CINCINNATI -- The Mets' struggles have descended beyond mere hitting slumps and pitching slumps at this point, even beyond simple wins and losses. A sliver of the absurd played into their undoing Wednesday, when the Mets batted out of order en route to a 2-1, 10th-inning loss to the Reds at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds won back-to-back games for just the second time this season, while the Mets, who have dropped eight of nine, have not won two in a row since their nine-game winning streak ended April 14. They fell Wednesday when outfielder Adam Duvall greeted AJ Ramos with a leadoff homer in the 10th to give the Reds a walk-off victory.
"We dig and dig and dig and try to figure out what's going on exactly," manager Mickey Callaway said. "We're going to continue to grind. We're going to figure out what's going on, and work on it diligently to right the ship. Because we're better than this, and we're going to start figuring it out."
Retiring 12 straight Reds from the second through fifth innings, Mets starter Zack Wheeler then allowed four of the first five batters to face him in the sixth to reach base. The third of those, Joey Votto, ripped a game-tying, RBI single into right field. But Wheeler navigated out of a subsequent bases-loaded, one-out jam to keep the score knotted.
The Mets plated their only run off Reds starter Sal Romano on an Asdrubal Cabrera RBI groundout in the third inning. That came in Cabrera's second plate appearance, which was significantly less eventful than his first. Doubling off Romano in the first inning, Cabrera was erased when Reds manager Jim Riggleman caught the Mets batting out of order.
Said Jay Bruce, who lost an RBI opportunity due to the out-of-order snafu: "It was a frustrating day."
"There's no magic potion or anything that's going to make it come," Bruce added. "You can hope all you want, but you have to work and you have to continue to work. … I'm still completely on board with what this team is capable of doing, and what we're going to end up doing."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rather than turn to closer Jeurys Familia in a tie game on the road, Callaway used Seth Lugo in the ninth inning and Ramos in the 10th. Duvall cracked the latter's fourth pitch over the left-field wall at 108.5 mph, good for the Reds' hardest-hit home run of the season.
For much of this season, Ramos and Mets officials have bemoaned the typically steady reliever's walk rate. This was the first home run against him this season.
"A solo homer, you can't ever do anything about that," Callaway said.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Confusion reigned in the top of the first, after Wilmer Flores struck out and Cabrera doubled. As the next batter, Bruce, dug in for his plate appearance, Riggleman alerted the umpiring crew that Flores and Cabrera batted in each other's spots. Cabrera's hit was wiped out of the record books, and Bruce was called out to end the inning.
"It was early in the game," Cabrera said. "It was not a big deal in that moment, but we lost the game. There's nothing that we can do now."
HE SAID IT
"We are way better than how we're playing right now. We'll figure it out. There are good players here. There's no reason to play this bad." -- Flores
Following an off-day Thursday, left-hander Steven Matz will open the Mets' three-game series Friday in Philadelphia. The Mets also hope to have Yoenis Cespedes, who has been battling right quad soreness, back in the lineup -- particularly with Bruce set to miss the entire series for the birth of his second child. Matz will oppose right-hander Jacob Arrieta in the 7:05 p.m. ET opener at Citizens Bank Park.