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[sny-box color="fff"]Daisuke Matsuzaka turned in his best start of the season, throwing 7.2 shutout innings and holding the Reds to just 4 hits.

Wilfredo Tovar scored the only run of the day after reaching on a hit-by-pitch.

The tough-luck loser, Mat Latos had a solid start for the Reds, allowing just the 1 run and striking out 7 over 7 innings.

Getting the start behind the plate, Juan Centeno handed the already-legendary Billy Hamilton his first career caught stealing with a beautiful throw in the 5th.

Pedro Feliciano worked out of a big jam in the 8th, retiring Joey Votto with runners on 2nd and 3rd.

LaTroy Hawkins pitched a 1-2-3 9th to earn his 101st career save.


To get a full recap and boxscore, check out this link to SNY.TV.

Despite launching his Mets tenure with 3 games that can best be described as "agonizing", Matsuzaka turned out his 4th consecutive quality start, his best since 2011. As in his previous few starts, he wasn’t overpowering, but worked quickly and threw strikes. In all he allowed 7 baserunners, but the Reds continued their misadventures with runners on base and they just couldn’t muster a run. While he should not be considered a legitimate candidate for the starting rotation next season, his turnaround has been undeniably impressive and he would make a nice spare part to stash in AAA in case of injury or a need for a spot start.

Despite having every reason to play hard down the stretch, the Reds looked sloppy and uninspired this whole series and today was no different. It's hard to believe this is a team making a push for the division, as they failed to execute and hustle on a number of different plays. The Mets certainly played spoiler this week, but the Reds have let them. There's simply no excuse for this kind of performance against a AAA Mets lineup.

All that said, the Mets weren’t exactly lighting it up today either, scoring their only run on a hit-by-pitch, a sacrifice bunt, a passed ball, and then a soft grounder from Young that squeezed through for a single with the infield playing in. They managed just 4 hits all day, all singles. Much of the credit goes to the Reds pitching, which has been excellent, but if the Mets are determined to play themselves out of a protected draft pick, I’d like to see them do it with a little style.

Draft pick or no, taking 2 out of 3 in this series and 8 of their last 11 shows that the 2013 Mets are not content with rolling over on the rest of this season. They’ve fought through to the bitter end and that kind of attitude and leadership will serve them well once they finally have a winning roster to work with. I, for one, can’t wait to see it.

W.B. Mason Post Game Extra

Thursday at 7:10 pm ET, the Mets begin their final series of 2013, against the Brewers, with Dillon Gee (12-10, 3.54 ERA) facing Johnny Hellweg (1-4, 7.43 ERA).

Tags: mlbam1, maggie162, avsny, MetsBlog
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