|N.Y. Mets (72-85)«||0||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||10||0|
|W: J. Niese (8-8) L: M. Leake (14-7) S: V. Black (1)|
HR: NYM - D. Murphy (13) CIN - None
Recap:Daniel Murphy hit a three-run homer off Mike Leake, whose long streak of scoreless innings got shattered early, and the New York Mets beat Cincinnati 4-2 on Tuesday night, a costly setback to the Reds' hopes of another division title.
The Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates clinched playoff spots on Monday night, but hoped to chase down the first-place St. Louis Cardinals with closing surges. Leake's one very bad inning made that much less likely for the Reds.
Cincinnati fell a daunting three games behind St. Louis, which beat Washington 2-0 on Tuesday night. If they can't catch up, they are headed for the wild card playoff game next Tuesday.
Leake (14-7) gave up four runs and eight hits in only 1 2-3 innings, matching the shortest start of his career. Wilfredo Tovar ended his scoreless innings streak at 21 2-3 with an RBI single, and Murphy's homer gave left-hander Jon Niese (8-8) the big lead.
Jon Niese kept lefties Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in check again, holding them to a combined 0 for 6 with four strikeouts. Niese allowed two runs and eight hits in seven innings. Vic Black faced three batters in the ninth, getting his first career save on his second try.
Votto is 2 for 15 in his career against Niese with seven strikeouts. Bruce is 2 for 13 with six strikeouts.
Niese also got off to a rough start, giving up singles to Shin-Soo Choo and Brandon Phillips on his first two pitches of the game. He got out of that threat with the help of center fielder Juan Lagares, who nailed Choo at the plate as he tried to score on Ryan Ludwick's single.
Eric Young Jr. had a single and a double, scored a run and stole his 42nd base for the Mets, who have won eight of 12.
Murphy's 13 homers are a career high. ... Young has 26 steals in the second half of the season, most in the majors. ... Leake also lasted 1 2-3 innings on July 30 last season against San Diego. ... Leake's scoreless streak was the longest by a Reds starter since Tom Browning threw 23 straight scoreless innings in 1990, when the Reds won the World Series. The series concludes with a day game on Wednesday. RHP Mat Latos (14-6) starts for Cincinnati against RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-3).