13-9) get the victory on an off-night. Perez lasted only five innings, walked five and gave up five runs.