On a day that began with a ceremony honoring Bartolo Colon, handing out shirts emblazoned with “Big Sexy” on them as he officially retired as a Met, it seemed right that Daniel Vogelbach stepped to the plate in the seventh inning and provided the biggest blow of the game in an 8-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds.
Of similar stature, Vogelbach couldn’t quite match Colon’s signature feat — the home run that seemed to overshadow his career of pitching exploits — but he managed to put the game out of reach on this day at Citi Field.
The Mets fell behind 1-0 in the first but took the lead in the third and never surrendered it to salvage the final game of the three-game set. With Francisco Alvarez at the plate and two outs, the Mets tied the score when Cincinnati starter Brandon Williamson threw a wild pitch that allowed Tim Locastro to score. Alvarez then ripped a two-run double into the leftfield corner, providing more than enough cushion for Jose Quintana, who allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings. It was the fourth straight start in which he allowed two or fewer runs.
“Very quietly since he came back [from injury], he’s the type of guy other pitchers are drawn to,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “No ego . . . It’s bittersweet, because every time I see him pitch, I think of the two-thirds of the season he wasn’t here.”
The Reds, in a chase for a wild-card berth, committed three errors to help the Mets take control of the game.
After the third error helped load the bases in the seventh inning with the score 4-2, Vogelbach pinch hit and delivered a bases-clearing double off the centerfield wall for a 7-2 lead. Ronny Mauricio added an RBI single for a four-run inning.
Notes & quotes: Jeff McNeil got his first start of the season in centerfield. “He’s definitely willing. He likes it,” Showalter said of McNeil’s versatility; he has played six positions this season. “Guys that want to play all over, everything is fine until you have to think about catching.” . . . Showalter said he is hopeful that Brett Baty (groin) will be ready to play in Miami on Monday night.