Harry Houdini or Steve McQueen could not have been more proud.
Chris Bassitt pulled a “The Great Escape” last night at Citifield to lead the Mets to a 5-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds for their fourth consecutive win.
Bassitt (9-7) allowed one unearned run on eight hits, and a walk. Throw in an error and a catcher’s interference and Bassitt had to work from the stretch throughout his final five innings but he threw 114 pitches and stretched it out for eight gutty innings. “My job is always that, to eat innings,” Bassitt said after the game.
After setting down the first nine Reds’ hitters, Bassitt ran into some trouble in the fourth. Jonathan India was safe at first when Pete Alonso could not handle a throw from third baseman Eduardo Escobar.
With one out, Mike Moustakas singled to put runners on first and third. Joey Votto bounced into a fielder’s choice to plate a run and after Donovan Solano singled, Bassitt ended the threat by getting Jake Fraley to force Solano at second.
The Reds put runners on base in the next three innings, but, like Houdini, Bassitt managed to escape.
In the fifth, the Reds had first and second and one out, but Bassitt got a double play ball from former Met Albert Almora to snuff out the rally. Bassitt stranded three runners in the sixth by retiring Aristedes Aquino on a pop out to second
Starling Marte slugged a two run home run in the first to give the Mets an early 2-0 lead. On a 1-0 pitch from Reds starter and former Mets number one pick, Justin Dunn (0-1), Marte lined a ball over the wall in left center for his 12th home run of the season. Dunn, who was back in the majors for the first time since June, 2021, gave up three runs on five hits in 4 2/3 innings pitched.
Mets took a 3-0 lead in the third. Francisco Lindor walked with one out and stole second. After Alonso struck out, Daniel Vogelbach singled to score Lindor with the third run. Lindor scored a run for the 11th straight game, a Mets franchise record for shortstops.
After Bassitt got through the seventh with 95 pitches, he kinda let Manager Buck Showalter know that he could pitch the eighth. “I’m not afraid to go over 100 pitches. It really doesn’t affect me, so. I’m confident going past 100, I don’t think my stuff declines,” Bassitt said. “Yeah, I’m fine with that.”
In the eighth, Bassitt struck out Votto and Solano, but Fraley singled to center. Showalter had Mychal Givens warming up, but he stayed with Bassitt and the Mets pitcher justified the faith he got from his manager as he struck out Aquino with a 95 MPH fastball.
Showalter went with his gut by sticking with Bassitt, even after Fraley singled. “You watch the game, it tells you usually how a guy’s doing as opposed to some number all the time,” he said.
In the eighth, Tyler Naquin lined a two run triple to make it a 5-1 game and remove any notion of having to use Edwin Diaz. Showalter said Diaz would not have pitched, even if the score was 3-1 going to the ninth.
Naquin and Vogelbach have greatly improved the production from the Mets DH spot. “They’ve been as advertised and its helped us be a more well rounded team,” said Showalter.
Adam Ottavino pitched the ninth and gave up a hit and walk but he struck out former Met Matt Reynolds to end it.
Bassitt has tossed 61 2/3 innings with a 2.19 ERA in his last nine starts. He said he’s not shy about going past 100 pitches in a game, but his manager puts the handcuffs on him. “I want to go 115, 120 pitches every start but Buck won’t let me,” Bassitt said.
The Mets (71-39) have won 11 of 13 and now lead the Atlanta Braves by seven full games in the National League East.