Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Reds 3

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.