NEW YORK (AP) — Jonathan India hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning and the Cincinnati Reds beat the New York Mets 5-3 on Friday night, another important victory in the tight National League wild-card race.
The Reds moved into the third wild card after the San Francisco Giants — who entered Friday two-thousandths of a percentage point ahead of Cincinnati and the Arizona Diamondbacks — fell to the Colorado Rockies, 3-2.
The Reds have the tiebreaker over the Diamondbacks after winning the season series 4-3.
“It’s the best — this is what I play baseball for, I love winning,” India said about an hour before the Rockies beat the Giants. “It’s just such an honor to be in this position, be on the field with my guys and have a chance at the playoffs.”
Grant Hartwig (4-2) plunked Luke Maile leading off the seventh. India, who struck out in his first three at-bats against Mets starter David Peterson, then homered on a 2-2 pitch.
“My team needed me there,” India said. “It wasn’t a great night. The lefty pitched me really well, I couldn’t find a rhythm with him. Stuck in there, cleared my mind and put a good swing up there.”
Pete Alonso had tied it for New York in the sixth with a 425-foot shot to left against Hunter Greene.
“I was frustrated coming into the dugout,” said Greene, who said he hugged India following the latter’s homer. “It’s just a fantastic team win. We’ve been doing that all year — guys being able to come up clutch in those situations later on in the game.”
Lucas Sims (6-3) got the last out in the sixth before walking Ronny Mauricio and Rafael Ortega to begin the seventh. Ian Gibaut induced Mark Vientos to hit into a 6-4-3 double play and retired Omar Narváez on a grounder.
The Mets put two on with one out in the eighth against Gibaut, but Alexis Díaz — the brother of injured Mets closer Edwin Díaz — retired Alonso and McNeil on fly outs before throwing a 1-2-3 ninth to close out his 37th save, tied with Camilo Duval for the most in the NL.
“It’s just tough — five outs against any team, the hitters he faced tonight, you have to be really, really good,” Reds manager David Bell said. “And he’s shown that he’s really good.”
Noelvi Marte went 3 for 4 and scored the Reds’ first run on a wild pitch in the fifth. Spencer Steer hit a two-run shot in the sixth.
Greene allowed four hits and struck out six in 5 2/3 innings.
Alonso, who hit a rookie-record 53 homers in 2019, is the fourth player in history — after Ralph Kiner, Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder — to have at least two 45-homer seasons in his first five seasons.
Mets starter David Peterson gave up three runs (two earned) and tied a career high with 10 strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings against a lineup with just one left-handed hitter, TJ Friedl.
“Pete’ presented himself well,” Mets manager Buck Showalter said. “Very competitive outing, one that we should have taken better advantage of.”
Alexis Díaz’s five-out save closed out a memorable day for the 26-year-old, who spent time earlier with Edwin — who is trying to make it into a game this season after tearing his right patellar tendon during the World Baseball Classic in March — before pitching in front of family members, including his mother, father, wife and child, on Roberto Clemente Day.
“It was a significant day,” Alexis Díaz said through interpreter Jorge Merlos.