By: Paul DiSclafani
It’s getting real, Mets fans.
The Mets (86-67) snapped out of their doldrums, scoring three times in the seventh inning to break a 3-3 tie as they beat the Reds in Cincinnati, 6-4. The win, coupled with the Nationals getting swept at home against their local rivals the Orioles, increases the Mets lead in the NL East to 7.5 games with nine left to play and reduced their Magic Number to clinch the Division to just 3 games (Bud Harrelson).
After a moribund home stand that saw them lose six of nine, including the Subway Series to the Yankees, the Mets allayed the fears of their fan base as they move closer to their first post season berth since 2006. It wasn’t exactly Panic City, but as the Mets were losing, so were the Nationals. The collapses of 2007 and 2008 are now history.
Maybe this final road trip of the regular season is just what the Mets needed as they have won 16 of their last 18 road games.
Rookie Steven Matz (ND) got the start, but once again had a shaky first inning, giving up three consecutive singles culminated by a Brandon Phillips RBI to left and the Reds had a 1-0 lead. Matz continued with his recent MO as he settled down, giving the Mets a chance to come back. He even helped himself out with the bat to start the Mets rally.
David Wright doubled home Matz, who had an infield single in the third to tie the game at 1-1. Daniel Murphy, who had three hits, the singled Wright to third and he scored on a Yoenis Cespedes SF to give the Mets the lead, 2-1. The slumping Lucas Duda then hit a long double to right field, allowing Murphy to score all the way from first for a 3-1 Mets lead.
The Reds chipped away at the lead with single runs in the fifth and sixth, both times with two out, finishing Matz’ night and tying the game, 3-3. It’s the first time in Matz’ career that he gave up more than two earned runs.
With everything that has been going on in the past two weeks, it was nice to see the “new” Mets emerge in the seventh inning, pounding the Reds bullpen and scoring with two outs. Manny Parra got pinch hitter Michael Cuddyer to start the inning and then Curtis Granderson followed with a single. Parra then got Wright to fly out to right, but couldn’t slip one past Murphy, who tripled to deep right, giving the Mets a 4-3 lead. Parra was ahead of Cespedes 1-2 before he lined one over the mound and into center field to plate Murphy and give the Mets a 5-3 lead. Parra got ahead of Duda 1-2 also, but he blasted one to deep center, just short of the fence and Cespedes scored to complete a 3-run inning.
Working with a 6-3 lead, Hansel Robles allowed a solo home run to Jay Bruce in the 8th to make it interesting, but Jeurys Familia nailed down his 42nd save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Noah Syndergaard (8-7) takes the hill tomorrow against Anthony DeSclafani (no relation) with Matt Harvey scheduled to start on Saturday afternoon. Jacob deGrom will pitch on Sunday afternoon in the series finale.
POSITIVES: Mets are 4-0 vs the Reds this season, but are just 10-20 against the NL Central … Murphy was 3-4 … Erik Goeddel threw five pitches for the win (1-1). Bullpen did their job tonight 3.1 innings, 1R, 1H … Mets had 12 hits … Top 5 guys in the order did the job tonight with 9 hits … Cespedes and Duda had two hits each and drove in two runs each. Cespedes had gone 8 games without an RBI, but he has 44 as a Met
NEGATIVES: Umpire Adam Hamari called a “ball” on Robles in the eighth because he felt it was a quick pitch to Bruce. Manager Terry Collins came out to argue as to why it was a “ball” instead of a “no pitch”, but it broke Robles concentration and he gave up the home run two pitches later … Tyler Clippard was not available after being used in three straight games …