Flushing, NY – Jay Bruce belted the go-ahead homer in the sixth inning and Aroldis Chapman made it stand up in the ninth inning, as the Cincinnati Reds held on for a 4-3 win over the New York Mets.
Bruce and Brandon Phillips each drove in two runs, and Johnny Cueto (2-0) returned from the disabled list and fanned eight over five innings to get the win. Cueto had been sidelined with a strained right lat. He last started April 13 in a 3-1 loss against Pittsburgh, but on Monday the right-hander gave up just three hits and as many runs while walking four batters.
The Reds have won eight of their last 10 games.
Chapman, who blew his past two save opportunities, including Sunday when giving up back-to-back ninth inning homers at Philadelphia, fanned two in a 1-2-3 final frame for his ninth save of the year.
Shaun Marcum (0-5) allowed six hits and the four runs, while fanning seven in taking the loss in the opener of this three-game series. Marlon Byrd belted a three-run homer.
Bruce lined Marcum's first pitch of the sixth inning over the wall in right field to give the Reds a 4-3 edge.
Cincinnati loaded the bases against LaTroy Hawkins in the seventh, but Bruce struck out to end the frame. Hawkins walked off the mound upset at home plate umpire Tom Hallion and was promptly ejected from the game along with Mets manager Terry Collins. Hawkins was particularly upset o a pitch that appeared to hit Phillips with a pitch, but Hawkins argued, and replays showed, the ball hit the knob of the bat.
Jonathan Broxton worked around a single to keep the Mets off the board in the eighth inning before Chapman finished it.
After the game, the thoughts turned away from baseball and to the devastation left by a massive tornado that killed more than 50 people in Oklahoma. The damage hit especially hard to Mets starting pitcher Jeremy Hefner, who attended one of the schools that was hit.
"It's terrifying," Hefner said. "People from Oklahoma are resilient and hard working. This will only make them stronger."
The Reds took advantage of an obstruction call during a three-run opening inning. Shin-Soo Choo walked to start the game, and with one out Joey Votto singled to right field. The ball hit off first base, but Votto was thrown out by right fielder Marlon Byrd going to second. Ike Davis was ruled to have impeded the progress of Votto around first, and the interference error put two Cincinnati players in scoring position.
Phillips then blooped a two-run single to right, and Bruce extended his hitting streak to 11 games with an RBI double to the same part of the field.
"We've got to execute very, very well. We can't give up extra outs," Collins said. "We have to make plays and keep the ball in the ballpark, which has hurt us at times. We have to play pretty perfect baseball right now."
Cueto escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first thanks to three-time Gold Glove winner Phillips, who made a diving stop on a grounder by Davis and threw to first for the final out of the inning.
Rick Ankiel singled and David Wright walked to start the New York third, and one out later Byrd belted an offering over the wall in left field to tie the score.
"It looked like he was feeling his way in the strike zone, really didn't let it go," Reds manager Dusty Baker said of Cueto. "He came back and pitched well after that. He built on that and got the win. The bullpen did a heck of a job."
Phillips flied out to right to strand a pair of runners in scoring position in the fifth.
Bruce has an RBI in five straight games with nine runs driven in during that span ... The Mets signed pitcher David Aardsma to a minor league contract on Monday and assigned the right-hander to Triple-A Las Vegas ... The Mets have scored three or fewer runs in 11 of their last 14 games ... The Reds are 10-5 at Citi Field.