NEW YORK – So close. Just shy. Just a few inches away from making history.
Instead of a record-breaking eighth game in a row with a home run on Saturday, Joey Votto had to be content with an extremely hard and very long single against the Mets in the top of the eighth inning. The first baseman finished 1-for-5 without a homer. To make matters worse, the Reds blew a late lead to lose the game by 5-4 in 10 innings on Brandon Drury’s walk-off RBI single at Citi Field.
After Farmer’s leadoff single in the eighth game against Seth Lugo, Votto attacked a 0-1 Lugo pitch and brought it to the right field. The drive bounced off the orange line at the top of the fence and came back into play. According to the statcast, the exit velocity from the club was 109.4 mph and the ball flew a projected 377 feet back. It would have been a home run at 10 other major league baseball stadiums, including Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park.
Votto is the eighth player in AL / NL history to have a seven-game streak with a homer, and he would only be the fourth player to make it eight – after Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1993).
Cincinnati had a 4-3 lead and could not complete it in the final stages of ninth place. Heath Hembree went to lead-off batter Jeff McNeil before outplaying his next two batter. Manager David Bell called in left-handed Sean Doolittle to face left-handed Dominic Smith. It was an odd decision as Smith came into play on Saturday, scoring .326 against left-handed and .223 against right-handed.
The move backfired when Smith fouled a pair of two-strike pitches before hitting the RBI single that tied the game into midfield. Doolittle, who threw Smith five fastballs, including a season high of 97.8 mph heating in fourth place, abandoned the single on the only off-speed place he threw. He withdrew the first batter in just 23 of his 41 appearances.
In the top of the 10th, the Reds had runners on the turns when Votto got a final at-bat. He hit Mets seamstress Edwin Díaz before Tyler Naquin stepped into midfield to end the threat. Luis Cessa was finishing 10th when his first batter, Drury, hit a single-to-right field that scored automatic runner Kevin Pillar.