Published January 13, 2015
Mike Leake held New York's floundering offense to just three hits over seven innings of work, and the Cincinnati Reds shut out the Mets, 4-0, on Tuesday to take the second test of a three-game set.
The Reds managed only seven hits, but took advantage of a two-out error by Mets third baseman David Wright to score two of their three first-inning runs.
That's all the support Leake (4-2) needed to notch his third straight victory and fourth in five games. The righty struck out four and set down nine of the last 10 New York batters he faced.
"Leake threw a great ball game," said Reds manager Dusty Baker. "He had it all going on tonight, his last start too and the start before that. He's throwing the ball well."
Devin Mesoraco forced a run in with a bases-loaded walk then hit a solo homer in the ninth to help the Reds to their ninth win in 11 games.
After a lengthy first inning, Jonathon Niese (3-5) settled in and went on to record a season-best seven strikeouts, but couldn't get any help from a feeble lineup which has produced a combined eight hits in the last two games.
The Mets have won just two of their last 12 contests at Citi Field, where they have scored less than three runs in nine straight. Lucas Duda and John Buck each doubled and were stranded in scoring position.
Niese managed to toss six innings after a frustrating start. He retired the first two batters he faced but then needed 41 more pitches to get through the opening frame.
Joey Votto and Jay Bruce each worked walks around a single from Brandon Phillips, and Cincinnati sent Todd Frazier to the plate with the bases loaded.
Frazier hit a hard but playable ball toward third, but Wright let the ball go through the wickets and the miscue allowed two runs to score.
An infield single from Donald Lutz reloaded the bases, but after Niese walked Mesoraco to make it 3-0 Reds, he bounced back from the 48-pitch frame to retire 16 of the last 19 batters he faced without giving up another run.
"He really pitched well after the first inning," said Mets manager Terry Collins. "He started making pitches and throwing strikes."
Leake didn't give the Mets many opportunities to score, but his toughest test came in the fourth after issuing a walk to Duda and surrendering a two-out double to Buck.
That brought up the struggling Ike Davis, who grounded out softly to first to end the threat. New York's first base man is hitless in his last 24 chances with runners in scoring position and mired in a 1-for-36 slump overall.
"It's all part of playing here," said Collins about the crowd booing Davis. "When you're scuffling, you got to be a big boy and face it and I think Ike has handled it very well so far."
Reds relievers Sam LeCure and Logan Ondrusek pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth inning, respectively, and Mesoraco delivered a solo blast in the Reds' final turn at-bat.
New York has lost nine of its last 12 games overall ... Mets reliever Scott Rice made his major league-leading 27th appearance out of the bullpen, tossing a scoreless eighth ... The Reds have won 11 of their last 15 road games ... Votto went 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games.