Daniel Murphy continues to get the job done offensively regardless of his position on defense. Since May 26th Murphy is hitting .355 (last 50 starts). Tonight was more of the same as the booth called it a line drive hitting display by Murph, 3/4 with 2 RBI.
On the mound, Niese was sharp… until the 5th. Niese gave up a lead off walk, followed by a one out single to Stubbs and a 2 RBI double to Renteria. Then Votto smashed his 14th HR to left field to give the Reds the lead. While Niese was pounded for 4 runs that inning, I was impressed how he was able to come back and finish the inning retiring Phillips and Bruce on ground outs.
While the Mets had given up the lead in the 5th they struck back right away in the top of the 6th. The inning was started by the deadly walk to Jason Bay. Paulino would reach and wind up at 2nd after the shoddy Reds defense botched a force play at 2nd. The walk and error came back to haunt the Reds as Jason Pridie slashed a double to RF plating the 2 gifted Mets.
After holding the Reds in the bottom of the 6th the deadly lead off walk would arise again. This time to Beltran. Wright singled pushing Beltran to 2nd and bringing up Dan the Man. Murphy delivered yet again with a single to CF scoring Beltran. After a single from Paulino leaving runners at 2nd and 3rd, Wright would be gunned down at home on a force out off the bat of Pridie. Pagan, fresh off his fatigue battle hit a single CF plating Murphy and giving the Mets a 3 run cushion.
Little did the Mets know their offense was done for the night and the short handed pen would have to hold the 3 run lead for 3 more turns AB. Here the string puller Collins would earn his keep. Iggy came in and with his new found refound splitter pitched a scoreless 7th and had 2 outs in the 8th before giving up a run on Fred Lewis single scoring Chris Heisey. Beato relived Iggy to get Stubbs to fly out. To start the 9th the Mets handed the ball back to Beato who retired Renteria before giving up a single to Votto. With a runner on 1st Phillips hit a double play ball that was mishandled by Reyes and thrown away by Turner, Phillips went to second on the error. They did manage to get at least one out at 2B. Byrdak came in replacing Beato and showed lots of emotion retiring LH Jay Bruce on a strike out to end the game.
The Mets finish the game 52-51 and the Reds fall to 50-53. Only because of the division could the Reds and the Mets be in such different situations. On a side note it is interesting that even with this not so good start from Niese he was able to get the win because of the fact he was able to battle back after the Votto HR to get the next two guys to close the inning.
Tomorrow’s game features an interesting match-up of Mike Pelfrey vs Bronson Arroyo. Both pitchers have pitched well below their expectations, Arroyo the worse of the two. Check out the preview here.