By Dave Buscema, The Sports Xchange
NEW YORK -- New York Mets reliever D.J. Carrasco didn't give anyone reason to question the purpose of any of his pitches Wednesday night.
Their effectiveness was open to scrutiny, though.
And by the end of this night, Carrasco wasn't ejected from the game in the Mets' 6-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, but he was rejected by his team.
Carrasco allowed his second home run in as many nights, as Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier hit his second home run of the game in the Reds' four-run eighth inning.
Things got even worse after the game as the Mets designated Carrasco for assignment after the game, and called up lefty Robert Carson from Class AAA Binghamton, to help with their struggling bullpen.
"Nobody ever wants that," Carrasco said of getting designated. Asked if he thought the move was connected to Tuesday's drama, when he was ejected for hitting Milwaukee Brewers star Ryan Braun with a pitch after allowing a home run, Carrasco said, "I don't think so. I've struggled here. Those questions will never be answered. There will always be speculation. I don't think so."
Frazier, a Toms River, N.J., native, had his first career multi-homer game in front of what he estimated to be about 35-40 friends and relatives. Reds starter Mike Leake gave up three runs (one earned) in six innings and a trio of Reds relievers shut out the Mets from there, with Jose Arredondo getting the win (3-1) and Sean Marshall getting his seventh save.
"It was a special time tonight," Frazier said of his big game in front of his friends and family. "They're gonna be excited."
For Carrasco, it was not an exciting time, but a frustrating one, as he was one of three relievers in the eighth to help blow a 3-2 lead for starter Johan Santana.
Carrasco again insisted before Wednesday's game that he did not intend to hit Braun with a pitch the previous night, one pitch after allowing a home run. The questionable pitch led to his ejection.
It also helped create a mini-firestorm with Mets manager Terry Collins, who removed David Wright from that game in fear of retaliation, and Wright heatedly arguing he should stay in and take the hit, if it were to come.
Wright and Collins both said before Wednesday's game the matter was settled. Collins said he trusted Carrasco when he said the pitch wasn't intentional, but told him that if it had been, the pitcher would have put his team "in a bad situation."
The bad situation Carrasco put the Mets in Wednesday was limited to the scoreboard as Frazier's two-run shot over the center field fence capped a four-run inning and gave the Reds a 6-3 lead. It also raised Carrasco's ERA to 7.36.
"First time we've put him in that situation," Collins said before the roster move was announced, adding he was limited in the relievers who were available. "It all depends on who we have ready. We thought it would be a good test for him."
Santana allowed two runs on six hits in 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking two and left with a 3-2 lead.
But after Bobby Parnell struck out Zack Cozart to strand a runner on second in the seventh, a trio of Mets relievers combined to give up four runs and four hits in the eighth.
Losing pitcher Jon Rauch (3-2) allowed a single to Drew Stubbs, a double to Joey Votto and a RBI single to Brandon Phillips to start the inning, tying the game at 3-3.
"I'm out there to stop the bleeding and protect the lead," Rauch said, "and I didn't do it."
One out later, the Reds sent up pinch-hitter Jay Bruce and the Mets countered with Tim Byrdak. Bruce hit a sacrifice fly to give the Reds a 4-3 lead, but the Mets seemed poised to escape with two outs.
Instead, Frazier drilled his two-run shot over the center-field wall against Carrasco for a 6-3 lead.
The Mets had opened up a 3-1 lead in the sixth when they scored two unearned runs on a pair of hits, an error and their second successful suicide squeeze play in the past three games.
The Reds scored their first run thanks largely to Leake, who singled for one of his two hits, and raced around to score from first on Cozart's double, sliding in just ahead of the tag.
"Two hits, great base running, great slide," Reds manager Dusty Baker said. "He got us on the board."
NOTES: Wright said his run-in with manager Collins on Tuesday night was settled and "there was absolutely no issue," and the manager agreed. ... As expected, Major League Baseball officially announced Citi Field would host the 2013 All-Star Game. ... Catcher Josh Thole passed his concussion test and was cleared to resume baseball activities, the club said. ... Right-hander Jenrry Mejia is scheduled to start for Class AA Binghamton (N.Y.) Saturday in his next rehab appearance in his recovery from last May's Tommy John surgery. Collins said eventually he expects Mejia to pitch in relief this year. ... Reds right fielder Jay Bruce was given a day off Wednesday against the Mets because, Baker said, "If I don't give it to him today, he's not going to get it anytime soon." Bruce pinch-hit in the eighth.