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Heading home with a win

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A great effort from the bullpen and some timely home runs in Cincinnati.

MLB: New York Mets at Cincinnati Reds David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Facing the Reds in their final road game of the season, the Mets came out on top with a 6-3 victory. Marcus Stroman ran out of gas in the fifth inning, but the bullpen put together a huge effort in a critical win. Home runs from Michael Conforto, Brandon Nimmo, and a record-setting blast from J.D. Davis provided the offense as the Mets cling to some flimsy postseason hopes.

In the first inning, this game looked like it would be a slug fest. With two outs, Pete Alonso yanked a ground ball double just inside the third base bag, and Robinson Cano followed with an RBI double off the right field wall. Two batters later, Michael Conforto hit an absolute blast into the right-field bleachers for a three-run home run, giving the Mets a 4-0 lead before Marcus Stroman even took the mound.

The Reds didn’t take the ambush lying down, however. Joey Votto singled with one out, and a ground ball off the bat of Eugenio Suarez went off Stoman’s glove and trickled into right field, putting runners on first and third with one out. Aristedes Aquino lofted a deep fly ball to center field that Brandon Nimmo was able to corral, but the Reds got one of those runs back on the sacrifice fly.

Despite the early excitement, things settled down quickly. Trevor Bauer didn’t allow another hit through the top of the fifth, allowing only one runner on a HBP (a breaking ball that hit Robinson Cano in the foot and ultimately forced him out of the game). Stroman seemed to have Bauer matched, but things fell apart with two outs in the bottom of the fifth. Kyle Farmer hit a solo home run to cut the Met lead to 4-2, before Stroman walked three straight Reds to load the bases and force Mickey Callaway’s hand. Brad Brach came in and escaped the jam with one pitch, but Stroman’s outing ended in a disappointing fashion.

J.D. Davis, who entered the game in place of Robinson Cano, got that run right back in the top of the sixth, lining an opposite field home run with one out. In addition to pushing the Met lead back to three runs, Davis’s blast also gave the Mets five twenty-homerun hitters - Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Todd Frazier, and Davis - for the first time in team history. It’s been quite the season for arguably the best offseason acquisition for Brodie Van Waganen.

Brach stayed in for the bottom of the sixth and worked around more traffic, this time of his own making. He was up to the task again, however, working around a pair of two out singles to keep the Reds off the board. Edwin Diaz had a similar outing of his own in the seventh, getting himself in some trouble with a pair of walks but striking out three Reds to escape unscathed.

A two out double from Wilson Ramos set up a bit of an opportunity in the top of the eighth, but the Mets couldn’t cash in. Seth Lugo entered for the bottom half and promptly surrendered a leadoff home run to Tucker Barnhart, cutting the Met lead to two. He retired the next three Reds, however, and Brandon Nimmo got that run right back with a home run of his own with two outs in the top of the ninth.

Justin Wilson took over in the bottom of the ninth, and aside from a two out walk to Joey Votto handled the top of the Reds lineup with no issue. The win clinches the Mets first season at .500 or better since 2016 and keeps their palyoff homes alive for the moment. With the Nationals and Brewers now tied at the top of the Wild Card race, the Mets are 4.5 games back of a playoff spot with seven games to go. They’ll start a four game set with the Marlins on Monday in Citi Field.

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What’s WPA?

Big winners: Michael Conforto, +22.2% WPA; Brad Brach, +16.1% WPA; Robinson Cano, +10.7% WPA
Big losers: None
Total pitcher WPA: +25.0% WPA
Total batter WPA: +25.0% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Michael Conforto hits a three-run home run in the first, +22.1% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Kyle Farmer homers with two outs in the fifth, -8.7% WPA