CINCINNATI (WFAN/AP) — Jason Isringhausen showed he’s still got something left in the tank — enough to beat a Reds team that let him go, anyway.
Isringhausen struck out Brandon Phillips with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday night, closing out the New York Mets’ 4-2 win and denying Cincinnati an elusive third straight win.
A familiar figure kept them from it.
The Reds signed the 38-year-old reliever to a minor league deal last season, giving him a chance to continue his comeback from reconstructive elbow surgery in 2009. After seven games he came down with a sore elbow, and that was it.
“They just said I didn’t have enough in the tank,” Isringhausen said.
The Mets traded closer Francisco Rodriguez to Milwaukee right after the All-Star game, opening the way for Isringhausen and others to finish off games. He used his guile to deny the Reds a third straight win.
Cincinnati hasn’t won three straight since a sweep of the Dodgers from June 13-15. The Reds sure had their chance in the ninth.
Third baseman David Wright’s error and Miguel Cairo’s single put two aboard with two outs. Isringhausen then pitched carefully to Jay Bruce, walking him to load the bases.
“I wasn’t going to give in to him,” Isringhausen said. “I’ve seen too many highlights of him hitting home runs for walk-offs.”
Isringhausen then fanned Phillips on four pitches to get his third save in six chances and end the drama.
“I believe in the old man,” starter R.A. Dickey said. “He’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeve.”
Manager Terry Collins plans to use Isringhausen in the closer’s role “for the foreseeable future.”
“He just grinds it out and makes his pitches,” Collins said. “He’s an old pro, no doubt about it.”
Carlos Beltran’s sacrifice fly started a four-run rally in the seventh inning, when the Mets rallied against Mike Leake (8-6) and two relievers.
The biggest intrigue for the Mets is whether Beltran will still be with them when they leave town on Thursday. He’s likely to be the next one traded away.
Both teams know their biggest problem lately — getting a hit with runners in scoring position. They had trouble with it again until the Mets finally broke through in the seventh.
Jose Reyes and Justin Turner had one-out singles off Leake, who left the game with a pitch count at 112. Beltran tied it with his fly out against left-hander Bill Bray. Wright singled home the tiebreaker off Logan Ondrusek, and Daniel Murphy and Jason Bay followed with RBI doubles.
“That’s how it goes,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “It doesn’t take long to unravel. That was a bad series of events.”
Wright has driven in seven runs since coming off the disabled list on Friday. He was sidelined on May 18 with a stress fracture in his lower back. The third baseman is 8 for 19 in his four games back.
Phillips doubled home a run in the sixth, and Dickey (5-8) left after giving up Drew Stubbs’ RBI single with two outs in the seventh. A bullpen that has struggled lately made it interesting and gave Reds fans a moment to reminisce.
After Dickey left, Pedro Beato walked Cairo to put runners on first and second. Collins then brought in left-hander Tim Byrdak to face Bruce in a sentimental matchup.
Bruce hit a first-pitch, game-ending homer off Byrdak last Sept. 28 for a 3-2 win over Houston that clinched the NL Central title. This time, Byrdak fanned him on three pitches.
“We talked about it before the game,” Collins said. “He said that was the worst night of his career. I’m sure he was determined there.”
Notes: Reyes has scored in each of his last seven games. … Reds 1B Joey Votto was out of the starting lineup for only the second time this season, getting a day of rest. Votto pinch hit in the eighth and flied out. He’s 2 for 18 in his last six games. … OF Chris Heisey got an MRI on his left shoulder that was negative. Heisey was sore after bumping the outfield wall while going for a fly ball on Sunday night.
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