In a game that started with a lot of confusion, Adam Duvall delivered the emphatic ending that left no doubt.
More than two hours after the New York Mets were penalized with an automatic retirement, Duvall led the 10th inning by drilling a walk-off homer over the left field wall to give the Reds a 2-1 victory bring Great American Ball Park on Wednesday.
Duvall, picking up a fastball from Mets Reliever AJ Ramos, tossed his helmet on the ground and jumped onto a bunch of teammates on the home plate. Duvall was showered with water from a large cooler and later Powerade. The Reds (10-27) finished their home stand in nine games with a 3-6 record.
It was the sixth home run of the season for Duvall, who played as a defensive substitute in the ninth inning. He’s struggled with a 0.169 batting average throughout the season, but he’s hoping the walk-off homer “will get the ball rolling”.
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There was confusion long before the post-game celebration and fireworks show.
In the first inning, Reds starter Sal Romano knocked out the first two batters in six pitches. Then the Mets ruined a double for Asdrubal Cabrera for not striking in the correct order. On the line-up card given to referee Gabe Morales, which was different from the card distributed to the media before the game, Cabrera was supposed to come in second.
Red’s interim manager Jim Riggleman left the dugout to alert Morales after the double. After a brief delay, Morales raised his fist in the air to signal an automatic knockout and the end of the inning. Mickey Callaway, Mets first year manager, said it was his responsibility to make sure all line-up cards match.
“You know what? I want to say as little as possible about this because it’s a bad feeling for everyone,” said Riggleman. “I felt bad.”
Players who do not play in the correct order are extremely rare. It happened to Ryan Braun in the first inning of a game in 2016. The Reds had an exchange of blows after a double substitution in 2008 (accidentally against the Mets). Former Reds Bank trainer Jerry Narron caught the Cubs in 2004 with an illegal double switch and an out-of-turn hitter.
The official scoring: Cabrera’s double does not exist and Jay Bruce, who correctly hit the clearing station, was punished for the Mets’ mistake and declared invalid.
“I had no idea what was going on,” said Romano. “I was a little confused, but hey it worked for us.”
The confusion continued in the second inning when Adrian Gonzalez hit a leadoff single. Riggleman again left the dugout to discuss the Mets’ order, but with Bruce already out in the first inning, the Mets correctly went to their fifth batsman, Gonzalez, to start the next inning.
“These umpires were on it and let both banks know that it was,” Riggleman said. “I don’t think anyone in the stadium knew that rule, except for these referees.”
The early Snafu was just a prelude to a pitcher duel. Romano, a New Yorker, allowed a run and lowered his ERA to 3.83. With strong command of all of his pitches, he had a season high of seven spikes and only gave up four hits in six innings.
Mets (18-17) right-handed Zack Wheeler countered with a nearly identical line of six innings, four hits and seven strikeouts.
“There are times this year when I fell in love with my fastball,” said Romano. “I think that’s a time when I’ve just become a thrower and the guys can really sit on my fastball. But today I really tried to mix it up and keep the guys off balance.”
As good as Romano was, the Reds’ bullpen was even better. Jared Hughes, Amir Garrett and Raisel Iglesias had a shot distance of four innings. Iglesias knocked out three of the six batters he faced.
“It starts with the pitching,” said Riggleman. “If you get six and maybe even a little more of your starters, your bullpen will align properly and you have a chance.”
The Reds took advantage of this opportunity in the sixth inning. After successful in his first two bats against Wheeler, Joey Votto slammed an RBI single to the right and scored Jesse Winker.
In a fight between Bullpens, the Reds were without a hit until Duvall gave the Reds their second win of the season.
“The goal was to win a series,” said Duvall after the Reds won two out of three games against the Mets. “And that’s exactly what we did.”