The New York Mets didn’t have a lot of chances to score Wednesday afternoon during their rubber match against the Cincinnati Reds.
Most of that was due to a strong outing by Reds starter Sal Romano.
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But part of the blame can be pinned on a gaffe by Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who turned in an incorrect lineup card that resulted in the Mets batting out of order in the first inning.
The mistake wiped out a two-out double, and the Mets would only score one run the rest of the way as Adam Duvall’s home run in the bottom of the 10th lifted the Reds to a 2-1 victory before a Great American Ball Park crowd off 16,452.
“I want to say as little as possible about that because that’s a bad feeling for anybody,” Riggleman said of the Mets lineup error. “I felt bad. Nobody who has ever managed … everybody has had that happen sometime and it’s really a bad feeling. And it’s so easy to have happen.”
The mistake helped the Reds (10-27) win back-to-back games for only the second time this year and capture just their second series in out of 11.
Romano opened the game with back-to-back strikeouts of Brandon Nimmo and Wilmer Flores on the way to tying his career-high with seven and that’s when things got weird.
Asdrubal Cabrera sliced a two-out, ground-rule double just inside the left-field line. But because the lineup card Callaway turned in had Cabrera batting second and Flores hitting third, the inning ended.
Not only was Cabrera stranded at second, his double didn’t count. He was credited with an unofficial at-bat, and Mets cleanup hitter Jay Bruce, the former Reds outfielder, was ruled out catcher unassisted without ever stepping into the batter’s box.
Riggleman knew the Mets were out of order when Flores hit because he said it struck him that Flores was listed in the 3 hole. He altered the umpires of the mistake after Caberer’a double.
“Flores hit second, made an out, so it doesn’t benefit the Reds to say anything because they already have an out,” umpire crew chief Jerry Meals said. “So they wait until Cabrera hit. He got a base hit, now it benefits them to say ‘Hey, he batted out of order.’ So when they threw the first pitch to Cabrera, that legalized Flores as a hitter. So now the proper batter is Bruce. So when they bring it up in that situation, you take Cabrera off the field, you call Bruce out and now the next batter is (Adrian) Gonzalez.”
Cabrera’s next trip to the plate, this time in the correct No. 2 hole, resulted in the only Mets run of the game when his groundout plated Nimmo, who led off the third inning with a triple.
Nimmo’s triple was one of just four hits Romano allowed over six innings. Romano allowed just one walk and had his career high-tying seven strikeouts by the end of the fourth inning.
“I was able to mix up all of my pitches,” said Romano, six innings worked tied his season high. “I didn’t have to rely on my fastball as much today. I was able to throw my curveball in fastball counts, and I think that was huge in keeping guys off balance.”
New York starter Zach Wheeler was even better, blanking the Reds through five innings on two hits.
Wheeler retired 12 in a row before walking Jesse Winker to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Jose Peraza followed with a bunt single on the first pitch from Wheeler, and Joey Votto followed suit by jumping on the first pitch he saw for a game-tying single to right.
Scott Schebler drew a one-out walk to load the bases, but Wheeler got out of the jam by getting Alex Blandino to pop out to shortstop Amed Rosairo and then fanning Tony Cruz.
Neither team put a runner in scoring position after that until Duvall, who entered the game as part of a double switch in the top of the ninth, blasted his first career walk-off home run in the 10th off Mets reliever AJ Ramos.
“I was ready, whether it be to pinch-hit or a double switch,” Duvall said. “I’ve had one other walkoff home run when was in Triple-A with the Giants. It was a cool feeling, especially because I’m starting to hit the ball a little bit better.”
The homer, Duvall’s sixth of the season, made a winner of Raisel Iglesias, who threw two perfect innings of relief.
The Reds return to action Thursday night in Los Angeles against the Dodgers to start a seven-game road trip.