Monday, August 8, 2022

Mets Keep Rolling Against Reds, Backed By Big Outing From Bassitt

Francisco Lindor approaching home plate as he scores on a single by Daniel Vogelbach, who is looking back from first base. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds, 5-1, on Monday night at Citi Field, as starting pitcher Chris Bassitt went eight innings, Starling Marte had a two-run home run, and Daniel Vogelbach had an RBI and a run scored, as they have now won fourth straight.

This was the Mets' 13th win in their last 15 games, as they improved to 71-39. Their lead in the National League East is now a full seven games over the Atlanta Braves (64-46), who were idle on Monday night before they start a two-game set against the Red Sox in Boston on Tuesday night. It is the first time the lead has been seven games since June 8, exactly two months ago. The Mets have gained 6 1/2 on Atlanta in the last 16 calendar days since the Braves pulled within a half-game on July 23.

Bassitt earned his second straight win, as he improved to 9-7, and lowered his ERA to 3.39, as he allowed that one run, which was unearned, on nine hits and a walk, with eight strikeouts in eight innings, and he threw 114 pitches, with 75 strikes, just what the Mets needed after their bullpen had a long weekend with Atlanta. This was the second time this season Bassitt has gone eight innings, with the first instance on June 14 against Milwaukee, a 4-0 Mets win.

Chris Bassitt pitching to Joey Votto in the second inning. Photo by Jason Schott.

Cincinnati's starter was a familiar face to Mets fans, Justin Dunn, who was a the Mets' first round draft pick in 2016, and he was part of the trade with the Seattle Mariners, along with Jerred Kelenic, for closer Edwin Diaz and second baseman Robinson Cano in November of 2018. 

Dunn pitched for Seattle from 2019 to 2021, compiling a 5-4 record in 25 starts, and the Mariners sent him to the Reds as part of the trade this past offseason for Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez.

This was the 26-year-old right hander's first start for Cincinnati, and he pitched well, going 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and two walks, with two strikeouts.

The Mets gave Bassitt the lead immediately when Brandon Nimmo got hit by a pitch to lead off the first, and then Starling Marte crushed one to left-center field for a two-run shot. That was the Mets' right fielder's 12th home run, along with 51 RBI, this season.

The Mets added one in the third when Francisco Lindor drew a one-out walk, stole second, and he came in on a single from new fan favorite Daniel Vogelbach laced a single to right field to make it 3-0.

Cincinnati got on the board in the top of the fourth. Jonathan India reached on a rare error by Mets first baseman Pete Alonso, who could not corral the throw from third baseman Eduardo Escobar. India was erased on a force out hit into by Nick Senzel, and Mike Moustakas followed on a single to move Senzel to third, and he came in a force out hit into by Joey Votto to make it 3-1 Mets.

India and Moustakas both were hurt on their trips around the bases, with India suffering a right hamstring injury and Moustakas a left calf injury.

Albert Almora, Jr., who played for the Mets last season, took over center field in the bottom of the fourth when Cincinnati rearranged their defense with them out, and he made his presence felt in the fifth inning. 

Marte led off with a single, and then Lindor sent a blast to right-center field that Almora had all the way, but he ended up reaching over the fence to grab it, robbing the Mets shortstop of a home run. It's his third near-miss in two games, as one went off the center field fence for a double and another caught on the warning track in left field during Sunday's game against Atlanta.

The Mets for some insurance in the eighth against Reds reliever Ryan Hendrix. After Lindor and Alonso struck out, Vogelback doubled and Jeff McNeil got hit by a pitch.

Tyler Naquin, whom the Mets acquired from Cincinnati on July 27, laced a triple to right field to bring in Vogelbach and McNeil and open up a 5-1 lead for the Mets.

This was huge, as closer Edwin Diaz was unavailable after he pitched three of the past four days.

Adam Ottavino, who has closing experience in his career, came on for the ninth, and he worked around a single by Jose Barrero and a two-out walk by Nick Senzel by striking out Matt Reynolds to end it. Since it was a four-run lead, he did not get credited with a save.

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