Long balls carried the Mets to a 7-6 win over the Reds in the first game of their three-game series. P.J. Conlon, the first Irishman to make his debut in Major League Baseball since 1945, fared only slightly better than Homer Bailey, as both teams pounded extra-base hits left and right. The Mets’ bats prevailed in the end, however, led by two home runs from Adrian Gonzalez.
Homer Bailey lived up to his name from the get-go, as Michael Conforto tucked the second pitch of the game inside the left field foul pole to snap an 0-for-13 skid. It’s nice to see him go yard, but he still looked slow on fastballs, and it doesn’t look like he’s out of the woods just yet.
More runs followed. Adrian Gonzalez scored on a sacrifice fly from Amed Rosario in the second, while Jay Bruce and Gonzalez both went deep in the third. Conlon notched his first career hit with a ground ball single up the middle in the fourth, then scored three batters later on a sacrifice fly from Yoenis Cespedes. The Mets scored in each of the first four innings, putting up six runs to chase Bailey early.
Conlon, meanwhile got off to a strong start, not allowing a hit until Billy Hamilton took him deep in the bottom of the third. Unfortunately, his stuff didn’t work so well once batters had seen it once, and things went downhill quickly in the fourth. Three doubles in four batters cut the Mets’ lead to 6-3, and after a walk to pinch hitter Alex Blandino, Conlon was pulled. He finished his first career start after 3.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks, striking out only one and leaving before he was eligible for the win.
Paul Sewald got the last out of the fourth without incident, and Adrian Gonzalez followed that up with his second home run of the game, a solo shot to re-extend the Mets’ lead to 7-3. Things began to get dicey in the bottom of the sixth, though. Sewald gave up a leadoff home run to Eugenio Suarez, and after a ground out, two singles put runners on first and third and the tying run at the plate.
Robert Gsellman replaced Sewald and allowed one run to score on a sacrifice fly, but limited the damage and kept the 7-5 lead intact. He worked a scoreless seventh as well, but with one out in the eighth, the Reds struck again, this time with a long ball of the bat of Scooter Gennett. The Reds didn’t get anything else, but the Mets’ lead was down to one.
The Mets a chance at insurance in the top of the ninth. Yoenis Cespedes led off with a double and was replaced by pinch runner Jose Reyes. Jay Bruce quickly followed with a single to right, but Glenn Sherlock inexplicably held up Reyes at third. That Reyes didn’t have the instincts to run through the stop sign anyway was also damning, given that his baserunning is the only reason he’s on the team. Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a strikeout after being up in the count 3-0, and Todd Frazier grounded into a double play, squandering the scoring chance.
Mercifully, Jeurys Familia made that bungling irrelevant. He shut down the Reds in the bottom of the ninth, registering his tenth save of the year and securing the Mets’ first win since April 27. Robert Gsellman earned credit for the win for his 2.2 innings of relief. It’s a gasp of fresh air for a team that had been drowning in abject terribleness for the past week and a half, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Hopefully the nine extra-base hits—a season high—are a sign good things to come.
Jason Vargas will look to turn his struggles around on Tuesday evening against Luis Castillo, who has had some major struggles of his own. Of course, Cincinnati is not a good place for a struggling, soft-tossing lefty to right the ship. The Mets’ bats will need to stay hot if they’d like to register back-to-back wins for the first time since mid-April.
SB Nation GameThreads
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Jeurys Familia, +20.9% WPA; Jay Bruce, +15.7% WPA; Robert Gsellman, +14.3% WPA; Adrian Gonzalez, +14.1% WPA
Big losers: Todd Frazier, -14.7% WPA; Asdrubal Cabrera, -10.9% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Jay Bruce hits a two-run homer to give the Mets a 4-0 lead in the third, +9.8% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Scooter Gennett homers off of Robert Gsellman in the bottom of the eight, -12.3% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +27% WPA
Total batter WPA: +23% WPA
GWRBI!: Adrian Gonzalez