CINCINNATI — The thunder from the Mets’ bats, which shook Great American Ball Park a night earlier, turned to a whimper Saturday.
Three hits usually won’t get it done, so here were the Mets frustrated by a Christian Colon grounder that found a hole in the eighth inning for the Reds’ go-ahead run. An ensuing rally for the Mets never arrived in a 3-2 loss that pushed them closer to elimination from the NL wild-card race.
The Mets’ elimination number from the playoff race was shaved to five as they fell four games behind the Brewers — who faced the Pirates in a night game — in the race for the second wild card. At this point, even an 8-0 finish might not be enough for the Mets.
Justin Wilson entered a 2-2 game in the eighth and allowed a walk and single before Seth Lugo recorded the second out. But Colon hit a grounder through the infield that brought in the go-ahead run.
The Mets (80-74) went the final four innings without a baserunner against Anthony DeSclafani and the Reds bullpen. A night earlier, the Mets hit three home runs in a victory over the Reds.
Zack Wheeler kept the Mets in Saturday’s game by firing seven innings in which he allowed two runs, one unearned, on seven hits, one walk and a hit batter. It was a fifth straight start in which the right-hander allowed one earned run. Over that stretch, his ERA has dropped from 4.52 to 3.99.
Brandon Nimmo was drilled by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fifth to tie it 2-2. But the Mets missed an opportunity to claim the lead when Pete Alonso struck out to end the inning after working ahead 2-0 in the count. Michael Conforto walked to begin the rally and Todd Frazier singled before Wheeler bunted and Joey Votto threw wide of first base for an error.
Wheeler drove in the Mets’ first run with a ground out after Amed Rosario doubled Frazier to third base in the third inning.
The Reds sent eight batters to the plate against Wheeler in the first inning and scored two runs. Frazier booted Eugenio Suarez’s grounder for an error to load the bases before Aristides Aquino’s infield single brought in a run. Jose Iglesias stroked a one-out single that put the Mets in a 2-0 hole.
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