|Matsuzaka pitches Mets to 1-0 win over Reds|
|Thursday, September 26, 2013 12:23 AM|
CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati Reds probably would have liked Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first career appearance against them to come at another time — such as next season.
Matsuzaka scattered four hits in 7 2/3 innings to win his third consecutive start, outdueling Mat Latos in the New York Mets’ 1-0 victory on Wednesday that further dampened the Reds’ hopes of hosting the National League wild-card game on Tuesday.
Eric Young Jr. drove in the only run for the Mets, who won two OUT of three in the series.
The Reds came into the game in third place in the Central Division and second in the wild-card standings, one game behind Pittsburgh. The Pirates and Reds end the regular season with a 3-game series starting Friday in Cincinnati.
“We have to find a way to get that big hit,” manager Dusty Baker said. “This team (Reds) seems to take the hard road most of the time. It is very important to have the home field advantage but it’s not impossible no matter where you play.”
Matsuzaka (3-3) allowed two walks and hit a batter. He struck out six and evened his record after three losses and a no-decision in his first four starts since joining the Mets in August. Manager Terry Collins said the former Boston Red Sox ace had definitely pitched his way into the Mets’ plans for next season.
“We’ve got to bring a lot of guys in because you never know what might happen,” he added. “We’re looking for veteran guys coming into camp and you can add his name to the list for sure.”
Matsuzaka will welcome any opportunity, including the Mets.
Matsuzaka, who slightly injured his back striking out in the fourth but still managed to get a hit in the seventh, left the game with a runner on second and two outs in the eighth. Pedro Feliciano came on to walk Shin-Soo Choo before getting Joey Votto to fly out to centerfielder Juan Lagares for the fourth time in four at bats.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched the ninth for his 13th save.
The shutout loss was Cincinnati’s 11th of the season, after only four last season.
Before a crowd of 26,223, which lifted Cincinnati’s season attendance to a Great American Ball Park-record 2,371,103, the Mets pushed across a run in the third.
Latos hit Wilfredo Tovar to open the inning. Tovar went to second on Matsuzaka’s sacrifice and moved to third on a passed ball before scoring on Young’s single to right through a drawn-in infield.
Matsuzaka made the lead stand up with help from catcher Juan Centeno, who threw out Reds rookie base-stealing sensation Billy Hamilton, who was trying to swipe second with two outs in the fifth inning. Hamilton had been successful on his previous 13 attempts and Centeno caught him without the assistance of a pitchout.
Latos (14-7) allowed four hits and one run with two walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings. He also hit two batters in slipping to 0-2 in four starts since his last win on Sept. 2 against St. Louis.
NOTES: Daniel Murphy’s first inning steal of second was his 20th straight without being caught, the third-longest streak in Mets history. He had been tied with Tommie Agee (1971). Murphy is one steal shy of matching Kevin McReynolds (1988). … In Friday’s series opener, RHP Homer Bailey (11-11), who pitched a no-hitter against the Pirates at Pittsburgh last Sept. 28, is scheduled to face RHP A.J. Burnett (9-11), who beat the Reds 4-2 last Saturday.
CARDINALS 4, NATIONALS 1
ST. LOUIS — Rookie Shelby Miller won his 15th game,and Yadier Molina had the go-ahead hit for St. Louis, which wrapped up a 3-game sweep of Washington and moved another step closer to the NL Central title with a 4-1 victory Wednesday.
Jordan Zimmermann (19-9) missed his only shot at 20 wins, allowing four runs in seven innings. The Nationals had five hits one day after breaking up rookie Michael Wacha’s bid for a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning.
Matt Adams hit his eighth home run since replacing injured Allen Craig and doubled for the Cardinals (94-65), who are a season-high 29 games above .500.
Miller (15-9) walked two of the first three hitters to set up Bryce Harper’s RBI single. Miller allowed a run in 6-plus innings. Rookie Trevor Rosenthal saved all three games.
CUBS 4, PIRATES 2
CHICAGO — Darnell McDonald hit a 3-run homer to lead Chicago to the win that really hurt Pittsburgh’s hopes of winning the NL Central.
With three games remaining in the regular season for each team, the Pirates trail division-leading St. Louis by three games.
McDonald had three hits, including his homer in the sixth inning that put the Cubs ahead 4-1.
Jake Arrieta (4-2) allowed one run and four hits for the Cubs. Kevin Gregg allowed an unearned run in the ninth for his 33rd save.
Francisco Liriano (16-8) allowed four runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out eight and walked one.
BREWERS 4, BRAVES 0
ATLANTA — Kyle Lohse pitched a 2-hitter and Milwaukee overcame Carlos Gomez’s ejection in the first inning.
NL East champion Atlanta was shut out for the second time in three nights and has been blanked 17 times, second-most in the league. Atlanta has fallen three games behind St. Louis for the NL’s best winning percentage.
Lohse (11-10) struck out five and threw just 22 of 89 pitches for balls.
Gomez made it 1-0 in the first with his 23rd homer but was ejected without touching home plate during a benches-clearing argument. Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman and reserve catcher Gerald Laird were also ejected.
Paul Maholm (10-11) gave up eight hits — including Gomez’s homer — and struck out seven in seven innings.
MARLINS 3, PHILLIES 2
MIAMI — Adeiny Hechavarria drove in three runs, including a go-ahead run in the eighth inning, for Miami.
Hechavarria hit a 2-run triple in the second before driving in the run that made it 3-2 on a fielder’s choice.
Justin Ruggiano walked and Placido Polanco singled for his third hit in the eighth off Ethan Martin (2-5) before Hechavarria hit a grounder to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, whose throw went wide of catcher Carlos Ruiz allowing Ruggiano to slide in safely.
Steve Cishek pitched the ninth for his 33rd save in 35 chances. Chad Qualls (5-2) got the final out in the eighth to earn the victory.
Phillies starter Cole Hamels pitched six innings and allowed two runs. He struck out six as he reached 200 strikeouts (202) in a season for the third time in his career and the second consecutive season.