Frazier's big night propels Reds over Mets

Frazier's big night propels Reds over Mets

Frazier's big night propels Reds over Mets
NEW YORK -- Two Reds that seemed to be on shaky ground -- Mike Leake and Todd Frazier -- stopped worrying about their roles and started producing from them.

Both players had their fingerprints all over a 6-3 Reds victory over the Mets on Wednesday. Leake settled for a no-decision but came through with a well-pitched six-inning quality start. It was Frazier, the Toms River, N.J., native, who delivered with the first two home run night of his young career.

"It was a special time tonight for sure," said Frazier, who had several members of his family and friends at Citi Field to watch him play.

"I gave him the lineup card tonight," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "You always want to do well in front of your parents, fiance, the homies and everybody. You tend to play better and concentrate better."

Leake gave up three runs (one earned) on seven hits and two walks while striking out five.

"Of course, I felt like I needed to do something," said Leake, who entered Wednesday 0-5 with a 7.11 ERA in six starts. "I was kind of a hole in the rotation. It was a matter of time where I was going to come around. I just need to string a few together. I'm not going to put the pressure on myself to do it. I will go out there with the same attitude I had tonight."

When two unearned runs scored in the bottom of the sixth to give the Mets a 3-1 lead, it was Frazier who kept the Reds in the game.

Leading off the top of the seventh, Frazier sent a first-pitch fastball from Mets ace Johan Santana that just cleared the right-field fence to cut the deficit in half.

The Reds scored four in the eighth to put the game away. Against reliever Jon Rauch, Drew Stubbs hit a single to right field and went to third base on a Joey Votto double. Brandon Phillips rolled a RBI single up the middle for the tying run.

There was one out when pinch-hitter Jay Bruce, who was given a rest from the lineup, lifted a first-pitch from lefty Tim Byrdak to the right-field warning track. It was good for a sacrifice fly that scored Votto with the go-ahead run.

Next up was Frazier, who launched a D.J. Carrasco first-pitch slider well over the center-field wall for a two-run homer.

"Once I do my job and I'm out of the game ... I just watch and hope that we get it done. That wasn't the case tonight," said Santana, who was not rewarded after he allowed two runs and six hits over 6 2/3 innings.

Since taking over at third base on Saturday for the injured Scott Rolen, Frazier had gone 2-for-15 with seven strikeouts over his first four games. On Wednesday, he struck out against Santana in his first two at-bats during the third and fourth innings.

"I had put a little pressure on myself," Frazier said. "I had a good talk with [bench coach] Chris Speier and he explained to me that 'you don't need to press or put any pressure on yourself, you're good enough. You've got a good opportunity here and roll with it and have fun.' I've been having fun. That was a little rut there I guess you could say."

Leake started out with 14 balls and 12 strikes over his 26-pitch first inning before turning things around.

"Early, he was picking a little bit and not as aggressive as we wanted him to be. He had some deep counts and very few first-pitch strikes," Baker said. "We just urged him to be more aggressive in the zone. He was yanking balls out of the zone. I just told him to throw through the catcher, not to him. I don't know if that helped or not. Anything we can say to get this young man rolling, because we certainly need him and we know what he can do."

Part of his 2-for-2 night at the plate, it was Leake's two-out single off of Santana in the top of the third that set up the game's first run. Zack Cozart scorched a double to the left-field wall and Leake scored from first base with a slide just ahead of the throw to the plate.

In the bottom of the third, Lucas Duda rolled a single into center field off of Leake that scored Mike Baxter to make it a 1-1 game. After that, Leake retired eight in a row.

"I was just working on attacking them and throwing the ball with some attitude ...," Leake said. "I felt really good going with some attitude and not caring who was out there."

Following an errant throw by Votto on a fielder's choice play in the sixth, the Mets got an Ike Davis RBI double and a perfectly-executed suicide squeeze from Mike Nickeas to take a two-run lead. But Leake, followed by winning pitcher Jose Arredondo, Aroldis Chapman and closer Sean Marshall combined to retire 12 of the finale 13 batters. Marshall earned his seventh save.

"We wanted [Leake] to get on the board with that victory, but more importantly we got the victory," Baker said. "He threw the ball excellent tonight."

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.