The New York Mets stole a win from Reds ace Johnny Cueto with first baseman Ike Davis’s walk-off pinch hit grand slam in the bottom of the 9th for a 6-3 victory.
It was a pitchers’ duel between Cueto and the Mets' Dillon Gee for most of the day but the bats came alive in the last two innings.
Both pitchers established dominance early in the game. Dillon Gee retired the first seven batters he faced. Gee then allowed a single to catcher Tucker Barnhart, who was thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice after Cueto laid down a bunt. Gee then induced a groundball against left fielder Roger Bernadina to get out of the third inning.
Cueto had yet to allow a hit against the Mets through four innings. That soon changed as Ruben Tejada lined a double into the right field gap, giving the Mets their first scoring opportunity of the afternoon. But it was a familiar story for New York as they were unable to capitalize and left Tejada stranded at second.
Neither team scored until the top of fifth inning. Gee allowed a solo home run against center fielder Ryan Ludwick, putting the Reds up 1-0.
Gee retired the Reds in order in the top of the sixth, keeping the score at 1-0 going into the bottom of the inning. In the bottom of the sixth Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy singled to left field to leadoff the inning against Cueto. Third baseman David Wright grounded into a fielder’s choice with Murphy thrown out at second. Outfielder Curtis Granderson then smashed a ball that landed in the right field overhang (called the Pepsi Porch), his first home run as a Met, giving New York a 2-1 lead.
Gee got himself in a little bit of trouble in the seventh inning walking third baseman Todd Frazier. The righty then induced a groundball that should have been a double play, but Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy bobbled the ball. Murphy recovered in time to get Frazier out at second, but shortstop Zack Cosart was safe at first. Catcher Tucker Barnhart then flew out to right to end the inning. The Mets again failed to score in the bottom of the inning.
With his pitch count around 90, Dillon Gee was left in the game to start the top of the eighth. This move was a bit controversial since Gee has a history of tiring out at around that mark. Outfielder Chris Helsey was called to pinch-hit for Johnny Cueto. Helsey hit a double to lead off the inning, the first time the Reds had a runner in scoring position all game. Roger Bernadina hit a sacrifice fly that moved Helsey over to third. The Mets brought the infield in with hopes of keeping Helsey at third. That would not matter though; star second baseman Brandon Phillips lined a home run down the left field line giving the Reds a 3-2 lead. Gee was taken out and lefty reliever Scott Rice entered the game. Rice got the next two batters to out to end the inning.
The Mets went quietly in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Reds did the same in the top of the ninth. Down to their final outs and losing by a run the Mets needed a comeback in the worst way. Centerfielder Juan Lagares lead off the inning by walking.
The next play was highly controversial. Backup catcher Anthony Recker laid down a bunt that was fielded by star first baseman Joey Votto. Votto threw the ball to second base to get Lagares at second. Lagares was called out, but Mets manager Terry Collins used his first challenge of the season making the umpires take another look at the play. Upon further review the umpires reversed the call and Lagares was ruled safe at second. Ruben Tejada then walked to load the bases.
Ike Davis was called to pinch hit for Carlos Torres who pitched the ninth inning. Davis took a fastball to start the at-bat, but on the next pitch, Davis smacked a curveball off the Pepsi porch, giving the Mets a walk-off victory. It was the Mets first walk-off grand slam since Jordany Valdespin hit one against the Dodgers last season.
After being swept by the Nationals in the first series of the year the Mets can now return the favor against the Reds. Jon Niese comes off the disabled list to make his first start of the season against Alfredo Simon.
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