Jeurys Familia looked like he needed a hug after blowing a two-run lead with two outs in the ninth inning to the Reds on Tuesday night.
The Mets gave their beleaguered former closer something better: an extra-inning victory that got Familia off the hook for what could have been a disastrous defeat.
Pete Alonso’s first walk-off RBI – a sacrifice fly to the warning track in right in the 10th inning – gave the Mets a 4-3 victory before 20,836 at Citi Field.
“That was awesome,” Alonso said. “It was really cool to come up clutch in a spot like that. Every game’s important and I’m just really happy I could come through for the boys.”
No one needed the Mets to win more than Familia, who was one out away from a six-out save when he walked a batter on four pitches and then gave up three consecutive singles to allow the Reds to tie what seemed like a certain Mets victory
Familia’s troubles – he has a 6.28 ERA – will have to be addressed. But the Mets (15-14) were able to overcome the blown save and avoid falling below .500 for the first time this season.
“We’re all a team. We’re all in this together,” Alonso said. “That’s what we’re all about here. This was a really, really good team win.”
J.D. Davis led off the 10th with a double off Reds closer Raisel Iglesias (1-4) to cap a 10-pitch at-bat. Reds manager David Bell opted to pitch to Jeff McNeil, even though the Mets’ second baseman already had three hits, including a drag bunt RBI single in the third that drove in the game’s first run.
“He was unbelievable,” Alonso said. “He looks like Ted Williams out there.”
McNeil, who is batting .370, lined a single to right to move Davis to third. Alonso, who had struck out twice and hit into a double play in an 0-for-4 start to the night, lofted a 1-and-2 pitch to the wall in right. Yasiel Puig caught it as Davis raced home and the Mets converged to mob Alonso near first base.
“I was trying to just hit a pop-up to rightfield,” said Alonso after the 26th RBI of his rookie season. “So I’m just really happy I got a pitch and I was able to do that. I mean, I wasn’t trying to do that much up there. I was trying to be simple and direct to the baseball and thankfully I got a pitch to do that.”
Alonso struck out against Iglesias in the eighth inning of Monday’s 4-3 loss. Alonso soaked up enough information in that at-bat to help him in the 10th on Tuesday.
“He threw me a couple nasty changeups the night before,” Alonso said. “You can watch video, but it still looks a little different in the box not having seen him. I’m just happy I came in clutch because he made me look stupid the night before."
The Mets were poised for a much less exciting victory after Jason Vargas allowed one run in 5 1/3 innings and Todd Frazier snapped a 1-1 tie with a home run leading off the seventh.
Michael Conforto drove in an insurance run with a two-out single in the eighth.
With closer Edwin Diaz unavailable after pitching three days in a row, manager Mickey Callaway said before the game he would use the struggling Familia as his closer – even for two innings if the opportunity presented itself.
Familia threw a scoreless eighth with the help of a baserunning blunder by Joey Votto, who was doubled off first on a fly ball to short center.
In the ninth, Familia struck out the first two batters before walking Jesse Winker on four pitches and giving up singles to Jose Iglesias, pinch hitter Kyle Farmer and Jose Peraza as the Reds tied the game.
Daniel Zamora replaced Familia and walked Votto to load the bases. In came Drew Gagnon, who struck out Eugenio Suarez to end the inning. Gagnon (1-0) pitched a scoreless 10th for the victory.