CINCINNATI -- The Mets kicked off a six-game road trip to the leaders of the National League’s Central and East divisions with a 3-0 loss to the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
WHAT IT MEANS: Jay Bruce’s three-run home run with no outs in the bottom of the ninth off Josh Edgin sent the Mets to their sixth loss in the past eight games and spoiled a gritty outing by starter Chris Young. Manny Acosta (1-3) took the loss after he gave up a walk and single to begin the ninth inning before the left-handed Edgin came on to face the lefty-hitting Bruce.
Young pitched into and out of trouble for his 5 2/3 innings of work, but, according to ESPN Stats & Information, he became the first Mets pitcher to allow 12 baserunners in a game without giving up a run since Bobby Jones did it against Atlanta in 1996.
In all, Mets pitching stranded 14 Cincinnati runners, including the bases loaded twice, but the bullpen couldn’t get out of a final jam.
Young gave up leadoff hits in each of the first three innings, including doubles in the second inning to Bruce and in the third inning to Zack Cozart, but pitched out of each situation without giving up a run.
He retired the first two batters routinely in the fourth before giving up a double to No. 8 hitter Ryan Hanigan and walking pitcher Mat Latos. Again, though, he got out of trouble by getting Cozart to hit a lazy fly ball to Mike Baxter in right field.
Ryan Ludwick doubled with two outs in the fifth but Young struck out Bruce on a slow breaking pitch to end that threat. Young needed the help of Ramon Ramirez to get out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning after he had retired the first two batters. Hanigan and Latos had consecutive singles, and Cozart walked to end Young’s night after 105 pitches.
Ramirez got ahead of Drew Stubbs with two quick called strikes and eventually induced a groundout to second baseman Daniel Murphy.
Bobby Parnell came in for the seventh and did his best impression of Young. After walking Brandon Phillips to lead off the inning, Parnell struck out Ludwick and Bruce, each swinging. Phillips went to third on a single up the middle by Toms River, N.J., native and rookie of the year candidate Todd Frazier. A walk to pinch hitter Xavier Paul was mitigated when Parnell covered first base on a grounder to Ike Davis to retire Hanigan for the third out.
Mets pitching didn’t record a perfect inning until Jon Rauch in the eighth.
The Mets' offense left 10 runners on, including the bases loaded in the fourth and runners at second and third in the ninth. Latos gave up five hits in his seven innings of work.
Shortstop Ruben Tejada doubled in the third inning leading off. That gives him at least one hit in 17 of his past 18 games dating back to July 26, but he missed two RBI opportunities, striking out looking with Josh Thole on second and one out in the seventh, and then hitting a sharp liner to Stubbs to end the top of the ninth with Thole on third and Scott Hairston on second.
WHAT’S NEXT: Game No. 2 of this three-game series is Wednesday with R.A. Dickey (15-3, 2.72 ERA) scheduled to face Reds right-hander Mike Leake (4-7, 4.51) at 7:10 p.m. ET.