When the Mets awoke late in Cincy, they said, “We’ll smash some pipes.”
CINCINNATI — (Cindy) Buck Showalter went down the list of players who had made contributions to the Mets’ comeback in the ninth inning, making sure not to leave anyone off the roster.
Dominic Smith, who drove in a run with a double in the top of the 10th inning to give the Mets the lead for good in an 8-3 victory over the Reds, was, of course, one of the players. There was Brandon Nimmo, not only for his three-run homer that broke the game open at Great American Ball Park but also for his precision in directing Smith to slide as he scored a key insurance run on a hit by James McCann. Smith was able to score on a James McCann hit, which was a key factor in the game’s outcome. Starling Marte’s game-tying RBI double in the ninth inning gave the Mets a shot, while Adonis Medina’s three scoreless innings of relief allowed everything to be feasible. Both players deserve credit for their contributions.
The Mets have been in desperate need of a bat in the days leading up to the trade deadline on August 2, and this need has dominated the conversation surrounding the club. And while that may still be vital, it is essential to keep in mind that a single item — a bat, an arm, a glove — would be nothing more than a gear in this machine even if it were the most important thing in the world. The Mets do not require a savior for their lineup to function successfully; rather, they require contributors through it. If the Mets want to continue their trend of consistently delivering late-inning knockouts, they can’t rely on just one or two players to do it for them.
Smith predicted that if they were able to maintain the pressure they were applying, they would eventually burst some of the pipes.
It’s not as if the Mets don’t have any previous experience with incidents like this. They stunned the Phillies earlier in the year by scoring seven runs in the ninth inning when playing in Philadelphia. They were able to surprise the Cardinals at St. Louis in April by scoring five runs in the ninth inning. On Wednesday, the Mets scored five runs in the 10th inning against a pitching staff that is still statistically the worst in all of Major League Baseball. Before Wednesday, the Mets had only scored three times in their previous 20 innings.
Showalter remarked something to the effect: “I’m sure that felt nice to the players.” “I’m sure everyone on the squad is happy about it.”
In contrast to earlier in the year, when they rated among the most productive teams in baseball when they had runners in scoring position, the Mets had been struggling in this regard for the better part of a month. It was not lost on anybody that their reversion to the mean coincided with hot streaks for top prospects Francisco Alvarez and Mark Vientos, nor was it lost on anyone that it occurred as the Trade Deadline was becoming close enough to see with a squint. Both of these things were obvious to everyone.
Mets players admitted to feeling some of that pressure and called it frustrating to face a trio of Reds rookie pitchers with excellent stuff but little experience: Hunter Greene on Monday, Nick Lodolo on Tuesday, and Graham Ashcraft on Wednesday. The games were played on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, respectively. Their recent performance history didn’t offer many clues that they may be able to overcome David Peterson’s shaky return from the paternity list, which included five walks throughout three and a half innings of three-run ball.
Peterson, who had seen enough of this squad to say, “I figured we would make a run at some point,” was virtually the only person who was unconcerned about the situation.
When Medina struck out Brandon Drury just a few moments after Peterson left the game, he sowed the seeds of a comeback by preventing two runners from advancing past first base. Even though it would be another five innings before the Mets could score more runs of their own, they maintained constant pressure on Ashcraft and managed to collect ten hits against him in just six innings. Finally, with one out in the ninth inning, Nimmo hit a single, and Marte followed by hitting a grounder down the line. The ball came near enough to the third-base bag for Alex MacKay, the third-base umpire, to rule that it was fair play.
The score was knotted up at that point, and the outcome appeared to be predetermined.
Smith, who was instrumental in Monday’s triumph by contributing a vital two-run double, gave the Mets another lead with a double with one out in the 10th inning, which allowed the automatic runner from second base to score. After that, McCann hit a single with two outs, which allowed Smith to come home while Nimmo signaled to his teammate where to slide. After that, Nimmo picked up a bat and proceeded to destroy the game.
Smith stated, “I know we’ve been struggling over the past week or so, but we’re just trying to put together quality at-bats and do what we did earlier in the year, which is pass the baton to the next guy, and just have trust in each person behind us to get the job done.” “I know we’ve been struggling over the past week or so, but we’re just trying to put together quality at-bats and do what we did earlier in the year, which is pass the baton “I believe that tonight served as a demonstration of that.”