CINCINNATI -- Yoenis Cespedes was the power presence the Mets needed when they added him for the stretch run last season, and he led them all the way to the World Series. With every game this season having added importance for New York in the National League Wild Card hunt, Cespedes delivered with a go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning in a 5-3 win over the Reds on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.
"I said it back in New York, the way the team's playing lately reminds me of last year," Cespedes said via translator Nelson Sealy.
The Giants and Cardinals both won Tuesday night, so the Mets, who have won four straight and 13 of their last 17, remain one game behind St. Louis for the second NL Wild Card spot.
Reliever Michael Lorenzen was trying to hold a 3-2 lead during his second inning of work with one out in the seventh. That's when his 92-mph, 2-2 slider was blistered to straightaway center field by Cespedes for his 28th homer of the season. For good measure in the eighth, he easily threw out Brandon Phillips at second for the third out trying to stretch a liner off the left-field wall for a double. In the top of the ninth, Alejandro De Aza made it a two-run game with a leadoff homer off of reliever Blake Wood.
"When you're a star, that's what they do," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We can go back, we can go back three or four years ago, I looked up every night and David [Wright] was getting a big hit. That's what they do. You look at the Cincinnati Reds, Joey Votto, he comes up big a lot. That's what Ces does. That's what they're for, in the middle of the lineup. Those guys, they come through when you need them."
The Mets took a 2-0 lead on solo homers by Curtis Granderson in the second inning and Jose Reyes in the third against Reds starter Brandon Finnegan. Adam Duvall's two-run homer against Mets starter Rafael Montero evened the game with two outs in the bottom of the third. Cincinnati took a one-run lead in the fifth inning on Votto's sacrifice fly.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cespedes-troyed: A day off might be just what Cespedes needed. After starting September with a 2-for-12 stretch over his first four games and getting Monday off, Cespedes clobbered his seventh-inning, go-ahead homer, hitting it 412 feet, according to Statcast™, to the deepest part of the ballpark. More >
Finnegan's five and dive: Finnegan threw 105 pitches but lasted only five innings with two earned runs, four walks, three hits -- including two homers -- and six strikeouts. In a departure from his last three starts, he was not pitch-efficient. He went to two-ball counts to 14 of his 22 batters and to three-ball counts seven times. Still, he was in line for the win until Cespedes changed the game in the seventh.
"He wasn't sharp early, and his last couple of innings were much better," Reds manager Bryan Price said. More >
Two for good measure: The Mets jumped out to an early lead courtesy of the two solo homers from Granderson and Reyes. Granderson's shot just barely escaped the ballpark, traveling 389 feet to right-center with a 98-mph exit velocity, according to Statcast™. Reyes' homer, which came the following inning, wasn't a cheap shot, traveling 400 feet with a 104-mph exit velocity, landing in the left-field upper deck.
Duvall with 30: On a 0-1 pitch from Montero in the bottom of the third inning with two outs, Duvall hit a low line drive into the first row of seats in right field for the game-tying two-run homer. It was Duvall's 30th homer of the season, making him the sixth player in Reds history that primarily played left field to reach that plateau in a season, joining Adam Dunn, Greg Vaughn, George Foster, Frank Robinson and Hank Sauer.
"It's been a special year for Adam," Price said. "The run production, he's close to 90 RBIs now. He's got his 30th home run now, he's got a bunch of doubles. He's played a really solid left field. So it's really been a breakout year for him."
"I think he's probably working really hard to stay out of the middle of the plate, so he's pitching to the edges and just missing. That's what got him in trouble because now all of a sudden he's got to make some pitches because when a guy's on base, [and] he's got to really bare down. But I'll tell you, I'm still very impressed with the way he's throwing. This is not the same guy I've seen up here. He's a much better pitcher." -- Collins, on Montero, who walked four over 4 1/3 innings
"It was supposed to be outside, I got it out there but, he's a guy that if you leave it up, he's going to hit it, and he did. I thought it had a chance to stay in the way [Jose] Peraza was running, but -- Great American Ball Park, so, he got it. They spit on a lot of good pitches tonight, so they made me work tonight." -- Finnegan, on the homer he allowed to Granderson and his night vs. the Mets
WHAT'S NEXT Mets: The Mets play the final game of a three-game series against the Reds at 12:35 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Noah Syndergaard takes the mound looking to continue his stretch of three straight starts of seven or more innings, over which he has a 1.23 ERA.
Reds: Anthony DeSclafani will close the series by taking the mound for the Reds. DeSclafani is 8-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 16 starts this season, but he is 0-2 with a 12.27 ERA in three career games vs. the Mets.