NEW YORK (AP) — After a demoralizing start to the season where nothing seemed to go their way, the New York Mets are making all the right calls.
Pinch-hitter Ike Davis hit a walkoff grand slam one batter after manager Terry Collins won his first replay challenge, and the Mets rallied to beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-3 Saturday. "That was tremendous ending especially for Ike going thru what he's going through," Collins said. "To come in in a big situation and come through, that's great stuff."
Brandon Phillips gave the Reds a 3-2 lead with a two-run homer off Dillon Gee in the eighth, two innings after Curtis Granderson connected for a two-run drive off Johnny Cueto, his first homer with the Mets.
Trailing by a run in the ninth, Juan Lagares walked leading off against fill-in closer J.J. Hoover. Anthony Recker got a bunt down on a ball that was above his eyes, and first baseman Joey Votto threw to shortstop Zack Cozart covering second. Second base umpire James Hoye called Lagares out.
Running down the first base line, Recker knew the Mets had an opportunity. "As soon as he called him out I was thinking to myself how we should challenge it," Recker said. So was Collins. After a review of 2 minutes, 14 seconds, the call was overturned by crew chief John Hirschbeck.
"You've got to go out," Collins said. "Took a chance. But you've got to. It's just a close play anyway. We've got that opportunity to challenge that, so I had to take a shot at it." Reds first-year manager Bryan Price agreed with the call.
"They got it right and as frustrating as it was, we anticipated we were going to get the switch," Price said. Hoover (1-1), pitching the ninth for Aroldis Chapman who is out after being hit in the face by a line drive during spring training, then walked Ruben Tejada to load the bases.
"That leadoff walk, didn't give myself any chance really," Hoover said. Davis lost his starting first base job to Lucas Duda a day earlier, but was called on to hit in the pitcher's spot and lined a 0-1 curveball off the facing of the right field porch, setting off a gleeful celebration at Citi Field that included a whipped cream pie in Davis' face.
Collins said Davis will start Sunday against Alfredo Simon, a decision made before the game. "As long as Duda keeps hitting that's going to be my role," Davis said. Duda hit two homers Friday night in the Mets' 4-3 win over the Reds.
The Mets won their second straight after being swept by Washington in three games to open the season. Cincinnati dropped to 1-4 for the first time since 2003, when it finished 69-93. The Mets beleaguered bullpen came through, too. Scott Rice got two outs and Carlos Torres (1-0) worked a scoreless ninth to give the Mets a chance.
In a blustery wind with gusts up to 35 mph that sent papers swirling around Citi Field, Cueto and Gee were dominant early against two of the league's worst hitting teams thus far. Cueto didn't allow a hit until Tejada doubled with one out in the fifth inning and Gee was perfect until Tucker Barnhart, subbing for injured catcher Devin Mesoraco (oblique strain), lined his first big league hit to right field with one out in the third.
Cueto gave up five hits and two runs, lifting any lingering worry about his health after he made only 11 starts last season. He struck out nine and walked three — one intentionally. Gee allowed six hits and a walk. He struck out four.
NOTES: Reds CF Billy Hamilton was scratched from the lineup because of a jammed left middle finger. He was injured sliding head-first into second base Friday night when he was caught stealing. He played center field in the ninth. ... The only other walkoff, pinch-hit grand slam for the Mets came in 1986, when Tim Teufel beat the Phillies. ... Phillips has a hit in all 28 games he's played against the Mets in New York. ... Mets LHP Jonathon Niese is scheduled to make his first start of the season Sunday in the series finale.