Over the course of 162 games, there are bound to be some ugly games, and one of them occurred tonight. The Mets, aided by the Reds' defensive ineptitude, won their second game in as many nights in Cincinnati.
In the top of the first, Justin Turner doubled with one out, and Carlos Beltran hit a relatively soft line drive that tipped off Joey Votto's glove to put runners on the corners. David Wright grounded out slowly to short, allowing Turner to score and Beltran to advance to second. Daniel Murphy then "singled" to right field on a fly ball that Jay Bruce could and should have caught to end the inning. Jason Bay unsurprisingly struck out to end the inning.
The Mets added to their lead in the third inning, once again thanks to some shoddy fielding by Cincinnati. Jose Reyes grounded to second baseman Brandon Phillips, who proceeded to botch the ball as he attempted to field it. Turner singled, giving the Mets runners on the corners with one out for the second time in the early part of the game. Beltran singled to plate Reyes, but Turner made an ill-advised attempt to advance to third base and was thrown out easily.
That didn't stop the Mets from adding another run in the inning, though. Wright hit a ground ball that found its way past the glove of Miguel Cairo and off the foot of Edgar Renteria. The Irish Hammer was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, and Bay followed up with a sacrifice fly, a welcome outcome for a bases-loaded situation with Bay at the plate.
Meanwhile, Jon Niese was cruising. His first three innings were scoreless, and even though he allowed one run in the fourth on a two-out single by Chris Heisey, he looked just fine. In the fifth inning, well, not so much.
Niese walked Ramon Hernandez to begin the inning, an irritating mistake for a pitcher that has a big lead. After Jonny Cueto bunted him to second, Drew Stubbs singled and advanced to second base as Jason Pridie unnecessarily threw home while Hernandez held at third base. Renteria hit a double down the first base line that was just barely a fair ball, and both runners scored easily to bring the Reds back within one. Joey Votto followed up with an opposite field home run, and Niese's outing had turned from very good to pretty bad. It also felt like the Mets were going to lose, but that didn't last.
Bay walked to start the sixth inning, and Ronny Paulino reached base on an error by Miguel Cairo at third base. Bay got to third easily, and Paulino somehow managed to get to second base safely. Jason Pridie, filling in for the fatigued Angel Pagan, doubled to bring both runners home and puts the Mets back ahead by a run.
In the seventh inning, the Mets got pair of much-needed insurance runs given the depleted state of their bullpen. A leadoff walk got things started again, this time by Beltran. Wright singled, and Murphy did the same to score the Mets' seventh run of the game. An infield single by Paulino loaded the bases, and although Pridie grounded into a force out at home plate, Angel Pagan lofted a bloop pinch-hit single into center field to score Murphy. Had Paulino realized there were two outs at the single the ball left the bat, he probably would have scored, too. Or maybe he's just that slow.
The lesser arms of the Mets' bullpen were able to hold on to the lead, with Ryota Igarashi's run allowed in the eighth the only run they allowed in four innings of work. Manny Acosta threw a scoreless sixth inning, Igarashi recorded five outs before allowing a run, Pedro Beato pitched an inning in relief of Iggy, and Tim Byrdak was called upon to face Jay Bruce with two outs and Votto on second base, striking him out to end the game.
The scoreboard says the Reds made three errors in this game, but their play in the field was much worse than that. The series continues tomorrow at 7:10 pm with Mike Pelfrey and Bronson Arroyo slated to start. Should be fun.
Big winners: Daniel Murphy, +20.8% WPA, Ronny Paulino, +15.5% WPA
Big losers: Jon Niese, -34.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Ronny Paulino reaches on Miguel Cairo in the sixth, +16.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Joey Votto two-run bomb in the fifth, -24.4% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -9.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: +59.5% WPA
GWRBI!: Jason Pridie
Nice job by MetsFan4Decades; her effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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