The New York Mets (72-66) topped the Reds (57-79) by a score of 5-0 on a Labor Day matinee in Cincinnati on Monday. The Mets are now half a game back of the St Louis for the final Wild Card spot, pending the Cardinals’ game against the Pirates this evening.
Bartolo Colon pitched for the Mets and was terrific, scattering 5 hits and a walk over 6 scoreless innings, striking out 2. He was backed by a solid offensive performance from the “ReplaceMets,” with several key players getting the day off after a night game and a flight.
The Mets got on the board first in the top of the third inning against Robert Stephenson when a jetlagged, sleepless Matt Reynolds hit a solo shot in his first at-bat back from Triple-A. In the bottom of the inning, Colon put runners on second and third with no outs, but escaped the jam unscathed. Kelly Johnson then padded the lead with a solo shot of his own in the top of the fifth.
Bartolo allowed another runner to reach third with no outs in the bottom of the sixth, but again got out of the inning without allowing a run. In the top of the seventh, the Mets scored 3 runs on a walk by Travis d’Arnaud, singles from James Loney, Reynolds, and Asdrubal Cabrera (off the bench), and a sacrifice fly from Alejandro De Aza.
With a 5-0 lead, Terry Collins went to Hansel Robles in the bottom of the seventh and got a scoreless frame from the hard-throwing righty. Jerry Blevins got a couple outs in the eighth before getting into a jam which Fernando Salas was able to work out of to keep the Reds off the board. Salas then pitched a perfect ninth to seal the Met victory.
With the Mets keeping much of their A-lineup on the bench, they looked to be opening the door for a vastly inferior Reds team to steal a game. Bartolo Colon made sure that didn’t happen, keeping a Reds lineup with a few pretty solid bats in check before giving way to the bullpen, which had a solid day as well.
Meanwhile, the offense got the job done, and then some. Reynolds had a big day in his first game back, collecting 3 hits, including the homer, and 2 RBI. Wilmer Flores also had a nice day at the plate with 3 hits of his own, but didn’t fare so well on the basepaths, getting gunned down twice by Adam Duvall and getting doubled up for a third out on a line drive to Joey Votto.
Cabrera continues to rake. He only saw a minute of playing time, as he didn’t put a glove on and was pinch-run for after reaching base, but still made an impact with the base-hit that drove in the fourth run and set up the fifth.
Jay Bruce didn’t make any noise at the plate, but got a nice ovation from the Cincinnati crowd in his first game back since the trade. The only other time the Reds fans made any noise was in the ninth inning, when Ty Kelly became the tenth Met to strike out and in doing so granted the Cincinnati faithful the gift of free pizza.
This was a nice, comfortable win, albeit one against a team the Mets should beat comfortably on a regular basis. Hopefully they’ll keep it going on Tuesday.
Up Next: Rafael Montero (0-0, 3.68 ERA) will make his second start of the year when the Mets take on the Reds at 7:10 on Tuesday in Cincinnati. The Reds will counter with Brandon Finnegan (8-10, 4.19 ERA).
Happy Labor Day, and Let’s Go Mets!