Lindor’s breakout day, Manaea fuel Mets to 3-1 victory over Reds, 1st series win of 2024

Francisco Lindor Mets Reds
New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) hits a double during the first inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Sunday, April 7, 2024, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Jeff Dean)

Francisco Lindor went 2-for-5 with a double and solo home run and Sean Manaea went five strong innings, allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts and two walks to lead the Mets to a 3-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. With it, they took their first series victory of the season.

“This was a good series win,” manager Carlos Mendoza said (h/t SNY). “The guys came back today, battled, prepared, put together some good at-bats. That was good to see that throughout the game.”

Manaea was supported by a stellar effort from the Mets (3-6) bullpen, which saw Jorge Lopez, Brooks Raley, Adam Ottavino, and Edwin Diaz combine for four shutout, hitless innings. Diaz put the finishing touches on in the ninth inning for his second save in three days — striking out a pair in a 1-2-3 frame.

“Credit to the bullpen… Shoutout to them,” Mendoza said. “They are a big part of what we’re doing here. It was good to see them continue to attack, throw strikes… continue to make pitches.”

Lindor’s big day provided a breakout of sorts. The star shortstop started the season 1-for-31 at the plate which included an 0-for-24 slump entering Sunday’s series finale in Cincinnati.

“It feels really good to be able to contribute to the team,” Lindor said. “Nothing else matters but winning. Whenever you can do something to help the team win, it feels really good.”

The Mets took an early lead, scoring their first first-inning run of the 2024 season. With two outs and Lindor on second following a double, Francisco Alvarez’s grounder to first prompted an errant throw from Christian Encarnacion-Strand, who threw behind starting pitcher Andrew Abbott trying to race to the bag. It allowed Lindor to score from second as the ball scattered away from Reds defenders. 

Playing smaller than small ball in the second, the Mets generated a second run without making meaningful contact with a full swing of a bat. Starling Marte led off the frame with a walk before Jeff McNeil and Tyrone Taylor executed consecutive bunt singles — the first time since 2010 that the Mets had done so — to load the bases with two outs.

Abbott hit Brandon Nimmo to bring in Marte but limited the damage by getting Lindor to ground into an inning-ending double play. 

The Mets allowed another big chance to pass by in the third when they loaded the bases again with one out and could not score. 

Lindor put the Mets up three in the fourth inning when he socked his first home run of the season into the left-field seats. Batting from the right side of the plate, he was able to turn on a 2-1 fastball.

“Like I’ve said, he’s going to get going,” Mendoza said. “Good to see him get some results today.”

Manaea managed to wriggle his way out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings to preserve a second straight solid start to his Mets career. After needing just 23 pitches to get through the first two innings, he needed 69 to get from the third through the fifth.

In the third, he put runners on second and third with one out but proceeded to strike out Spencer Steer and Encarnacion-Strand in succession.

He loaded the bases in the fourth inning by walking Jeimer Candelario, allowing a single to Stuart Fairchild, and hitting Elly De La Cruz with no outs. He gave up his first run as a Met after Santiago Espinal’s sacrifice fly, but he coaxed an inning-ending double play from Bubba Thompson to get out of it.

“For him to go five, I thought he was really good,” Mendoza said. “He kept us in the game. He had to battle… He got out of a bases-loaded jam, got a groundball when he needed it.”

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