The Reds needed an extra inning to secure their second straight postseason berth as Shin-Soo Choo singled home Devin Mesoraco in the tenth inning to knock off the Mets 3-2 on Monday at Great American Ballpark.
Choo had a chance to win it in the ninth, but he was stranded at third base after getting there with no outs. The Reds (90-67) were able to clinch at least a Wild Card berth with the victory and a Nationals loss to St. Louis. The only problem is that the Cardinals were able to maintain their two game lead in the NL Central over the Reds and Pirates, who also clinched their first postseason berth since 1992 with a 2-1 win over the Cubs.
Choo was a huge factor throughout the game on Monday as he singled home the first run against Aaron Harang to give Cincinnati a 1-0 lead. Joey Votto followed two batters later with a bases loaded walk to add another run. Votto tied a club record for walks in a game (five) and a season (132).
Harang was able to help his own cause in the third with a little help from Todd Frazier who air mailed his throw to first allowing Harang to move to second. After an Eric Young bunt single and a David Wright walk, Johnny Cueto faced a bases loaded jam, but only allowed Harang to score on a sac fly by Lucas Duda. Young was cut down trying to steal third to end the threat. Duda struck again in the fifth inning with a solo homer to tie the game at two.
Sam LeCure had to work around some trouble in the eighth inning after allowing back-to-back singles to start the frame. He then struck out Wright before giving way to Sean Marshall. Marshall was able to get Duda to ground into a nifty double play turned by Brandon Phillips and Zack Cozart to end the inning.
In the bottom half Ryan Hanigan singled with two outs and Dusty Baker tried to get things going by pinch running Billy Hamilton. With everyone in the building knowing what was coming next, Hamilton still managed to remain perfect on the base paths with his 13th consecutive steal to start his MLB career. That would be all the excitement in the eighth as pinch hitter Chris Heisey struck out to end the threat.
Aroldis Chapman came on in the ninth and struck out the side to set up the Reds for a victory. Choo almost came through with a lead off double and then stole third after a pickoff attempt at second by the Mets' catcher was too high. Phillips grounded out to hold Choo and Votto was intentionally walked. Ryan Ludwick popped out to second and then Jay Bruce was also intentionally walked. David Aardsma finally escaped the jam when he got Frazier to line out to center.
Manny Parra (2-3) worked a scoreless tenth to set the stage in the tenth. Greg Burke (0-3) got Cozart to ground out before allowing back-to-back singles to Mesoraco and Derrick Robinson. Lefty Sean Henn came on to face Choo who nearly homered, but settled for a game winning single that bounced off the top of the wall in left center.
Cincinnati continues its quest for the division or at least home field in the Wild Card game as Mike Leake (14-6) takes on Jonathon Niese (7-8) on Tuesday.