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Reyes coasts to hit title

NEW YORK -- Jose Reyes heard the boos when he was lifted for a pinch runner. Mets fans wanted to see more.

At least another at-bat or two. At least another season or two.

It was an afternoon of mixed emotions for the effervescent shortstop in what could have been his last game in a New York Mets uniform, a 3-0 win over Cincinnati on Wednesday.

After a bunt single in the first inning, Reyes was finished. The strategy paid off: Reyes won the National League batting title late Wednesday when Milwaukee's Ryan Braun went 0 for 4.

"It was kind of tough," Reyes said. "I want to stay in the game. They have to understand, too, what's going on. They have to feel happy about it if I win the battling title."

The hit elevated Reyes' average to .337057 and gave him a 2 1/2 -point lead over Braun. The Brewers star needed to go 3 for 4 to overtake Reyes, but went hitless in four at-bats against Pittsburgh and dropped to .332.

And that gave the Mets their first batting champion.

The dynamic All-Star with a broad grin and bouncy dreadlocks bunted Edinson Volquez's second pitch down the third base line, and a charging Juan Francisco couldn't pick up the ball.

Fans booed again when Reyes' replacement at shortstop was introduced by the public address announcer, and on the SNY telecast former Mets star Keith Hernandez called the move "disappointing."

Preparing for his game in Milwaukee, Braun didn't fault Reyes for leaving after just one at-bat.

"I'm not going to judge him," Braun said. "I respect whatever decision he decided to make and ultimately, he left the door open for me."

Reyes told manager Terry Collins that he would bunt and wanted to be taken out if he got a hit in his first at-bat.

"I understand," Collins said. "I heard some comments in the stands. I don't blame them. You've got to understand that I ask these players to do a lot," Collins said. "We worked hard to get their respect this year, and they deserve ours."

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