Cincinnati, OH – The Cincinnati Reds kept stranding base runners, but Mat Latos and company kept firing scoreless innings.
That was until Jay Bruce helped the Reds finally break through.
Bruce smacked a game-winning three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning and Cincinnati topped the New York Mets, 3-0, in the opener of a three-game set.
The Reds, who stranded 14 runners and were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position through the first eight frames, got their first two runners on in the ninth when Brandon Phillips walked and Ryan Ludwick singled off Manny Acosta (1-3).
Lefty Josh Edgin came on to face Bruce, who hammered his fourth career walk- off blast into the front row of seats in left field to give the NL Central leaders their fourth straight win.
"They put them out there, we put them out there, and we finally came through in the ninth," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "It was some ballgame."
Cincinnati was unable to capitalize in the third when it had runners on the corners with one out and left the bases loaded in the sixth and seventh innings. The only time the Reds were set down in order was when Bobby Parnell fired a 1-2-3 eighth.
Latos scattered five hits and walked two over seven scoreless frames. He is 5-1 with a 1.77 ERA over his last 10 starts.
The Mets had runners on second and third with two outs in the ninth. Ruben Tejada lined a ball off Jose Arredondo (5-2) to center field, but the ball hung up just enough for Drew Stubbs to make a running backhanded shoestring catch.
New York also left the bases full in the fourth when Phillips made a leaping catch at second off the bat of Mets starter Chris Young to take a run away.
Young wobbled through 5 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing eight hits and four walks while fanning four for New York, which has dropped six of its last eight games.
The Mets finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
"We had opportunities. We have to find a way to score with runners on base and less than two outs," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
Bruce's homer was his 23rd of the year. It was his second blast off a left- handed reliever in the last two contests ... Cincinnati moved to 307-260 all- time against the Mets ... The Reds moved to 20-8 during Joey Votto's absence.