(Photo credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
Christian Encarnacion-Strand had two hits Saturday night, including a two-run homer, as the visiting Cincinnati Reds maintained their grip on the third and final National League wild-card spot with a 3-2 win over the New York Mets.
The Reds (78-72) and Arizona Diamondbacks entered Saturday tied for the last wild-card berth. Cincinnati has the tiebreaker over Arizona by virtue of a 4-3 win in the season series.
TJ Friedl had two hits and scored a run for the Reds, who have won the first two games of the three-game series and five of six overall. Daniel Duarte (3-0), the second of five Cincinnati pitchers, tossed 1 1/3 hitless innings. Derek Law worked around two ninth-inning singles to record his second save.
Starter Andrew Abbott allowed two runs on six hits and three walks while striking out five over 3 2/3 innings.
Ronny Mauricio had two hits, including an RBI single, for the Mets (68-80), who fell to 7-7 this month. Francisco Alvarez had two hits, including a run-scoring double.
Mets starter Tylor Megill gave up the three runs (two earned) on nine hits and two walks while striking out two over 5 2/3 innings.
The Mets took the lead with a two-out rally in the first. Pete Alonso worked a walk, went to second on Francisco Lindor's single and scored on Mauricio's single.
The Reds quickly tied the score in unusual fashion. Friedl led off the second with a single and advanced to third on Encarnacion-Strand's two-out single. With Elly De La Cruz at the plate, Encarnacion-Strand took off for second, but Alvarez fired to third in hopes of catching Friedl off the bag. The throw sailed past Mauricio and Friedl trotted home.
The Mets left the bases loaded in the third and the Reds took advantage in the fourth, when Joey Votto walked with one out before Encarnacion-Strand homered.
The Mets cut their deficit in half in the fourth. Tim Locastro doubled with one out and scored when Alvarez chased Abbott with a two-out double.
--Field Level Media