CINCINNATI — Pinch-hitter Christian Colón’s two-out single off Seth Lugo broke an eighth-inning tie, lifting the Cincinnati Reds over the Mets 3-2 Saturday and dealing New York a critical defeat in the NL wild card race.
New York (80-74) went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and dropped four games back of Milwaukee for the second wild card with eight games left. The Brewers played last-place Pittsburgh later Saturday.
With the score 2-2, Justin Wilson (4-2) walked José Iglesias with one out in the eighth and José Peraza blooped a single to right. Seth Lugo relieved and struck out pinch-hitter Curt Casali, and Colón grounded a curveball up the middle.
Joel Kuhnel (1-0), a 24-year-old right-hander who made his big league debut last month, got the final out of the eighth for his first major league win. Raisel Iglesias struck out Robinson Canó, Wilson Ramos and Michael Confortoin order for his 34th save in 39 chances.
At 73-82, Cincinnati assured its first season with fewer than 90 losses since 2014.
A day after hitting his 50th homer, Mets rookie Pete Alonso went 0 for 4 and stranded the bases loaded in the fifth when he struck out.
Cincinnati took a 2-0 lead in the first against Zack Wheeler on RBI infield singles by José Iglesias and Aristides Aquino. The Reds took advantage when former Red Todd Frazier allowed Joey Votto’s potential double-play grounder to bounce off his glove for an error, then was slow to throw to first on Aquino’s grounder down the line. The ball appeared to be foul but was ruled fair by third base umpire Mark Ripperger.
Wheeler hit an RBI grounder in the third after Frazier’s double off the center-field wall, and the Mets tied the score in the fourth when Brandon Nimmo allowed Anthony DeSclafani’s pitch to hit the protective gear on his right arm.
Wheeler, eligible for free agency after the World Series, allowed one earned run in seven innings for the third straight start, the last two without a decision. He gave up seven hits.
DeSclafani yielded two runs — one earned — and three hits in six innings.
Mets: 1B Dominic Smith will rejoin the team in New York on Monday and is available to be activated if needed. Smith has been out since July 27 with a stress reaction in his left foot.
Reds: OF Nick Senzel will have surgery next week to repair the torn labrum in his right shouilder. Manager David Bell is confident Senzel will be ready for opening day. … Brian O’Grady left the game after three innings after being shaken up while banging into the center field fence trying to track down Amed Rosarioi’s third inning double.
Mets: RHP Marcus Stroman (9-13) was moved up a day and will start Sunday because manager Mickey Callaway thinks he matches up better against the Reds than Miami. LHP Steven Matz will start the series opener against the Marlins.
Reds: RHP Trevor Bauer (11-12) will make his first career start against the Mets. Bauer’s eight innings in 3-1 win at Arizona on Sunday were the most his nine starts for Cincinnati.