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70 pitches

Reed simply dominated the Braves for seven innings

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Posted: Sunday October 17, 1999 12:53 AM

  Rick Reed's masterpiece nearly turned into a disaster in the 7th inning. AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- For seven innings Rick Reed was absolutely brilliant, using pinpoint control to silence the Atlanta Braves and keep the New York Mets alive.

Three pitches into the eighth inning, Reed thought he had cost the Mets their season.

"If I could've crawled under the mound, I would have," Reed said Saturday night of the consecutive homers by Brian Jordan and Ryan Klesko that gave Atlanta a 2-1 lead and left them six outs away from the World Series.

The Mets made an amazing comeback in bottom of the eighth to beat the Braves 3-2 and cut their lead in the best-of-7 NL Championship Series to 3-1.

For seven innings Reed was better than any of Atlanta's more accomplished starters had been during the series. Making just his second career postseason start, Reed needed only 70 pitches to get through seven innings, facing the minimum number of hitters.

"It seemed like they came out swinging and that seemed to work to my advantage, especially with the breaking ball," Reed said.

The only hit he allowed came in the fourth when Bret Boone singled. Boone was later caught stealing by Mike Piazza and Reed didn't allow another runner until the eighth.

The way Reed was pitching, it looked like John Olerud's sixth-inning homer would be more than enough for the Mets.

"He moved the ball around well tonight," said Piazza, who thought Reed pitched even better than he did two weeks ago when his three-hit shutout against Pittsburgh moved New York into a tie for the wild-card lead.

"He was locating his fastball well. It was very effective. I saw some pretty good hitters take some pretty bad swings at the breaking ball," Piazza said.

Not in the eighth inning.

Jordan hit the first pitch of the eighth over the center-field fence and two pitches Klesko cleared the wall in right.

"Well, I think I was trying to hit with my fastball on the corner, and then they got them that time," Reed said.

Reed walked behind the mound, hanging his head and muttering to himself. Piazza came out to console him and pitching coach Dave Wallace trudged to the mound to relieve Reed.

It looked like his -- and the Mets -- season was over. New York will keep playing, but without at least one more win, Reed might only be able to watch.


 
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