Cincinnati, OH – The Cincinnati Reds' chances at the NL Central title were slim heading into Wednesday's rubber match against the New York Mets.
Now, they have been eliminated from the division race.
Daisuke Matsuzaka was impressive over 7 2/3 scoreless innings, as the Mets blanked the Reds 1-0 at Great American Ball Park.
Matsuzaka (3-3) won his third straight start after holding Cincinnati to four hits in the finale of a three-game set. The Japanese right-hander struck out six and walked two.
Mat Latos (14-7) pitched seven strong innings for the Reds, but came up empty in a fourth consecutive attempt at setting a new career-high in wins.
"He'll probably be the guy to go when they get into that one-game (wild-card) playoff," said Mets outfielder Eric Young Jr., whose RBI single scored the game's only run. "He's as advertised. You gotta battle and scrape together as many runs as you can against him and today we got that one."
The loss, coupled with a win by first-place St. Louis over Washington, ended any hopes at a division crown for playoff-bound Cincinnati.
The Reds are one game behind Pittsburgh and finish the regular season at home this weekend with three against the Pirates -- a series that will determine home-field advantage for Tuesday's NL wild-card game.
"We just gotta go out and play our game," Latos said, pondering the chance the Reds have to host the wild-card game. "It doesn't matter where it's at."
New York scored the game's only run in the third inning. Latos hit the leadoff batter, Wilfredo Tovar, who went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Matsuzaka and a passed ball. Young then slapped a single to the right side through the drawn-in infield to plate Tovar.
The Reds had a handful of opportunities, but were devoid of the big hit, finishing 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Two men were stranded in the home third, and Matsuzaka got Devin Mesoraco to ground into a double play to end the next inning with two runners aboard.
Matsuzaka gave way to the bullpen with the tying run at second in the eighth. Pedro Feliciano then walked Shin-Soo Choo on four pitches before uncorking a wild pitch that allowed both runners to advance. The southpaw reliever, though, was able to retire the left-handed swinging Joey Votto on a fly ball to center field.
LaTroy Hawkins earned his 13th save with a flawless ninth.
Latos gave up four hits, walked two and fanned seven. He suffered just his second loss in 14 home starts this season, falling to 9-2 ... The Mets finished the year with a 41-40 road record. They return home to close out the season with four games against Milwaukee ... Cincinnati right fielder Jay Bruce swiped two bases in a game for the first time in his career.