New York Mets' Daniel Vogelbach reacts after hitting an RBI double during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
NEW YORK — Pinch-hitter Daniel Vogelbach had a three-run double in the seventh inning, and the New York Mets hurt Cincinnati’s wild card chances with an 8-4 victory on Sunday over the sloppy Reds.
Cincinnati (78-73) is a half-game behind the Chicago Cubs and Miami for the NL’s final wild card berth.
“It’s a really fun opportunity to be playing meaningful baseball this time of the year,” said Reds infielder Spencer Steer, one of four rookies in Sunday’s lineup. “Every one of these games really matters for us. It’s almost like a playoff-type feel to these games.”
A trio of rookies — third baseman Noelvi Marte, first baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand and relief pitcher Carson Spiers — made errors for the Reds, who had four errors in their previous eight games combined.
Cincinnati allowed a pair of unearned runs against the Mets (69-80), who avoided a three-game sweep.
“The ball can find you sometimes. You’re on your heels a little bit,” Reds manager David Bell said. “We’ll be focused on tomorrow, just bouncing back.”
José Quintana (3-5) allowed two runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings. Quintana, who didn’t debut for the Mets until July 20 after a broken left rib, has a 3.02 ERA in 11 starts.
“Kind of bittersweet, because every time I see him pitch, I think about the two-thirds he wasn’t here,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said.
Marte put Cincinnati ahead with an RBI single in the first. Francisco Álvarez hit a two-run double in the second, when Tim Locastro scored on a wild pitch from Brandon Williamson (4-5).
Nick Senzel homered in the fifth, cutting the Reds’ deficit to 3-2, but Encarnacion-Strand’s error in the bottom half led to an RBI single by Mark Vientos, who had a career-high three hits.
“They did a good job getting those timely hits,” Steer said. “Just kind of one of those days where it seemed like not a lot of stuff was falling our way.”
After Spiers’ throwing error on Vientos’ comebacker wasted a double-play opportunity, Vogelbach’s double to the base of the center-field wall and Ronny Mauricio’s RBI single put the Mets ahead 8-2.
“That one inning kind of got away from us,” Steer said, “Comebacker to the pitcher and just an errant throw. That doesn’t happen, we’ve got no one on, two outs.”
Encarnacion-Strand hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Jeff Brigham, his second homer in as many days and his eighth home run this season.
Williamson gave up three runs in four innings.
Reds: C Luke Maile (left hand) sat out his second straight game. Maile was hit by a pitch on Friday night. … RHP Graham Ashcroft (right big toe) will undergo surgery Tuesday.
Mets: Showalter said 3B Brett Baty (left groin) is recovering more slowly than expected but could return to the lineup Monday.
Reds: Cincinnati opens its final homestand Monday with a three-game series against AL Central-leading Minnesota, which starts RHP Joe Ryan (10-9, 4.20 ERA).
Mets: RHP José Butto (1-2, 3.46 ERA), who earned his first major league win last Tuesday, starts Monday as New York opens its last trip of the year at Miami and RHP Edward Cabrera (6-7, 4.52 ERA).
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