- Adam Rubin, ESPNNewYork.com
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CINCINNATI -- The last time the Mets played a game that went this distance on the banks of the Ohio River, Ray Knight and Eric Davis initiated a 16-minute brawl, manager Davey Johnson alternated using left-hander Jesse Orosco and right-hander Roger McDowell while stationing the other reliever in the outfield, and Howard Johnson delivered a game-deciding three-run homer in the 14th inning on June 22, 1986.
After consecutive losses in Philadelphia with aces Mike Pelfrey and Johan Santana on the mound at a sold-out Citizens Bank Park, the Mets' third straight defeat felt anticlimactic before an announced crowd of 14,350.
The last walk-off homer by a Red to beat the Mets came on Opening Day 2005, when Joe Randa followed Adam Dunn with a second straight homer against Braden Looper to spoil Pedro Martinez's debut with the organization. The last time a Reds pinch hitter ended a game against the Mets: Marty Keough's homer off Roger Craig on July 22, 1962.
"It looked like such a promising start to a road trip," right fielder Jeff Francoeur said, alluding to the Mets' 9-1 rout of Philadelphia on Friday. "Now we need to make sure we come back and grind these next two [games] out to get a split."
The Mets had been gifted their two runs.
A half-inning after Reds center fielder Drew Stubbs belted a leadoff homer off of Oliver Perez in the bottom of the first, Stubbs missed a two-out line drive that Ike Davis hit directly at him and was charged with a two-base error. Francoeur followed with an RBI single off right-hander Mike Leake, a college teammate of Davis'.
Cincinnati's fielding continued to keep the Mets afloat.
After Luis Castillo walked with one out in the sixth, he attempted to steal second. Catcher Ramon Hernandez fired a strike to Orlando Cabrera, but the baseball glanced off the shortstop's glove and scooted into the outfield. Castillo raced to third base on Cabrera's error. Jose Reyes then snapped an 0-for-11 skid with an RBI double into right-center that tied the score at 2.
Afterward, Mets manager Jerry Manuel pointed to Reyes' 2-for-5 evening as a positive. He also pointed to the life on Perez's fastball and the southpaw limiting the Reds to two runs in six innings as reasons for optimism.
In reality, though, the Mets have lost three straight, and they send inconsistent John Maine to the mound Tuesday night.
"We really didn't leave that many out for this being an extra-inning ballgame," Manuel said, referring to the Mets stranding only seven runners in 11 innings Monday night. "That tells me we didn't get on base much, and the times that we did we weren't able to come up with the big hit."
The Mets have quickly gone from rolling to reeling, losing three straight games.