The Reds now know for sure they are going to the postseason, but they have a couple of stuff to solve before they make some final decisions. Perhaps Johnny Cueto cleared one of them up on Monday night.
Cueto made a big stride in showing that he could be the pitcher that starts the club off in October, no matter where or how it begins in the postseason.
While Cueto did not figure in the decision, a 3-2 victory over the Mets came on Shin-Soo Choo‘s walk-off single in the 10th inning. The Pirates won their game vs. the Cubs and the Cardinals eliminated the Nationals from postseason contention with a victory.
The Reds and Pirates, both 90-67 and in second place in the National League Central, are joining Cardinals in the playoffs. Still sit two games out of the division lead.
The Reds have won six of their last seven games. Cueto, who has been part of two of those victories in his first two games back from the disabled list, gave his team seven strong innings, allowing two runs,one earned, on three hits, with three walks and five strikeout throwing 99 pitches.
The Reds are still trying to figure out a postseason rotation and where exactly Cueto might fit. Last Monday in his first start since June 28 when a strained right lat muscle put him on the disabled list for the third time this season Cueto pitched five scoreless innings on 82 pitches for a victory over the Astors.
Baker was clearly impressed with what he’s seen from Cueto thus far. When asked about Cueto’s potential role on the postseason roster, Baker smiled and paused.
The Reds took a 2-0 lead in the second but missed out on a bigger inning. Todd Frazier started the rally with a lead off double and was held at third base on a one out single by Ryan Hanigan . Choo’s two out RBI single and a bases loaded walk by Joey Votto got both runs in.
Cueto’s third inning started when Mets starter Aaron Harang reached on Frazier’s two base throwing error into the camera pit. Later in the inning, Harang scored on a sacrifice fly. Cueto retired nine in a row until Lucas Duda in the sixth inning hit a two out solo home run to right field that made it a 2-2 game. In the seventh, Cueto gave up a walk but escaped without trouble.
Reliever Sam LeCure started the eighth by giving up singles to Eric Young Jr. and Daniel Murphy. After David Wright looked at strike three for the first out, lefty Sean Marshall was called in to face Duda.
Handed his first pressure situation since returning from the disabled list last week, Marshall got a huge double play and escaped, great to see the old Marshall back. Aroldis Chapman struck out the side in the top of the ninth inning.
Choo led off the ninth with a double to center field and stole third base with no outs and pitching to Brandon Phillips. Extra innings came after the Reds could not get Choo home, as Phillips, Ryan Ludwick and Frazier all missed opportunities around intentional walks to Votto with one out and Jay Bruce with two outs that loaded the bases.
In the 10th, late substitute Devin Mesoraco hit a one out single off the glove of Wright at third base. Derrick Robinson, who entered in the top of the 10th in a double switch, followed with a single into right field that put runners on the corners.
A Lefty was called on to face Choo, who hit the second pitch off the top of the wall in left field, just missing a homer. Ruled a single, it didn’t matter, as Mesoraco cruised home with the game winning run.
Choo, who missed the previous two games at Pittsburgh with a jammed left thumb, was pleased he could contribute again when it’s needed most. The win put the Reds at 90 wins for the season. Tonight’s pitching match up will be Mike Leake and Jonathan Niese. First pitch is at 7:10pm.