Game Recap: Homers by Hairston and Nieuwenhuis Not Enough in 7-3 loss to Reds

By Matt Musico

The Mets were coming home after their dominant three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Amazins were playing in front of more than 34,000 fans, their biggest crowd since the second game of the season. Unfortunately for the fans, they weren’t able to watch their team extend their win streak to four games against the Reds, as they couldn’t come back from an early deficit.

Mets Offensive Highlights:

After scoring 29 runs in three games down in St. Petersburg, the Mets offense could only muster three runs on four hits, two of which were home runs. Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Scott Hairston provided the power, while David Wright and Ike Davis each hit singles. As usual, Bronson Arroyokept the Mets back quiet, until they were finally able to put something on the board in the sixth inning. Nieuwenhuis led off the inning with his third homer in two days, his sixth of the year, but the side was retired in order behind him. In the bottom of the seventh, Davis started things off with a single, followed by a mammoth homer by Hairston to left field, which chased Arroyo from the game.

Reds Offensive Highlights:

Cincinnati had a balanced 7-run, 11-hit attack, which each starting position player getting at least one hit. Wilson Valdez and Zack Cozart led the way at the top with two hits each. The scoring started in the top of the second, as Jay Bruce hit an inside-the-park homer to left field, and the Mets lost Jason Bay on the play with a concussion since he slammed his head into the wall. After a Todd Frazier single, Ryan Ludwick chased him around to score with an RBI double. The next inning, Dillon Gee hit Joey Votto with a pitch, and Brandon Phillips gave the ultimate payback with a two-run homer. The Reds were quiet until the seventh; Arroyo reached base after his sacrifice bunt didn’t work, and Zack Cozart joined him with a double. Valdez made it hurt with a two-run double. Valdez added some insurance in the ninth, as he singled in Willie Harris after he doubled to lead off the inning.

Pitching Highlights:

Both starting pitchers had similar lines, but Gee was burned by giving up early runs, whereas Arroyo gave up runs only after gaining a lead. Gee’s final line looks like this: 6IP, 5 hits, 4 runs (3 earned), 1 walk, 1 hit batter, and 4 strikeouts. Terry Collins use Jeremy Hefner and Elvin Ramirez in relief behind Gee, but they gave up 3 runs on 6 hits, as they couldn’t keep the Reds quiet to allow the possibility of a Mets comeback.

On the other hand, Arroyo’s line looks very similar to Gee’s: 6+IP, 4 hits, 3 earned runs, 2 walks, 5 strikeouts. Dusty Baker used three relievers behind his starter ( Jose Arredondo, Sean Marshall, and Aroldis Chapman), and they each threw perfect innings en route to the victory.

Worth Noting:

The loss halts the Mets’ win streak at three games, and drops their season record to 35-30. The Braves beat Baltimore last night, putting them in front of New York for second place, but the Amazins are still 4.5 games behind Washington after a loss to the Yankees, who are beating everyone lately.

Jason Bay looks to be out for a significant period of time again with another concussion, adding to his frustrations. Justin Turner is expected to take his roster spot Saturday. With his homer last night, Scott Hairston now has 9 HR and 26 RBI in 120 at-bats this year, which is more than what he had all last year (7 HR, 24 RBI). Kirk Nieuwenhuis has hit his third home run in two games, and registered his sixth hit in his last three games. Ike Davis continues his journey off the interstate, raising his average to .191.

Probable Pitchers Saturday:

Homer Bailey (4-4, 4.35 ERA) will look to keep the Reds rolling to their fifth straight win as he takes the mound tonight, but Jonathon Niese (4-2, 3.69 ERA) hopes to cool off the Cincinnati bats so the Mets can get back on a roll. First pitch is scheduled for 7:15pm.