Out of the playoffs themselves, the Mets are playing the role of spoiler for one playoff-bound team. They dealt a blow to the Reds quest to win the Central, beating them Tuesday night.
Jonathon Niese allowed three hits to the Reds in the first inning but they could not score any runs thanks to Juan Lagares, who gunned down Shin-Soo Choo at the plate with a perfect throw from center. It was Lagares’s 13th assist on the season, 12 of them as a center fielder, which leads all of baseball at the position.
Choo had a chance to return the favor in the top of the second but failed. Mike Baxter led off the inning with a double off of Mike Leake. With one out Wilfredo Tovar singled to center. It looked like Choo would have a chance to throw out Baxter, but he took what seemed like forever to get rid of the ball and Baxter easily beat the throw to score the game’s first run. Tovar went to second on the throw. Niese singled to right, but Jay Bruce unleashed a Lagares-like throw to nail Tovar at the plate. Eric Young hit a long drive to center that bounced on the warning track and over the wall, the ground rule double holding Niese at third. Daniel Murphy then hit a line drive into the seats in right for a three-run shot to give the Mets a 4-0 lead. Wright followed with a single. And that was all for Leake, whom the Mets treated like a batting practice pitcher. In 1.2 innings he allowed four runs on eight hits. Zach Duke got the final out.
The Reds got one of the runs back in the bottom of the second on a double and a couple of ground outs.
Choo tripled in the fifth and scored on a double play to cut the Mets lead to 4-2.
Niese went seven innings, allowing two runs on eight hits. He struck out six Reds and walked one.
Vic Black, not LaTroy Hawkins, came on to close out the ninth, earning the first save of his career.
Mets win 4-2.