NEW YORK -- Special players, Mets manager Terry Collins likes to say, tend to do special things. So it was Tuesday, when Yoenis Cespedes all but single-handedly hauled the Mets out of the depths of defeat, hitting a pinch-hit, game-tying homer to lead them to a 4-3 win over the Reds at Citi Field.
In his first appearance since having fluid drained from his bruised right leg on Monday, Cespedes redirected Reds starter Brandon Finnegan's first-pitch fastball off the left-field wall, above the home run line for a three-run shot in the seventh inning.
"Great players do unbelievable things when you need them to," Collins said. "When they're in big spots, they come through a lot."
As if to further that theory, David Wright cracked a go-ahead RBI single to left field three batters later. That snapped an 0-for-9 funk for Wright, sending the Mets to their fifth consecutive victory and 15 in their last 17 games against the Reds.
"It seems like those situations find you, when things aren't quite going your way and you're not really feeling great at the plate," Wright said. "Those are the ones where you take a lot of pride in just grinding it out and say, 'Hey, forget about the mechanics, forget about the timing.' You just go up there and try to compete, try to battle, try to find a way to put the fat part of the bat on the ball."
Before Cespedes' dramatics, Finnegan was in the midst of one of his best starts with the Reds. Backed by an Ivan De Jesus Jr. homer and a Billy Hamilton diving catch in center field, Finnegan carried a 3-0 lead into the seventh. But he walked Juan Lagares with one out and allowed a single to Kevin Plawecki, forcing Reds manager Bryan Price to make a decision.
Price stuck with Finnegan over his struggling bullpen because he liked the lefty's matchup vs. Cespedes. But the left-hander missed with a first-pitch fastball that was supposed to be in, instead tailing it out over the plate.
"We knew what we wanted to do, how we wanted to attack him," Price said. "He had a nice three-pitch mix and he ends up hitting the first pitch out of the ballpark. Then we go from there, end up giving up the extra run and that's the ballgame."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Super sub Cespedes: Making his first appearance in a game since Friday and just the 10th pinch-hit appearance of his career, Cespedes took a vicious swing at the first Finnegan offering he saw: a 93-mph fastball over the heart of the plate. It flew toward left field on a 110.9-mph line drive, according to Statcast™, plastering the wall just above its orange home run line. More >
Slump buster: Wright had struck out in six of his previous nine at-bats before his go-ahead hit, which he pulled to left field against Reds reliever Tony Cingrani. The hit at least temporarily silenced a chorus of fans calling for the Mets to drop their captain in the lineup. More >
"That can't go overlooked," Collins said of Wright's hit. "Here's a guy that I'm sure was going through a lot of discomfort a lot of days. The way things have been going the last week, to have him get a big hit I think was key for our team and for David."
"It was over the middle," Cingrani said of the 0-2 fastball to Wright. "It was a bad pitch."
De Jesus goes deep: Filling in for the injured Brandon Phillips at second base, De Jesus provided an unlikely power boost for the Reds in the fourth inning. He sent a 1-0 Colon pitch to left-center field for a two-run homer, his first of the season, the fifth of his career and his first long ball since July 31, 2015, vs. the Pirates.
Outfield robbery: The Mets seemed to have something cooking in the fifth, when Wilmer Flores drew a leadoff walk and, with one out, Plawecki sent a screaming liner to center field. But Hamilton reached a top speed of 17.3 mph and covered 60.6 feet of ground in tracking it down, according to Statcast™, making a leaping grab to rob Plawecki. More >
"He could have ordered a hamburger by that time." -- Collins, on Lucas Duda, who stood on deck as a decoy for several moments before Cespedes appeared in the seventh
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Bartolo Colon logged his 3,000th career inning in the first, later passing CC Sabathia for 135th all time, and most among active pitchers. He also leads active pitchers in wins (219) and shutouts (13), and is second behind Sabathia in complete games (36) and strikeouts (2,258). More >
WHAT'S NEXT Reds:Jon Moscot will get the ball when the Reds conclude the series vs. the Mets on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET. One question is whether Phillips will get back into the starting lineup. Phillips is day to day after being hit on the hand by a pitch on Monday.
Mets: Cespedes is a strong bet to be back in the starting lineup when the Mets look to complete a sweep of the Reds at Citi Field. He could start his first game since Friday behind right-hander Matt Harvey, who is looking to improve on his 1-3 record and 5.24 ERA.