New York Mets: Cincinnati Reds

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Reds 3

September, 7, 2014
9/07/14
5:01
PM ET
CINCINNATI -- Takeaways from the Queen City, where the New York Mets got great pitching from Zack Wheeler, and just enough offense (due to some poor defense) to escape with a win:

The result: In his first time facing the Cincinnati Reds, Wheeler pitched six innings and gave up five hits, one earned run and two walks while striking out six -- and twice finding ways to get out of trouble in a 4-3 win in front of 31,444 at Great American Ball Park. The Mets won by scoring zero earned runs and hung on when reliever Jenrry Mejia gave up two runs in the ninth, as well as a single to Todd Frazier that originally was called the third out. After a manager’s challenge (3 minutes and eight seconds’ worth), the play was ruled a hit, loading the bases for catcher Devin Mesoraco, who then struck out and ended the game.

Wheeling and dealing: Wheeler looked so good, in fact, that in the beginning of the fourth inning the writers in the press box started their tradition of betting on who could break up his no-hitter. It would not take long to find an answer -- and for the Mets it looked like everything was going to fall apart early.

Fourth and uh-oh: It seemed like the fourth inning was going to be Wheeler’s undoing. Reds left-fielder Skip Schumaker got the first hit of the game, a single up the middle. Wheeler then plunked the third baseman Frazier on the back, putting runners on first and second with none out. Mesoraco then worked a 1-1 count into a walk to load the bases. That set the stage for outspoken Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, who’d been hit on the hand in his first at-bat. Phillips fouled off two pitches, worked the count to 2-2 and then promptly hit into a 1-2-3 double play to Wheeler, who threw home and saved a run before the catcher threw to get Phillips at first. Wheeler then got Jay Bruce to ground out to first and the threat was over, resulting in a series of boos from the home crowd directed to their Reds (in fact, some of the loudest cheers came when the hometown Bengals clinched their football game over the Baltimore Ravens).

Wheels off? Think again: It was Reds pitcher Mat Latos who finally broke through on Wheeler in the fifth, smashing a two-out single into center field. Center-fielder Billy Hamilton followed with a single, and Skip Schumaker brought home Latos for the first run of the game and a 1-0 Reds lead. But like Wheeler had done in the fourth, he kept his wits, bore down and struck out Frazier to end the inning.

Like a wrecking ball: Wilmer Flores, who’d just been moved up to the fifth spot in the lineup on Sunday, got it all started with one out in the sixth inning, when he hit a long fly ball to the warning track, which Reds center-fielder Hamilton should have caught. Instead, the ball bounced off his glove for an error and Flores ended up at second. Curtis Granderson then slapped a hard single into right, which scored Flores and tied the game 1-1. But the Mets weren’t finished. With two outs, Anthony Recker (and his .184 average) came to the plate and smashed the first pitch he saw 412 feet into the left-field seats, giving New York a 3-1 lead. It was Recker’s sixth home run of the season. For the Mets, all three runs were unearned.

See ya later, Latos: The Reds starter fared well, going six innings and giving up seven hits, three runs, one home run and one walk, while striking out five. He was pulled after the sixth for reliever Sam LeCure.

18 Grand: Granderson got back into the act in the eighth, when he earned a second-chance at-bat. He first launched a high foul ball that Reds first baseman Jack Hannahan dropped out of his glove for an error, giving the Met another try. After working the count to 3-2, Granderson launched a 352-foot home run into the right field stands to extend the lead to 4-1. It was Granderson’s 18th home run of the season. In the ninth, Bruce hit his 16th home run of the season, a 407-foot bomb to right field to make the score 4-2. Hannahan then doubled, and pinch hitter Ryan Ludwick singled him in to end the scoring.

Juan's a steal: Mets centerfielder Juan Lagares had a bit of a field day on the bases. He swiped three bags Sunday, bringing his total to 12 stolen bases on the season.

Hispanic Heritage Day: Prior to the game, as part of Heritage Weekend, the Mets and Reds celebrated Hispanic Heritage Day with a ceremony in honor of the upcoming Hispanic Heritage Month. Flags from Hispanic countries were paraded around the stadium, and traditional dances were performed in the outfield while players warmed up.

Sunday's Mets-Reds lineups

September, 7, 2014
9/07/14
10:07
AM ET
Here are the lineups for Sunday's 1:10 p.m. rubber game between the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Mets
Juan Lagares, cf
Kirk Nieuwenhuis, lf
David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, 1b
Wilmer Flores, ss
Curtis Granderson, rf
Dilson Herrera, 2b
Anthony Recker, c
Zack Wheeler, rhp

Reds
Billy Hamilton, cf
Skip Schumaker, lf
Todd Frazier, 3b
Devin Mesoraco, c
Brandon Phillips, 2b
Jay Bruce, rf
Jack Hannahan, 1b
Zack Cozart, ss
Mat Latos, rhp

Morning Briefing: Ready for some baseball?

September, 7, 2014
9/07/14
5:45
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: M-E-T-S.

Mets! Mets! Mets!

It may now be football season in New York, but the Mets nonetheless will play a rubber game against the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday at Great American Ball Park.

Zack Wheeler (9-9, 3.45 ERA) opposes right-hander Mat Latos (5-4, 3.46) at 1:10 p.m.

Travis d'Arnaud is due for Sunday off.

Sunday’s news reports:

Dillon Gee surrendered a pair of solo homers and Eric Young Jr., initially ruled safe on a steal of third base in the ninth, was ruled out after a replay review as the Reds beat the Mets, 2-1, Saturday. Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

• Columnist Bill Madden in the Daily News suggests the Mets would be smart to acquire Yoenis Cespedes, whom Madden expects will be placed on the trading block by the Boston Red Sox this offseason. Writes Madden:

Considering Cespedes’ “lame duck” status for next year, the Red Sox cannot expect to get a huge return for him, and with [Rusney] Castillo, trading deadline acquisition Allen Craig and promising rookie Mookie Betts creating a sudden glut of outfielders, their biggest need would appear to be pitching, of which the Mets have a surplus -- of both starters and even closers with Bobby Parnell expected back to compete with Jenrry Mejia. The Mets are definitely positioned to deal for Cespedes (who, at the Home Run Derby two years ago, proved he had no trouble hitting home runs at Citi Field) and they should not concern themselves with his sign-ability.

• With Daniel Murphy (calf) seemingly poised to return from the DL as soon as Tuesday, Terry Collins offered no inclination to give time at shortstop to Dilson Herrera. “I’m not here to run a tryout camp,” Collins said. “I’m here to win some games.” Read more on Herrera in the Post, Star-Ledger and Newsday.

Rafael Montero, expected to join the Mets on Sunday, will mostly work in relief to judge his aptitude for that role in 2015. Only one start is penciled in right now. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Jim Baumbach in Newsday notes Curtis Granderson could have an interesting distinction soon. Already the single-season record holder for strikeouts as a Yankee (195 in 2012), Granderson (128 Ks) may soon claim that “honor” with the Mets, too. He needs 34 more Ks in the final 20 games to pass David Wright, who had a franchise-record 161 strikeouts in 2010.

For the record: Granderson does not hold the Detroit Tigers record, although he’s close. He had 174 Ks in 2006. Cecil Fielder had 182 in 1990.

• Las Vegas’ season ended with a 7-3 loss at Reno in Game 4 of the best-of-five series. Binghamton forced a winner-take-all Game 5 on Sunday in its opening-round series by beating Portland, 11-4. Savannah left the bases loaded in the eighth inning and was eliminated with a 2-1 loss against Asheville on Saturday, in the resumption of a suspended game. Read the full minor-league recap here.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear noticed another baserunning play at third that didn't go the Mets way.

BIRTHDAYS: Jason Isringhausen turns 42. ... David Newhan is 41. ... Brian Stokes is 35. ... Darren Bragg is 45.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will you be watching Mets-Reds or Jets-Raiders at 1 p.m.?

Rapid Reaction: Reds 2, Mets 1

September, 6, 2014
9/06/14
7:05
PM ET
CINCINNATI -- Dillon Gee opened with five shutout innings before being reached for first-pitch solo home runs by Todd Frazier in the sixth inning and pinch hitter Chris Heisey in the seventh inning of a 2-1 Mets loss to the Reds in the middle game of their three-game series at Great American Ball Park.

The Mets lost a crucial review in the top of the ninth when Eric Young Jr. -- the potential tying run -- appeared to steal third with one out only to be called out when replay showed that he bounced off the bag with Cincinnati third baseman Kristopher Negron still applying the tag.

Frazier tied the score with a 428-foot shot to center field with one out in the sixth inning. Heisey gave Cincinnati the lead with his 378-foot drive into the left-field seats while hitting for pitcher Johnny Cueto with two outs in the seventh.

Dilson Herrera gave the Mets a 1-0 lead in the second, driving in Travis d'Arnaud with a single. Herrera has seven RBIs in his past six games.

The Mets had won three straight games and four of their past five.

Speed bumps: Gee (6-7) hasn’t won on the road in five starts since May 4 at Colorado. He is 2-4 with a 3.91 ERA in 12 road starts this season.

Mr. Consistent: Gee extended to 43 his streak of consecutive games logging at least five innings. He also went 0-for-3 to extend his streak of consecutive hitless at-bats to 38.

Wasting no time: Three Mets with ongoing hitting streaks extended them in their first at-bats. Juan Lagares singled on the fourth pitch of the game to push his streak to six games. D'Arnaud led off the second with a double for a five-game streak, and Wilmer Flores also doubled in the second to reach a career-high seven games.

Course changing: Reds starter Cueto had lost his past three decisions and was 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA in nine career starts against New York going into the game. He hadn’t beaten the Mets since June 17, 2012.

Up next: The Mets and Reds wrap up their season series Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Zack Wheeler (9-9, 3.45 ERA) is scheduled to make his first career appearance against Cincinnati. Right-hander Mat Latos is due to start for the Reds (5-4, 3.46 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m.

Saturday's Mets-Reds lineup

September, 6, 2014
9/06/14
1:07
PM ET
Here is today's Mets lineup as they battle the Reds in Cincinnati.

Juan Lagares, cf
Matt den Dekker, lf
David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, 1b
Travis d'Arnaud, c
Curtis Granderson, rf
Dilson Herrera, 2b
Wilmer Flores, ss
Dillon Gee, rhp

Rapid Reaction: Mets 14, Reds 5

September, 5, 2014
9/05/14
11:07
PM ET
CINCINNATI -- If catcher Travis d'Arnaud was distracted by the possibility of having to deal with Cincinnati base-stealing phenom Billy Hamilton from behind the plate, it didn’t carry over to the batter’s box.

The rookie drove in a career-high four runs -- three with a home run -- and Bartolo Colon won his fourth consecutive road start as the Mets rolled to a 14-5 romp over the Reds on Friday night. In the process, the Mets set season highs for home runs and runs in a game.

The Mets also tied their season-high for hits in a game (18) while extending their winning streak to three, the longest since a season-high four-game surge sandwiched around the All-Star break. They have averaged 7.6 runs per game over the last five.

You d'Man!: d’Arnaud plated New York’s first run with a solid single to left field in the Mets' two-run first. He broke the game open with a 363-foot blast into the left-field seats following an intentional walk to Lucas Duda with two outs in the fourth. He finished with three hits for the fifth time this season.

Wil the thrill: Rookie shortstop Wilmer Flores added a whopping 431-foot solo homer in the fifth while extending his hitting streak to a career-high six games.

Four score: Third baseman David Wright tied his career high with four hits.

Slump buster: Curtis Granderson, batting sixth for the third time this season, snapped a 0-for-18 slump with a first-inning RBI double and a sixth-inning three-run homer, his first homer since Aug. 22 against the Dodgers.

The drives for five: Dilson Herrera’s second homer of the season, on the first pitch of the eighth inning, and Duda’s two-run shot in the ninth gave New York a season-high five home runs.

Road warrior: Colon (13-11) hasn’t lost on the road in five starts since June 29 at Pittsburgh.

Up next: The Mets and Reds are back at it Saturday afternoon. Dillon Gee (6-6, 3.81 ERA) faces Johnny Cueto (16-8, 2.26 ERA). First pitch is at 4 p.m.

Friday's Mets-Reds lineups

September, 5, 2014
9/05/14
3:13
PM ET
Here are the lineups for Friday's 7:10 p.m. series opener between the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park.

Mets
Juan Lagares, cf
Matt den Dekker, lf
David Wright, 3b
Lucas Duda, 1b
Travis d'Arnaud, c
Curtis Granderson, rf
Dilson Herrera, 2b
Wilmer Flores, ss
Bartolo Colon, rhp

Reds
Billy Hamilton, cf
Todd Frazier, 3b
Devin Mesoraco, c
Jay Bruce, rf
Brandon Phillips, 2b
Brayan Pena, 1b
Jason Bourgeois, lf
Ramon Santiago, ss
Alfredo Simon, rhp

Series preview: Mets at Reds

September, 5, 2014
9/05/14
12:18
PM ET

Joe Robbins/Getty ImagesThe Mets face Alfredo Simon, Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos this weekend in Cincinnati.
METS (66-74, fourth place/NL East) vs. CINCINNATI REDS (66-74, fourth place/NL Central)

Friday: RHP Bartolo Colon (12-11, 4.01) vs. RHP Alfredo Simon (13-9, 3.28), 7:10 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Dillon Gee (6-6, 3.61) vs. RHP Johnny Cueto (16-8, 2.26), 4:10 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Zack Wheeler (9-9, 3.45) vs. RHP Mat Latos (5-4, 3.46), 1:10 p.m. ET

Reds short hops

• Center fielder Billy Hamilton is expected to be the primary competition for Jacob deGrom in the NL Rookie of the Year competition. Hamilton, who turns 24 on Tuesday, is batting .267 with six homers and 46 RBIs and has a franchise-rookie-record 55 steals in 76 attempts. The previous franchise rookie steals record had been 54, by Bob Bescher in 1909. Hamilton has the most steals by a Reds player regardless of experience since Deion Sanders recorded 56 in 1997.

• Second baseman Brandon Phillips is 0-for-his-last-20. He missed 31 games through Aug. 17 while recovering from surgery to address a torn ligament in his left thumb.

• Shortstop Zack Cozart, who was poised to rejoin the Reds on Thursday in Baltimore after the birth of his son, instead remained in Cincinnati because of right-wrist soreness.

Johnny Cueto's 205 strikeouts are the most by a Reds pitcher in a season since Edinson Volquez notched 206 in 2008. Assuming he produces two or more Saturday, it will become the most Ks since Aaron Harang had 218 in ’07.

Alfredo Simon represented Cincinnati in the All-Star Game as a replacement for Cueto, who pitched the Sunday before the event. Simon had opened the season as the fifth starter when Mat Latos was sidelined rehabbing elbow and knee injuries.

• Right-hander Homer Bailey, who signed a six-year, $105 million contract in February, was due to undergo season-ending surgery Friday to repair a torn flexor tendon in his pitching elbow. He is expected to be ready for spring training.

• First baseman Joey Votto has been on the disabled list since July 8 with a strain in his left knee. He was hitting only .255 with six homers in 220 at-bats before landing on the DL. Of late, Todd Frazier primarily has started at first base.

• The Reds were 51-44 and 1˝ games out of first place at the All-Star break. They are 14-30 since resuming play.

Reports: Kyle Farnsworth to sign shortly

May, 16, 2014
5/16/14
8:47
PM ET
WASHINGTON -- Kyle Farnsworth, dropped by the Mets on Wednesday night, will sign a deal by Saturday with the Philadelphia Phillies or Cincinnati Reds, Jim Duquette tweeted. The contract is likely to be a major-league deal.

UPDATE: Jon Heyman also reports Farnsworth on the verge of signing, but expects an AL club.

Morning Briefing: Mets head south

April, 7, 2014
4/07/14
5:38
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: The Mets spend a day off in Atlanta before opening a three-game series Tuesday against the Braves at Turner Field.

The three-city trip also takes the Mets to Anaheim and Phoenix.

With the Mets departing New York, Matt Harvey (elbow) and Chris Young (quadriceps) will shift their rehabs to the team’s complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Bartolo Colon starts Tuesday’s 7:10 p.m. series opener opposite ex-Met Aaron Harang.

The Braves will have a pregame ceremony to recognize the 40th anniversary of Hank Aaron unseating Babe Ruth as MLB’s home-run king.

Monday’s news reports:

Bobby Parnell has decided to undergo Tommy John surgery now rather than first attempt a rehab program. Team doctor David Altchek is scheduled to replace the partially torn medial collateral ligament in Parnell’s right elbow on Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Jose Valverde is now locked in as the closer. Read more in the Times, Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

Jonathon Niese took a scoreless effort into the sixth inning in his return from the disabled list, but the southpaw was charged with the loss as the Cincinnati Reds avoided getting swept with a 2-1 win against the Mets on Sunday at Citi Field. Reds starter Alfredo Simon consecutively struck out Daniel Murphy and David Wright in the third inning to strand two runners in scoring position. Travis d’Arnaud, despite one deep shot to left field, remained hitless this season. He is 0-for-15. The Mets went 2-4 on the homestand. They struck out 61 times, the most in the first six games of a season in franchise history.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Journal, Newsday and Times.

• Terry Collins affirmed Lucas Duda will start Tuesday in Atlanta as the team’s commitment to him at first base -- aside from Ike Davis’ start Sunday -- continues.

Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post asserts the Mets ought to make a decision already. Writes Kernan:

That the Mets don’t have a final read on Duda and Davis in Year Four of the Sandy Alderson Regime is hard to comprehend. Davis has more than 1,700 plate appearances in the majors, Duda is closing in on 1,300. Make a decision and if that decision is to go with Duda, trade Davis.

“The Mets are afraid they are going to get burned on a Davis trade," a scout said at the game. “They can’t think like that. They have to have the courage of their convictions and make a trade."


Read more at MLB.com.

• A half-inning after Jeff Walters suffered a blown save, Zach Lutz produced a walk-off RBI double as Las Vegas beat Fresno, 6-5, Sunday. Hansel Robles tossed five scoreless innings in his Double-A debut and Binghamton held on to beat Akron, 5-4. Domingo Tapia’s wild pitch allowed the lone run to score in St. Lucie’s 1-0 loss to Palm Beach. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Jeff Pearlman at Bleacher Report recounts his guilt in the 15 years since the publication of a Sports Illustrated article in which he quoted John Rocker ranting about a variety of topics, including New York’s 7 train.

• Troy Renck in the Denver Post applauds Murphy’s decision to miss two games to be with his wife and newborn child.

From the bloggers ... With Niese here, Faith and Fear in Flushing notes the gang's all here. Well, for the moment.

BIRTHDAYS: Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones turns 45 ... Vinny Rottino is 34.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will Jose Valverde be able to handle the closer’s role?

Rapid Reaction: Reds 2, Mets 1

April, 6, 2014
4/06/14
3:50
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets had a chance to sweep the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday and get back to .500, but they failed to get the job done.

Jonathon Niese was pretty good in his 2014 debut, but still took the loss. Ike Davis doubled and scored, but that was the Mets' only run. And Travis d'Arnaud is still hitless on the season.

A 2-4 record after your opening homestand? Not a good sign.

Better late than never: Niese was scheduled to start Opening Day before having a cortisone shot due to elbow inflammation. He looked healthy Sunday, with his fastball consistently in the low 90s.

In fact, Niese held the Reds scoreless through five innings, limiting them to just a pair of singles.

But he gave up three straight singles in the top of the sixth to load the bases. Joey Votto drove home Cincinnati's first run with a sacrifice fly, and Ryan Ludwick knocked in a second with yet another single.

Niese went 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits (all singles). He threw 90 pitches -- near his limit for the day -- striking out four and walking one.

First-base race: Davis got the start at first base Sunday, a day after his pinch-hit walkoff grand slam, and went 2-for-4. He doubled in the second inning, and was driven home on a Juan Lagares single.

Lucas Duda pinch-hit to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and grounded out.

As for the rest: The Mets had just four hits on the day -- Davis' double and single, Lagares' single, and Eric Young Jr.'s double in the third inning.

Cincinnati starter Alfredo Simon went seven innings, firing a fastball in the mid-90s, and Manny Parra pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth.

Bad news: The Mets' young catcher, d'Arnaud, went 0-3, and is now 0-for-15 on the season. He drove a ball to the warning track in left in the seventh inning with a runner aboard, but it didn't quite go out. He did throw out a runner attempting to steal second, but also had a miscommunication with Davis on a pop-up in foul territory.

Curtis Granderson went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Granderson is now hitting .167 on the season, with eight K's.

Bright side: Gonzalez Germen, Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innnings out of the bullpen.

What's next: A three-game series in Atlanta, beginning Tuesday. It'll be Bartolo Colon (0-1, 4.50) versus Aaron Harang (1-0, 0.00) in the Braves' home opener, first pitch at 7:10 p.m.

Sunday's Mets-Reds lineups

April, 6, 2014
4/06/14
10:24
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Here are the lineups for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Reds, first pitch at 1:10 p.m.:

Mets
Eric Young Jr., lf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Curtis Granderson, rf
Ike Davis, 1b
Juan Lagares, cf
Travis d'Arnaud, c
Ruben Tejada, ss
Jonathon Niese, lhp

Reds
Chris Heisey, cf
Brandon Phillips, 2b
Joey Votto, 1b
Ryan Ludwick, lf
Jay Bruce, rf
Todd Frazier, 3b
Zack Cozart, ss
Brayan Pena, c
Alfredo Simon, rhp

Mets undefeated ... in challenges

April, 5, 2014
4/05/14
6:03
PM ET
NEW YORK -- The Mets are undefeated in one respect: They are 1-for-1 in successfully challenging umpires’ calls.

Trailing by a run in the ninth inning Saturday, Terry Collins successfully challenged second-base ump James Hoye’s ruling that Juan Lagares was out at second base on Anthony Recker’s bunt.

Instead of one out and Recker at first, the Mets had two runners aboard and none out. The Mets ultimately won, 6-3, on Ike Davis’ walk-off grand slam.

Collins said he did not know whether he would be successful with the challenge when he initially left the dugout. The official ruling came two minutes, 14 seconds after the play was challenged.

“You’ve got to go out,” Collins said. “I went out and then [bench coach] Bob [Geren] was checking with Jim Kelly, who is our video guy, and got the thumbs up and took a chance.”

Lagares felt he was safe all along.

“I was almost sure, but you never know because sometimes you pull your foot off the base,” Lagares said. “You don’t know. But I thought I got it.”

Recker said teammate Josh Satin brought up to him postgame how fortunate the Mets were that this was 2014 and not 2013. A year ago, there was no challenge system in place, so the Mets likely would have been out of luck.

“If you think about that, we would have been in a much different situation there last year had we not been able to use replay right there,” Recker said. “That would have sucked. Let’s be blunt. It seemed to me like he was safe, so it was good to be able to get the right call.”

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Reds 3

April, 5, 2014
4/05/14
4:06
PM ET
NEW YORK -- A day after Lucas Duda had the heroics with a pair of two-run homers, the guy who lost the first-base competition had the big moment.

Ike Davis had a pinch-hit grand slam against J.J. Hoover in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Mets to a 6-3 win against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon at Citi Field.

The only thing missing was Justin Turner to deliver a whipped-cream pie during the postgame celebration. Jonathon Niese did the honors instead.

It was Davis’ third career walk-off homer.

The last walk-off grand slam for the Mets: Jordany Valdespin on April 24, 2013, against the Dodgers’ Josh Wall.

The Mets also successfully challenged an umpire’s call for the first time this season during the pivotal frame.

Juan Lagares opened the bottom of the ninth with a walk. Anthony Recker then attempted to sacrifice Lagares to second with the Mets trailing, 3-2.

First baseman Joey Votto pounced on the bunt and tried to get the lead runner. Second-base ump James Hoye ruled Lagares out, but Terry Collins challenged the call and successfully had it overturned after a two-minute, 14-second review.

Ruben Tejada, attempting to sacrifice both runners ahead, then walked to load the bases with none out.

That prompted Collins to turn to Davis to pinch hit.

Hoover was handling the closing duties with Aroldis Chapman and Jonathan Broxton on the disabled list.

How did the Mets get in the predicament?

Dillon Gee, cruising through a stellar outing in the eighth, surrendered a two-run homer to Brandon Phillips on pitch No. 100 as Cincinnati took a 3-2 lead.

Southpaw Scott Rice had been waiting to enter to face the next two batters -- the lefties Votto and Jay Bruce -- with a runner on third and the Mets leading by a run. So Phillips likely was Gee’s final batter regardless of the outcome of the one-out faceoff.

Gee also allowed a fifth-inning solo homer to Ryan Ludwick. Gee’s line: 7.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HR.

Curtis Granderson had lifted the Mets to a 2-1 lead in the sixth with his first homer with the ballclub. The two-run shot against Johnny Cueto landed in the upper deck in right field.

Cueto had held the Mets hitless until Tejada's one-out double in the fifth.

It’s a hit: Leadoff hitter Eric Young Jr. had a seventh-inning infield single, snapping his hitless drought at 15 at-bats to open the season. He earlier reached base on an error by second baseman Phillips.

Duda day: A day after belting a pair of two-run homers, Duda went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.

Entering the series, Collins indicated Davis likely would start once against the Reds in order to keep his bat sharp for pinch-hitting. So Davis figures to find himself in the lineup Sunday.

K zone: The Mets collectively struck out 10 times, upping their season total to 53. That is the franchise record through five games, topping 44 in 1968, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

What’s next: Niese will be activated from the disabled list to pitch the homestand finale. He opposes right-hander Alfredo Simon at 1:10 p.m. Sunday.

Wilmer Flores is expected to be sent to Triple-A Las Vegas to clear the roster spot for Niese’s addition. The Mets had been carrying an extra bench player and four starting pitchers.

Flores joined the Mets when Daniel Murphy went on paternity leave and remained because Chris Young landed on the disabled list with a right quadriceps injury. Flores should play more shortstop than second base in the near future with the 51s.

Saturday's Mets-Reds lineups

April, 5, 2014
4/05/14
9:35
AM ET
NEW YORK -- Here are the lineups for Saturday's 1:10 p.m. game between the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds.

Mets
Eric Young Jr., lf
Daniel Murphy, 2b
David Wright, 3b
Curtis Granderson, rf
Lucas Duda, 1b
Juan Lagares, cf
Anthony Recker, c
Ruben Tejada, ss
Dillon Gee, rhp

Reds
Billy Hamilton, cf Roger Bernadina
Brandon Phillips, 2b
Joey Votto, 1b
Jay Bruce, rf
Ryan Ludwick, lf
Todd Frazier, 3b
Zack Cozart, s
Tucker Barnhart, c
Johnny Cueto, rhp

UPDATE: Hamilton has been scratched after suffering a jammed left middle finger on Friday's slide.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187