It’s deja vu all over again for Johan Santana; he left the game with a 3-2 lead and in line for the win, but the bullpen couldn’t make it stand up to give him his second victory of the year. This time, it was Jon Rauch who couldn’t close out the game. The Mets’ ace has now thrown five straight quality starts, but has only registered one win out of it.
The two teams traded runs in the third inning; Zack Cozart doubled in Mike Leake to take a 1-0 lead, but Lucas Dudasingled in the bottom of the inning to bring the score back even, which it stayed at until the bottom of the sixth, when the Mets were finally able
to break through against Leake and Cincinnati. Leake had an encouraging start for him after a poor showing so far this season, going seven innings, giving up seven hits, two walks, and striking out five while surrendering three runs (one earned). New York put together a rally in the bottom of the sixth, started by another Lucas Duda single. Once Daniel Murphy reached on a fielder’s choice, Ike Davis doubled in Duda, then Mike Nickeas laid down a bunt to score Murphy, giving Santana a 3-1 lead to work with.
Taking the mound in the seventh, Johan ran into some trouble, giving up a home run to Todd Frazier, then allowing Devin Mesoraco to single. After a Mike Leake sacrifice bunt, Santana made his exit after 6.2 innings pitched, six hits, two walks, five strikeouts, and two runs allowed. Bobby Parnell was the first reliever out of the ‘pen last night (thank you, Terry), and struck out Zack Cozart to end the threat and keep the lead intact.
After New York went down silently in the eighth, Jon Rauch came in to set things up for Francisco in the ninth, but it never got that far. Rauch experienced only his second ineffective outing as a Met this season, only being able to throw 0.1 innings and giving up three runs. After Drew Stubbs single, Joey Votto doubled, then Brandon Phillips singled to tie the game. Jay Bruce hit a sacrifice fly to give Cincinnati the lead, then D.J. Carrasco gave up a two-run homer to Todd Frazier, extending the lead to 6-4 for the Reds. Aroldis Chapman came in to shut the door in the ninth, and that he did, setting the Mets down in order with two strikeouts.
The loss is the Mets second straight, dropping them to 20-17 on the season, now in a tie for third place with the Miami Marlins, both of them being 3 games out of first place. The Reds kept pace with the Cardinals, who also won last night, and are 19-17, still 2.5 games behind first.
Offensively, Lucas Duda was the one Met hitter that shined, collecting three hits with an RBI and run scored. Other than that, there was not a whole lot of damage coming from the New York lineup on a day they were announced as hosting next year’s All-Star game. David Wright took the collar, going hitless in two at-bats and walking twice, lowering his average to .402. Despite losing this late lead, it was only the second time in 18 games that New York lost a lead in the seventh inning or later….doesn’t feel like that, right? That’s because the bullpen has a league high nine blown saves, and a 8.69 ERA in their last seven games. Something has to happen, and happen quick. The one positive came from Santana, who turned in his fifth consecutive quality start, and threw over 100 pitches for the second time in three starts. Also, Ike Davis broke his 0-16 slump at Citi Field with his RBI double.
Probable Pitchers today:
The Mets and Reds lock up for an afternoon affair to wrap up this two-game set. Cincinnati will send Mat Latos (2-2, 4.54 ERA), their prized off-season acquisition to the hill against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.65 ERA). New York is trying to avoid their third straight loss as the two teams get ready for their first taste of interleague play this weekend. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10pm.