CINCINNATI (AP) - Laynce Nix had never made such a joyous,
impromptu trip around the bases.
His pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the 11th inning powered the
Cincinnati Reds to a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets on Monday
night and provided a first-ever home-plate pummeling for Nix, who
had never homered to end a game.
"That's the best!" Nix said after getting engulfed in a joyous
scrum at home plate.
That's how the Reds have done it all season.
Nix's one-out homer on a hanging curve from Manny Acosta (1-1)
left the Reds 3-0 in extra innings. Eight of their 11 wins have
come in their final at-bat.
This one surprised even Nix, whose drive barely cleared the wall
in right-center field.
"I didn't think it was going out," said Nix, who watched it
the whole way. "I thought it was too high, but it carried far
Nick Masset (3-1) pitched the last two innings, giving up two
singles in the 11th before pitching out of another Mets threat.
Then, he watched Nix end it with a drive that barely made it.
"I knew it was out," Masset said. "If you get it up in the
air here, it can go out."
New York stranded runners in scoring position in the sixth,
seventh and 11th innings, forcing the Mets to settle for two runs
in one of the majors' most hitter-friendly ballparks.
"We at some point have got to push a run across late in this
ballpark," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.
Drew Stubbs also homered for the Reds, leading off the first
inning with the first one allowed by Oliver Perez this season. Joey
Votto also had an RBI single off the left-hander, who lasted six
innings and remained winless in six starts since Aug. 18.
Both teams have taken similar bottom-to-top paths in the last
The Mets won eight in a row, going from last to first in the NL
East. Two losses at Philadelphia over the weekend dropped them a
half-game behind the Phillies heading into the Cincinnati series.
The Reds won five straight, climbing to second place in the NL
Central, before dropping their last two at first-place St. Louis.
Which one would keep falling?
The Mets were playing on little rest. They lost in Philadelphia
11-5 on Sunday night, and didn't get to their hotel in Cincinnati
until nearly 4 a.m.
The offense looked a little sleepy, but that wasn't new. Four of
the Mets' eight starting position players were batting .257 or less
heading into the game.
"We've just got to find a way to get runners on," said Jeff
Francoeur, who singled home the first run. "And not just get
runners on, but get them on to start an inning. We've got to get so
many two-out hits."
The Reds gave them a little help to get going.
Stubbs initially broke the wrong way on Ike Davis' liner to
center with two outs in the second inning. Stubbs never fully
recovered, the ball deflecting off his glove for a two-base error.
Francoeur singled off Mike Leake to tie it 1-1, only his fourth hit
in his last 18 at-bats.
Jose Reyes doubled home another run in the sixth, tying it at 2.
But the Mets' offense stopped there.
Leake, who made the jump from Arizona State directly to the
majors, had another solid showing. The unbeaten right-hander gave
up four hits and two runs - one earned - in six innings, lowering
his ERA to 2.94.
NOTES: Mets RH Mike Pelfrey had a precautionary MRI on his right
shoulder, which felt a little stiff during his start on Saturday.
He's expected to make his next start. ... RHP Kelvim Escobar will
have surgery on his right shoulder Wednesday and miss the rest of
the season. Escobar came to the Mets' camp on a minor league
contract but developed shoulder problems in March. ... 3B David
Wright made the best play of the game, catching Stubbs' grounder
down the line and making a throw from foul territory while his
momentum carried him away from first. Got him by a step. ... New
York's Jason Bay saw his hitting streak end at nine games. ... Reds
OF Chris Dickerson had surgery on his right hand and wrist. He's
expected to be sidelined for at least a month. ... RF Chris Heisey
made his major league debut, going 0 for 5. He was the Reds' minor
league player of the year last season.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)