06/22/06 1:09 AM ET
Reyes' cycle soured by Mets loss
Shortstop becomes first Met since 2004 to accomplish feat
By Chris Girandola / MLB.com
That's all the fans can really do.
On a night in which Jose Reyes entered the record books by becoming the ninth player in team history to hit for the cycle, the Mets lost a heartbreaker in the ninth after the Reds rallied from two runs down to win, 6-5. Billy Wagner suffered his fourth blown save of the season when he loaded the bases with two outs and then gave up a two-run single to Brandon Phillips as the Reds stunned the Mets in front of a disappointed crowd of 49,758 at Shea Stadium.
The Shea faithful left upset not only because the Mets had the game in hand, but because one of their young stars accomplished something only eight other players in Mets history had done.
And one of those players, Keith Hernandez, was calling the game in the SNY broadcast booth when Reyes completed the feat.
The switch-hitting shortstop went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI in becoming the first Mets player to hit for the cycle since Eric Valent on July 29, 2004.
Reyes wasted no time in extending his nine-game hitting streak and getting one of the most difficult parts of the cycle out of the way.
On a 1-0 pitch in the first inning, Reyes launched a home run that sailed over the right-field wall.
It was the fourth leadoff home run of his career and an example of what he and Mets skipper Willie Randolph have been working on for the past two months.
"He's wanted me to be aggressive early in the count, and that's what I've been doing," said Reyes, who is batting .538 during the nine-game stretch. "I've been looking for fastballs early, and I've been feeling really comfortable at the plate."
Reyes was just getting started.
In the third, the 23-year-old shortstop ripped a liner to right field and easily made it to second for a double.
Then, in the fifth, with the Mets down, 4-1, Reyes crushed a 2-2 pitch off Reds starter Joe Mays deep to right field. The ball bounced off the wall and the crowd rose in anticipation. For most players, the anticipation would result in a close play at third. But Reyes isn't most players.
The speedster, who leads the league in stolen bases with 30, blazed through second on the way to a crowd-pleasing triple -- putting him just a single away from the cycle.
In the sixth, Reyes looked a bit anxious, chasing after three bad pitches from Mays for a strikeout. After the Mets took the lead with three runs in the bottom of the seventh, Reyes got one more chance.
Reyes came up in the eighth with two outs, and on a 2-1 pitch from Jason Standridge, lined a clean single up the middle to seal the deal.
Second-base umpire Dan Iassogna threw the ball over to the Mets' dugout, where Valentin gathered it and stored it away for Reyes until after the game.
It was one of those performances that any team wants to win for a player who does it. But even though a win didn't come with the spectacular accomplishment, Reyes, who admitted to never having hit the cycle on any level prior to Wednesday, will still take it.
"Of course, you want to have the team win, and that's the most important thing, but I still think this is pretty special," said Reyes, who had the ball neatly tucked away in his locker. "And, yes, this is definitely my best game ever."
Valentin, who likes to watch seemingly every sporting event in the Mets' clubhouse prior to batting practice, is a fan of Reyes as much as anyone else.
"I remember when I had that speed when I was his age," said the 36-year-old veteran. "He's incredible to play beside in the field. He does things with such ease, but with such intensity that you can't help but appreciate. Then, when you watch him fly around the basepaths, it's just something to watch and admire. He's one of the best in the game."
Chris Girandola is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.