NEW YORK (AP) — Pete Alonso was doused with water and pelted with bubble gum, sunflower seeds and popcorn. Jeff McNeil ran into the celebration and screamed: “I got the hit! I got the hit! I get half!”
After Jeurys Familia wasted a two-run lead with two outs in the ninth, the New York Mets rebounded to beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-3 in 10 innings on Tuesday night and avoid dropping below .500 for the first time this year.
J.D. Davis doubled to the left-center gap off Cincinnati closer Raisel Iglesias (1-4) to cap a 10-pitch at-bat leading off the 10th, and McNeil singled sharply to right for the fifth four-hit game of his brief career and second this year.
Alonso, who had been 0 for 4, fell behind 0-2 in the count, took a changeup and then lofted a fastball to the right-field warning track , allowing Davis to trot home from third on the sacrifice fly. Following the first walk-off RBI of Alonso’s big league career, the rookie thought back to the eighth inning of Monday’s 5-4 loss, when Iglesias struck him out on a changeup.
“I’m just happy I came in clutch because he made me look really stupid the night before,” said Alonso, who has 26 RBIs.
McNeil boosted his average to .370, second in the NL.
“He looks like Ted Williams out there,” Alonso said.
McNeil had put the Mets ahead in the third when with two outs and Juan Lagares on third, he noticed first baseman Joey Votto playing back. McNeil fouled off a drag bunt and to his surprise, Votto stayed deep.
“He kept on staring down at the first-base line,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. “I was like, ‘Man, is he really going to do this again?’”
McNeil followed with a perfect drag bunt on the next pitch , beating Votto’s throw to pitcher Luis Castillo covering the base for a single.
“I thought they’d tried to take that away,” McNeil said. “It’s a free RBI if I can put it where I want it.”
That’s the type of baseball McNeil learned to play for the Long Beach State Dirtbags. McNeil earned his nickname “Squirrel” in college.
“Playing outfield and making diving catches, getting all over the place,” he said.
Reds manager David Bell didn’t think about moving Votto in.
“It was defended about as well as you possibly can,” Bell said. “You don’t see guys make that bunt very often. That was perfect.”
Todd Frazier hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh off Castillo, then was replaced by Davis in the ninth as part of a double switch. Davis fell behind 0-2 against Iglesias, worked the count full as he fouled off three sliders and a changeup, then pulled a slider — Iglesias’ 45th pitch over two nights — and raised his average to .302.
“He threw from different arm angles. He was switching up his windup, his speed to the plate,” Davis said.
New York, which had lost four of five coming in, is just 15-14 despite a 5-1 start.
“If you fall behind .500 at some point, you got to climb out of it and keep on plugging away,” Callaway said.
Jason Vargas had a two-hit shutout when he pitched into the sixth inning for the first time this year, then allowed Eugenio Suarez’s one-out homer and was removed. Michael Conforto, in a 1-for-18 slide, added an RBI single in the eighth off Amir Garrett, a former college basketball player at nearby St. John’s.
With closer Edwin Diaz unavailable after pitching three days in a row, Familia tried for his second regular-season six-out save. He walked Jesse Winker on four pitches with two outs, allowed a single to Jose Iglesias, then consecutive RBI singles to pinch-hitter Kyle Farmer and birthday boy Jose Peraza, who turned 25.
Familia has allowed earned runs in six of his last 10 outings.
“I’ve been having kind of a bad season,” he said through a translator. “I have lost a little bit of confidence from time to time, but I think this is a step in the right direction.”
Daniel Zamora loaded the bases with a walk to Votto, but rookie Drew Gagnon (1-0) struck out Eugenio Suarez and pitched a hitless 10th, getting Jose Iglesias on a foul pop with runners at the corners.
New York beat Cincinnati for the 25th time in 34 meetings, the 14th in their last 18 matchups at Citi Field.
“It was a good comeback,” Bell said. “It would have been a great one to win.”
Castillo allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings, and his ERA rose from 1.23 to 1.45, losing the big league lead. Five of his seven strikeouts were on changeups , a season-long pattern: He has gotten 38 of 50 Ks on changeups overall.
Derek Dietrich was hit by a pitch for the fourth time this season in the 10th, the 97th time in his big league career.
Robert Gsellman led off the bottom of the sixth with the first walk by a Mets reliever since Robert Carson on April 23, 2013, and only the second in the major leagues this year after Cincinnati’s Michael Lorenzen on April 9.
Votto singled leading off, then was doubled up on Suarez’s fly to short center.
“Just off the bat, I think he read hit,” Bell said. “We did too in the dugout. But you’ve got to be sure there.”
Mets: 2B Robinson Cano missed his second game because of a swollen left hand, hit by a pitch from Milwaukee left-hander Gio Gonzalez on Sunday. ... OF Yoenis Cespedes is hitting off a tee, playing catch and bicycling up to 40 miles, but he has not started running as he recovers from surgery on both heels last year.
Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (2-3) has a 4.85 ERA and losses in three straight outings going into Wednesday’s start against Cincinnati RHP Anthony DeSclafani (1-1).