The Cincinnati Reds road woes continued on Wednesday at Citi Field as the New York Mets completed a three-game sweep with a 5-2 victory.
That marks the fourth straight loss for a Reds (9-12) team that began the week near the top of the NL Central, but watched the Cubs (15-5), Pirates (13-9), and Cardinals (12-9) string together wins, with the Brewers (8-12) now just a game behind Cincinnati. New York (13-7) is trending in the opposite direction as they have won six straight.
It was another rough series for the bullpen as Neil Walker hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh on Monday and Tony Cingrani surrendered a go-ahead single in the seventh on Tuesday after Yoenis Cepedes had tied the game with a three-run pinch-hit homer early in the frame.
Wednesday’s contest didn’t get a chance to make it to the bullpen before the Mets had outscored the Reds, thanks to some poor defense behind Jon Moscot (0-2). Moscot went five innings allowing just four hits, but a costly two out error caused two of the three runs he allowed to be unearned.
The Reds were able to strike quickly against Matt Harvey (2-3) as Zack Cozart homered to begin the game. Cozart has thrived in the lead-off role for the Reds as he is hitting .397 with two homers and eight RBI to begin the year.
Moscot’s trouble came in the bottom of the inning when with two outs, Scott Schebler couldn’t make the catch on a Lucas Duda line drive to end the inning and it allowed Alejandro De Aza to come in and tie the game. Duda scored when Walker singled him home to make it 2-1.
Harvey had to escape some big trouble in the third as the Reds loaded the bases with just one out. Cincinnati failed to cash in as Eugenio Suarez struck out and Devin Mesoraco lined out to end the threat. The Mets extended their lead in the bottom of the frame when Walker tagged his ninth homer of the year to tie him with the Nationals Bryce Haper and two Rockies in Nolan Arenado and rookie Trevor Story.
The Reds finally got some luck in the fifth as Cozart reached on an infield single and then moved to third two batters later on a Joey Votto single. Suarez came through this time, as he also reached on an infield single to score Cozart and make it a 3-2 contest. The rally was quelled when Mesoraco hit into an inning ending double play.
Blake Wood took over for Moscot in the sixth and recorded two outs, but his second walk of the inning led to manager Bryan Price to call upon Drew Hayes to face Michael Conforto. The Mets outfielder wound up doubling in a pair of runs and finished the series going 6-11 with three RBI and three runs scored.
Jim Henderson and Hansel Robles combined for two scoreless innings for the Mets while Hayes recovered to toss a scoreless seventh and Ross Ohlendorf kept New York off the board to keep the Reds within closing distance. However, the Reds went down with much resistance against Addison Reed in the ninth, who earned his first save of the season, spelling the Mets regular closer Jeurys Familia.
The Reds are hoping that good news is on the horizon as Homer Bailey threw another rehab start on Wednesday, while Anthony DeSclafani is set for a rehab start on Thursday.
Cincinnati will now head to Pittsburgh who will be trying for a four game sweep of the Rockies in Colorado before heading back to PNC Park. The Reds took two of three from the Pirates in the first week of the season at Great American Ballpark. The Pirates pitching staff has faced similar issues as the Reds as of late, but their offense has been able to overcome two blown saves during their four game road winning streak.
Dan Straily (0-0, 3.50 ERA) will get the nod in Friday’s opener against Francisco Liriano (1-1, 4.64 ERA) who earned a no decision in his first start against the Reds this season. The Reds are hoping to see Pirates killer Brandon Phillips return to the lineup after a rough at bat on Monday when he fouled two pitches off the same place on his shin and then was hit by a pitch in the hand. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.