NEW YORK (AP) - Ever since Jason Bay came to New York, it's been one ordeal after another.
Jay Bruce hit an inside-the-park homer that left Bay with yet another injury and the Cincinnati Reds beat the Mets 7-3 on Friday night to give Bronson Arroyo his first victory in 5 1/2 weeks.
Recently activated from the disabled list, Bay was hurt again when he crashed into the left-field wall while trying to catch Bruce's opposite-field drive. The Mets said he left the game and went home with a possible concussion, the latest setback for a player who has been an injury-plagued bust in the Big Apple since signing a $66 million, four-year contract before the 2010 season.
``Jason Bay is a fine baseball player. Jason Bay is one of the finest people I've ever had on my team,' manager Terry Collins said. ``I'm pretty concerned about him.'
Bay missed the final two months of his first season with the Mets because of a concussion he sustained while slamming into the left-field fence to make a catch at Dodger Stadium.
``It's a combination of the way he hustles and bad luck. You feel for him. You know the way he's worked to overcome some of these injuries,' teammate David Wright said. ``Obviously, with the head injury, you know you've got to be very careful.'
Brandon Phillips added a two-run homer to extend his recent hitting tear and the NL Central leaders followed up a three-game sweep of intrastate rival Cleveland by winning the series opener at Citi Field, a nice present for manager Dusty Baker on his 63rd birthday.
Reds slugger Joey Votto and Wright were both hit by pitches, but neither led to any trouble.
``That's the way you play the game,' Wright said, just about accepting that he was plunked on purpose in retaliation for Votto. ``I know we didn't hit Joey on purpose, but you take care of your guys. We'd have done the same thing. I appreciate them keeping the ball down, doing it the right way.'
Arroyo, who was 0-3 in six starts since beating Milwaukee on May 7, found his form against one of his favorite opponents. The right-hander is 8-2 with a 2.91 ERA and three complete games in his last 13 starts against the Mets - with five other outings that lasted eight innings.
This time, Arroyo (3-4) was pulled in the seventh after giving up Kirk Nieuwenhuis' third homer in two games and a two-run drive by Scott Hairston. Using his usual array of slow breaking balls and odd angles, Arroyo yielded four hits while striking out five and walking two.
``I was happy with the performance. I did pretty much what I wanted with the lineup,' Arroyo said.
Wilson Valdez, making his first major league start in center field, had a two-run double and three RBIs for Cincinnati. Jose Arredondo, Sean Marshall and Aroldis Chapman each worked a hitless inning out of the bullpen.
``That's how you script it,' Baker said.
New York starter Dillon Gee (4-5) gave up four runs - three earned - and five hits in six innings. The Mets had just returned from Tampa Bay, where they outscored the Rays 29-9 for a three-game sweep that salvaged a 4-5 road trip against three of baseball's top teams.
Bruce led off the second inning with a drive into the left-field corner. Bay raced back, tumbled to the warning track as the ball barely eluded him and then hit his head against the lower part of the fence.
Bay struggled to get to his feet and find the ball. He finally fired it toward the infield, but Bruce slid across the plate to easily beat the relay.
Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez came out to check on Bay, who limped slightly as he walked off the field with Ramirez. Wright patted Bay on the head.
``He looked banged up. He looked like he just had a concussion. Especially, you look at the replay and see how his head hit the wall,' Wright said.
Collins said Bay wanted to try to stay in the game, but the manager told him: ``Not with your past.'
``He said he was dizzy,' Collins said. ``I felt terrible for Jason because he never backed off.'
Hairston took over in left field. Moments later, he bobbled Ryan Ludwick's double down the left-field line for an error that allowed a run to score.
Bay is batting .187 with four home runs and six RBIs. He was on the disabled list from April 24 until June 6 with a broken rib and is 2 for 25 with a home run since being activated.
``You hate to see that,' Baker said. ``He's had a rough go of it here in New York.'
NOTES: Mets INF Justin Turner (sprained right ankle) was traveling to New York from his rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo in anticipation of being activated Saturday, the club said. ... The Mets' top two draft picks, SS Gavin Cecchini and C Kevin Plawecki, took batting practice at Citi Field with general manager Sandy Alderson watching from behind the cage. At a news conference afterward, Cecchini called Alderson ``Mr. Sandy' and acknowledged he wears No. 2 because Yankees SS Derek Jeter is his favorite player. ``Can we strike that from the record?' Alderson said. ... REO Speedwagon performed after the game from a stage just behind second base as part of the Friday night postgame concert series at Citi Field. ... The previous inside-the-park shot against the Mets was hit by Blake DeWitt of the Dodgers in Los Angeles on May 6, 2008.
The Associated Press News Service
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