MLB: New York Mets at Cincinnati Reds

Game Recap September 6: Mets Continue Power Surge, Bullpen Bails Out Montero

The Mets hit four home runs and were backed by 4.2 innings of scoreless relief, defeating the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 on Tuesday night for their fourth straight win.

Playing in front of a sparse crowd at Great American Ball Park, New York (73-66) remained one game behind in the NL Wild Card race following the victory, their 13th straight against the Reds dating back to 2014.

Cincinnati has allowed 225 long balls, the most in the majors by a wide margin. None was bigger on Tuesday than the two-run bomb to dead center field off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes.

Asdrubal Cabrera legged out a one-out infield single in the seventh against reliever Michael Lorenzen, reaching just in time following an excellent diving stop by shortstop Zack Cozart on the first-base side of the bag.

Cespedes then crushed a 2-2 slider for his 28th of the year, giving the Mets a 4-3 lead.

The Cuban slugger also showed off his cannon-like arm in the eighth, bare-handing a Brandon Phillips liner off of the wall in left and gunning him down on the fly trying to stretch what initially appeared to be an easy double.

“When you’re a star, that’s what they do,” manager Terry Collins said. “They come through when you need them. That’s why they get paid.”

Curtis Granderson (4 HRs and 9 RBIs over his last seven games) started the scoring with a two-out solo homer to right-center field in the second inning against Cincinnati left-hander Brandon Finnegan, the outfielder’s 24th of the year.

Jose Reyes extended the advantage to 2-0 leading off the third, driving a 400-foot shot just inside the left field foul pole for his fifth home run. It was the 29th long ball surrendered by Finnegan this season, most in the National League.

All-Star Adam Duvall knotted the score at 2-all in the bottom of the frame with his 30th home run, lining a two-run opposite field shot off of the top of the wall in right-center against starter Rafael Montero. The runs were the first allowed by Montero across his two spot starts in place of the injured Jacob deGrom, despite walking nine in 7.2 innings up to that point.

Hernan Iribarren led off the bottom of the fifth with a pinch-hit triple, his second pinch-hit three-bagger in as many days. After a ground out and a walk, Montero was lifted for Josh Edgin, recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A, with runners on the corners.

Joey Votto lined a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Iribarren and giving the Reds a 3-2 lead.

Montero, once considered a key piece in the team’s future rotation plans but whose stock has fallen significantly, could end up playing an important role in whether or not the Mets play in the postseason; especially if the ailing deGrom is unable to return soon.

The 25-year-old righty was charged with three runs on three hits in 4.1 innings, walking and striking out four apiece.

“He’s got to stop walking guys,” Collins said. “That puts him in trouble.”

The Mets bullpen continued its recent hot streak as a combination of Edgin, Gabriel Ynoa, Josh Smoker, Fernando Salas, Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia allowed just two hits and no walks in relief of Montero. Familia notched his 46th save in 49 opportunities, navigating around a Reyes error in the ninth.

New York wasted an opportunity in the sixth. Jay Bruce singled to left to lead off the inning against Lorenzen, a routine ground ball misplayed by Duvall in left field which allowed Bruce to advance to second. After Travis d’Arnaud struck out looking, Granderson was hit by a pitch.

Pinch-hitter Kelly Johnson grounded into a fielder’s choice, moving Bruce to third and setting up runners on the corners with two outs. Michael Conforto, also pinch-hitting, was then frozen by a Lorenzen curveball to end the threat.

Alejandro De Aza added an insurance run in the eighth, clubbing a pinch-hit solo home run off of reliever Blake Wood to give the Mets a 5-3 advantage.


The Las Vegas 51s, New York’s Triple-A affiliate, played their season finale on Labor Day. The Mets beefed up their bench and bullpen before Tuesday night’s game, taking advantage of September’s expanded roster limits and recalling several players from Vegas. Infielders Eric Campbell and T.J. Rivera rejoined the big club, along with outfielder Brandon Nimmo. Reliever Erik Goeddel is also back in the majors.

In addition to these players with previous big league experience, highly-touted infield prospect Gavin Cecchini was promoted for the first time.

“It’s something that I dreamed of my whole life,” Cecchini said before the game. “It’s everything that I imagined.”

The Bronx-born Rivera edged Nimmo by just one point for the Pacific Coast League batting title on the season’s final day, barely taking the crown with a .353 average. Rivera is the third player in the Mets system to win a batting title this year, joining Phillip Evans (.335, Double-A Binghamton, Eastern League) and Tomas Nido (.320, Single-A Advanced St. Lucie, Florida State League).


According to Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball, David Wright will be leaving the team this week to see his surgeon in Los Angeles. The seven-time All-Star, recovering from neck surgery, is scheduled to see specialist Robert Watkins for a routine checkup.

Per Heyman, Wright hopes to resume light baseball activities or at a minimum receive a tentative date when he can begin. The 33-year-old was batting .226 with 7 home runs and 14 RBIs before being placed on the disabled list. Wright last appeared in a game on May 27.


RHP Noah Syndergaard (12-8, 2.56 ERA, 2.34 FIP, 4.7 WARP) toes the rubber in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon. The 24-year-old is 2-1 with a 1.23 ERA over his last three starts.

He’ll be opposed by Cincinnati’s most effective starter, RHP Anthony DeSclafani (8-2, 2.93 ERA, 3.74 FIP, 2.1 WARP). The New Jersey native has been dominant in his last two outings, which included a complete game shutout in Arizona on Aug. 27.

Photo credit: David Kohl – USA Today Sports

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