Luis Castillo – the electric young pitcher, not the retired second baseman – showed the Mets why he leads all Major League starters in ERA. With a mix of high riding fastballs and darting change ups, he kept the Mets lineup off balance for six innings. The Mets lone run against him at that point came courtesy of an RBI bunt by Jeff McNeil.
Jason Vargas pitched his best game of the season. The moribund lefty held the Reds scoreless for five innings and even took the mound in the sixth inning. But after one quick out, he allowed a game-tying solo home run to Eugenio Suarez and Mickey Callaway pulled him in favor of Robert Gsellman. Gsellman kept the Reds in check through the seventh inning.
In the bottom of the seventh, Todd Frazier led off with a solo home run to give the Mets a 2-1 lead and with a runner on second, Dom Smith entered as a pinch hitter for Gsellman in hopes of delivering an insurance run, but he struck out.
With closer Edwin Diaz unavailable after pitching in three consecutive games, Callaway put the game in the hands of Jeurys Familia. While millions of Mets fans chewed their nails, Familia pitched a seven-pitch eighth inning to hold the line. In the bottom of the eighth, the Mets tacked on that needed insurance run courtesy of a McNeil double and a Michael Conforto single. Familia came back out in the ninth and quickly got two outs before falling apart. He issued a walk, followed by three consecutive hits to allow the Reds to tie it up. He exited the game with runners on first and third and Joey Votto stepping to the plate. LOOGY Daniel Zamora entered but walked Votto. With Seth Lugo and Diaz unavailable and Justin Wilson on the I.L., Callaway handed the ball to…Drew Gagnon with the game tied and the bases loaded. Miraculously, the young righty escaped the jam by striking out Suarez.
Any notion of a dramatic walk-off win was dashed as the Mets went down in order in the bottom of the ninth. But Gagnon held tough and kept the Reds off the board to give the Mets another shot, and in the bottom of the 10th inning, they didn’t disappoint. J.D. Davis led off with a double off Reds closer Raisel Iglesias and McNeil pushed him to third with a line drive single. Third base coach Gary Disarcina wisely played it cautious with Yasiel Puig‘s cannon arm in right field and no outs. Pete Alonso worked the count and drove the ball to the furthest corner of right field where even Puig couldn’t possibly throw out Davis as he crossed home for the walk off win. Whew!
Jacob deGrom takes the hill tomorrow as the Mets go for the series win.