New York at Cincinnati

N.Y. Mets
W: J. Niese (8-8) L: M. Leake (14-7) S: V. Black (1)
HR: NYM - D. Murphy (13)   CIN - None

Murphy hits three-run HR as Mets hand Reds costly defeat wire reports

CINCINNATI -- Mike Leake had one of those nights that happen to pitchers every so often. Bad timing for this one.

And now, the Cincinnati Reds face long odds against a second straight NL Central title.

Daniel Murphy hit a three-run homer off Leake, whose long streak of scoreless innings got shattered early, and the New York Mets beat Cincinnati 4-2 on Tuesday night, a costly setback to the Reds' hopes of another division title.

The Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates clinched playoff spots on Monday night, but hoped to chase down the first-place St. Louis Cardinals with closing surges. Leake's one very bad inning made that much less likely for the Reds.

Cincinnati fell a daunting three games behind St. Louis, which beat Washington 2-0 on Tuesday night. If they can't catch up, they are headed for the wild card playoff game next Tuesday.

``We'll forget about this one,'' manager Dusty Baker said. ``Four games to go.''

Leake (14-7) gave up four runs and eight hits in only 1 2-3 innings, matching the shortest start of his career. Wilfredo Tovar ended his scoreless innings streak at 21 2-3 with an RBI single, and Murphy's homer gave left-hander Jon Niese (8-8) the big lead.

``That happens,'' Leake said. ``There was one pitch that blew it open for them. They just got me.''

Niese kept lefties Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in check again, holding them to a combined 0 for 6 with four strikeouts. Niese allowed two runs and eight hits in seven innings. Vic Black faced three batters in the ninth, getting his first career save on his second try.

Eric Young Jr. had a single and a double, scored a run and stole his 42nd base for the Mets, who have won eight of 12.

It was a stunning outing for Leake, who has been the Reds' most effective starter lately. The right-hander allowed a total of two runs while winning his last three starts and getting his career-high 14th win.

Will the one bad start weigh in Cincinnati's decision about its postseason pitching staff?

``We aren't even thinking about that yet,'' Baker said. ``Everybody's capable of a bad start. This is the first one in a long time for him.

``He didn't have his good control. He threw some balls over the heart of the plate and up.''

Leake gave up two singles in the first inning before escaping. Mike Baxter led off the second with a double and scored on Tovar's single.

The right-hander got an assist when Bruce threw Tovar out at the plate as he tried to score from second base on Niese's single to right field, but it wasn't enough. Murphy's three-run homer on the 10th pitch of his at-bat made it 4-0 with two outs. When David Wright followed with a single - the Mets' eighth hit - Baker made the change.

Leake didn't look at his start as a final chance to make a bid for the postseason pitching staff. He was left off last year, but replaced the injured Johnny Cueto during Cincinnati's first-round series loss to San Francisco.

``Naw, I wasn't fighting for anything,'' Leake said. ``They're going to decide whatever they decide. It's not a competition for anything.''

Niese also got off to a rough start, giving up singles to Shin-Soo Choo and Brandon Phillips on his first two pitches of the game. He got out of that threat with the help of center fielder Juan Lagares, who nailed Choo at the plate as he tried to score on Ryan Ludwick's single.

Todd Frazier doubled in the second and came around on two groundouts.

Choo tripled - Lagares charged the ball and missed it - and scored when Votto grounded into a double play in the fifth, cutting it to 4-2. Votto is 2 for 15 in his career against Niese with seven strikeouts. Bruce is 2 for 13 with six strikeouts.


Murphy's 13 homers are a career high. ... Young has 26 steals in the second half of the season, most in the majors. ... Leake also lasted 1 2-3 innings on July 30 last season against San Diego. ... Leake's scoreless streak was the longest by a Reds starter since Tom Browning threw 23 straight scoreless innings in 1990, when the Reds won the World Series. ... Baker said the Reds haven't decided how RHP Johnny Cueto fits into their postseason rotation and whether rookie Billy Hamilton will be on the playoff roster. ... The series concludes with a day game on Wednesday. RHP Mat Latos (14-6) starts for Cincinnati against RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-3).

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
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Daniel Murphy, Matt den Dekker and Juan Lagares celebrate the Mets' 4-2 win over the Reds. (USATSI)
Daniel Murphy, Matt den Dekker and Juan Lagares celebrate the Mets' 4-2 win over the Reds. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
New York

D. Murphy
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1

S. Choo
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0

Related Video

New York (N.L.) Mets
Eric Young Jr., LF4120010 .251
Daniel Murphy, 2B4123001 .285
David Wright, 3B4020001 .313
Lucas Duda, 1B3000023 .228
Juan Lagares, CF4010003 .251
Mike Baxter, RF3110011 .193
   a-Josh Satin, PH1000000 .280
   Scott Atchison, P0000000 .000
   Vic Black, P0000000 .000
Travis d'Arnaud, C3000111 .185
Wilfredo Tovar, SS4011000 .375
Jonathon Niese, P3110022 .211
   Matt den Dekker, RF1000000 .222
a-grounded out for Baxter in the 8th
2B - Eric Young Jr. (27, Leake), Mike Baxter (6, Leake)
HR - Daniel Murphy (13, Leake)
RBI - Daniel Murphy 3 (76), Wilfredo Tovar (2)
2-OUT RBI - Daniel Murphy 3 (34)
SB - Eric Young Jr. (42, 2nd base off Leake/Mesoraco)
CS - Juan Lagares (3, 2nd base by Simon/Mesoraco)
Team LOB - 5
Outfield Assists - Juan Lagares 1
DP - Tovar-Murphy-Duda, Tovar-Murphy-Duda-Black-Tovar-Duda
New York (N.L.) Mets
Jonathon Niese (W,8-8) 7822160 3.74
Scott Atchison (H,10) 1000000 3.89
Vic Black (S,1) 1000020 3.60
WP - Jonathon Niese (5), Vic Black (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Jonathon Niese 113-81, Scott Atchison 6-4, Vic Black 14-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jonathon Niese 6-7, Scott Atchison 3-0, Vic Black 1-0
Batters Faced - Jonathon Niese 28, Scott Atchison 3, Vic Black 3
Cincinnati Reds
Shin-Soo Choo, CF4120001 .287
Brandon Phillips, 2B3010110 .262
Joey Votto, 1B4000022 .306
Ryan Ludwick, LF4020002 .258
Jay Bruce, RF4000033 .264
Todd Frazier, 3B4110010 .236
Zack Cozart, SS4010002 .254
Devin Mesoraco, C3001001 .242
Mike Leake, P0000000 .190
   Zach Duke, P10100001.000
   a-Neftali Soto, PH1000011 .000
   Logan Ondrusek, P0000000 .000
   J.J. Hoover, P0000000 .000
   b-Chris Heisey, PH1000000 .232
   Sean Marshall, P0000000 .000
   Alfredo Simon, P0000000 .143
a-struck out for Duke in the 4th
b-lined out for Hoover in the 7th
2B - Todd Frazier (29, Niese), Zack Cozart (29, Niese)
3B - Shin-Soo Choo (2, Niese)
RBI - Devin Mesoraco (42)
Team LOB - 5
Outfield Assists - Jay Bruce 1
DP - B. Phillips-Cozart-Votto
Cincinnati Reds
Mike Leake (L,14-7) 1.2844021 3.37
Zach Duke 2.1200120 6.44
Logan Ondrusek 2000020 4.08
J.J. Hoover 1000010 2.78
Sean Marshall 0.1000000 1.80
Alfredo Simon 1.2000000 2.94
WP - Zach Duke (2)
HBP - Duda (by Sean Marshall)
Pitches-Strikes - Mike Leake 54-35, Zach Duke 39-22, Logan Ondrusek 27-16, J.J. Hoover 12-8, Sean Marshall 12-8, Alfredo Simon 17-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mike Leake 1-1, Zach Duke 3-1, Logan Ondrusek 3-1, Sean Marshall 1-0, Alfredo Simon 2-2
Batters Faced - Mike Leake 12, Zach Duke 9, Logan Ondrusek 6, J.J. Hoover 3, Sean Marshall 2, Alfredo Simon 4
Game Information
Attendance - 28887
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 74
Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Brian Gorman, Third Base - Tony Randazzo