|Reds pitcher Amir Garret beating Brandon Nimmo to the bag at first base in the sixth inning. Photo by Jason Schott.|
The Mets made a comeback on Monday night, but they came up short as the Cincinnati Reds won, 5-4, on a Jesse Winker home run in the ninth inning off Mets closer Edwin Diaz.
Mets Manager Mickey Callaway said of the home run, which Winker hit the home run into the bullpen in right field for his eighth of the season, "That kid can hit a little bit, he's probably their best hitter."
On if he noticed anything different from Diaz in his outing, Callaway said, "He threw the ball really good. He just made one bad pitch and they made him pay, you know, sometimes they pop those up or miss them, or swing through them. He had a real crisp clean inning, breaking ball was good, fastball was good, you know, just one bad pitch."
The Mets came from four runs down in this one and had plenty of chances to put the winning run across, but they left ten runners on base. They fell to 3-4 on this 10-game homestand and are now 14-14 on the season.
Zack Wheeler got the start for the Mets, and it didn't take long for the Reds got to him.
In the second, Cincinnati opened the frame with Yasiel Puig and Scott Schebler drawing walks, followed by a Jose Iglesias RBI double, an RBI single from Tucker Barnhart, an RBI double from Jose Peraza, and finally a sacrifice fly from Eugenio Suarez that made it 4-0.
The Mets came right back against Reds starter Tanner Roark, as Michael Conforto opened the inning with a double and scored on a double from Wilson Ramos, who came home on a single by Amed Rosario to cut the Reds' lead to 4-2.
Wheeler settled in, as he retired the Reds in order in the third and worked around a single from Roark in the fourth.
Roark retired the first two Mets in the bottom of the fourth, and then he walked Lagares, gave up a bloop hit to Wheeler, and walked McNeil to load the bases.
Mets first baseman Pete Alonso was up next and he drew a four-pitch walk to force in a run, and that was all for Roark, who walked three Mets in the inning.
Cincinnati brought in left-hander Wandy Peralta for Brandon Nimmo, and like Roark, he couldn't find the plate either, walking the Mets left fielder on four pitches to force in another run and tie the game at 4. Conforto grounded out to end the inning.
The Mets put together another two-out rally in the sixth, as Jeff McNeil walked and Alonso got a single.
That was all for Reds reliever Michael Lorenzen as they turned to Amir Garrett (who used to play basketball at St. John's) for Nimmo, and he got him to ground out to first base to end the inning.
Wheeler was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth, so his final line went: 6 innings, 7 hits, 4 runs (all earned), 3 walks, 4 strikeouts.
Callaway said of Wheeler being able to battle despite not having his best stuff, "The starter's job ultimately is to keep us in the game and give us a chance to win - we definitely had that all night. I credit our offense for, after he gave up four, coming back and scoring two and, all a sudden, a pitcher feels like, 'I didn't give up four, I only gave up two,' and then your mindset, Wheeler did a good job of not sulking because, you know - I think four runs, any time you give up four runs or more, pitchers have a tendency to think, 'oh, well, it's a bad night now,' but Wheeler didn't do that. He realized that we scored two runs, our offense started coming back already right away and he locked it in and got us through six innings.
"I think that was a successful outing because he kept us in the game. I'm sure he hates that he walked the leadoff hitter and the guy behind him (in the second inning) - any time you do that, you put yourself in a bind because they have all kinds of options to score there, and most of the time they're going to score with the first two on and no out, but he bounced back and made the adjustment and he pitched really well after that."
The Mets turned to Seth Lugo in the seventh, and he gave up a single to Peraza to open the inning.
Joey Votto was up next and he hit a rocket to the right-center field gap that Mets center fielder Juan Lagares tracked down for the first out.
Lagares was playing shallow at the left-center field gap, so he had to run clear across the field to get it with what turned into an over-the-shoulder catch.
Suarez then struck out, but Peraza stole second on the third strike. Lugo then walked the left-handed hitting Jesse Winker to get to Puig, who was struck out to end the threat.
Cincinnati was back at it again in the eighth against Mets reliever Jeurys Familia, as Schebler walked and then Iglesias took a pitch in the back to give the Reds two runners on with nobody out.
Barnhart then hit a sacrifice fly to move the runners over, and Familia then walked Derek Dietrich to load the bases and create a force at any base.
Peraza was up next and he hit a rocket right at third baseman Todd Frazier, who stepped on the bag and threw across the diamond for the double play to end the threat.
Callaway said of Familia's performance, "We saw the walk, we saw the hit batsman, but Familia needed that. He needed a hard-hit ball to go at somebody and something good to happen because he has walked a guy to start the inning, but then it's the real slow rollers that are getting through that is the unlucky part of what's been going on with him. If you saw Alonso and him chest-bumping, he needed that, and he's going to be able to use that. Hey, got through the inning, didn't give up a run. He didn't look great, but you know, it was about time somebody hit a ground ball at somebody and something good happen."
Cincinnati turned to Rafael Iglesias for the bottom of the eighth, and Lagares got a one-out double. Pinch-hitter Dominic Smith popped one up for the second out, and then they intentionally walked Jeff McNeil to get to Alonso, who struck out.
Callaway said of how they felt when Alonso came up with two on, "I think we've got a good chance here, you know, unfortunately it didn't happen."
After Winker's solo home run gave the Reds a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth, Iglesias stayed on to close and struck out the Mets in order to end it.
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