Late collapse hands Reds loss against Mets
NEW YORK (AP) — Aroldis Chapman left the game with his 0.00 ERA intact. Yet the rocket-armed reliever and his Cincinnati bullpen pals were far from perfect.
David Wright lined his second double of the game, a tiebreaking drive in the eighth inning that raised his major league-leading average to .411 and sent the New York Mets past the Reds 9-4 Thursday.
Down 4-0, the Mets began their comeback in the middle innings. Then, they were the surprise winners in a matchup of relief corps that were going in different directions, and spoiled the Reds’ extended stay in New York.
“We didn’t play well the last five innings. They didn’t play well the first four innings,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said.
Ronny Cedeno’s three-run homer capped a five-run eighth against Logan Ondrusek (3-1), a burst that began with a neatly placed bunt single by backup catcher Rob Johnson with one out.
Wright was up next and, after his shot down the left-field line was inches foul, sent a one-hopper off the wall in center for a 5-4 lead. He later scored on a soft single by Justin Turner.
“The bunt down the line, the little bloop hit. You know something is going to happen,” Ondrusek said.
Wright went 2 for 2, drew three walks, scored three runs and stole a base. He scored the tying run in the seventh as the Mets became the first team this year to dent Chapman.
Chapman had not allowed a run in 19 1-3 innings this season, striking out 34. But he issued a leadoff walk to Wright and a single to Lucas Duda to begin the inning.
Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs missed a sliding catch on Daniel Murphy’s looper and was charged with an error that loaded the bases, and Turner made it 4-all with a pinch-hit sacrifice fly. It was an unearned run, but the damage was done.
“We kind of helped them with walks,” Baker said.
Cincinnati began the day with the best bullpen ERA in the NL while the Mets had among the worst. But a trio of Mets relievers pitched scoreless ball, with Bobby Parnell (1-0) getting the win.
The Reds continue their unusual road trip Friday night when they move from Queens to the Bronx for a series against the Yankees. Cincinnati is the first team to play both New York clubs on the same road trip since interleague play began in 1997.
Like any tourist coming to town, the Reds hope to avoid getting lost. It happened to one unidentified Cincinnati player this week when a taxi driver took him to Yankee Stadium instead of Citi Field, and he arrived late at the ballpark.
Joey Votto lined a solo home run off the facing of the second deck in right field to put Cincinnati ahead in the fourth.
A bit of strategy suggested by Baker may’ve helped the Reds boost the lead in the fifth. Baker wanted his hitters to crowd the plate against R.A. Dickey, rather than give the knuckleballer “this big ol’ window” as a target for floaters.
Standing close, Ryan Ludwick was plunked to open the inning — it was the first batter Dickey hit this season. A walk set up Ryan Hanigan’s run-scoring double and pitcher Mat Latos hit a sacrifice fly for his first RBI of the year, matching his total from last season.
A pitch after a knuckler popped out of catcher Mike Nickeas’ mitt with no harm, another knuckler escaped to the backstop for a passed ball that let Hanigan score for a 4-0 lead. Nickeas wasn’t the only catcher having trouble handling Dickey — at one point, Johnson warmed him up in-between innings and missed three straight pitches.
Duda hit a two-out, two-run double in the Mets fifth. Right fielder Jay Bruce took an odd path, cutting over into the alley and watching the ball sail past him. When the inning ended, Bruce and Reds coach Billy Hatcher briefly discussed the play outside the dugout.
Pinch-hitter Mike Baxter’s sacrifice fly drew the Mets to 4-3 in the sixth.
NOTES: Cincinnati RHP Bronson Arroyo will start vs. LHP Andy Pettitte in the Reds’ first visit to the new Yankee Stadium. Baker says Ludwick will be the DH for at least two of three games. … Votto provided the comic relief of the afternoon. After Murphy lined a single off his glove, the Reds first baseman went to the dugout. Votto wound up and pretended he was going to throw his glove into the crowd, then reached into the bench for another mitt.