CINCINNATI -- Second baseman Daniel Murphy hit a three-run home run and Jonathon Niese pitched seven solid innings, lifting the New York Mets to a 4-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park.
Cincinnati (90-68) clinched a postseason berth Sunday, but the Reds still hope to earn home-field advantage in the National League wild-card game or possibly catch the first-place St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central race.
New York (72-85) beat Cincinnati for just the third time this season in 11 meetings.
In what could be his final start this season, Niese (8-8) was stellar, allowing two runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out six over 113 pitches.
Reds starter Mike Leake (14-7) had a 20 1/3-inning scoreless streak entering Tuesday's game, but the Mets abruptly ended it. Leake allowed four earned runs on eight hits in just 1 2/3 innings, exiting after 54 pitches.
Five Cincinnati relievers combined to hold the Mets to just two hits, one walk, and a hit batter over the next 7 1/3 innings to keep the Reds within reach.
Mets right-hander Vic Black struck out two in a scoreless ninth to earn his first career save.
The Reds got three hits off Niese in the first inning but did not score. Shin-Soo Choo was thrown out at the plate by Juan Lagares attempting to score on Ryan Ludwick's single.
Mike Baxter doubled leading off the second and scored on Wilfredo Tovar's single, putting the Mets ahead 1-0.
Jay Bruce prevented a second New York run in the inning when he threw out Tovar trying to score on Niese's single. Two batters later, Murphy culminated a 10-pitch at-bat against Leake with a three-run homer, putting the Mets ahead 4-0.
Choo tripled leading off the fifth on a ball misjudged in center by Lagares. Joey Votto grounded into a double play, but Choo scored to cut the Mets' lead to 4-2.
NOTES: Murphy's 13 home runs are a career high. ... Leake's outing tied for the shortest start of his career. Leake's scoreless streak was the longest for a Reds pitcher this season, besting Latos' 21-inning streak from April 19 to May 5. ... Reds RHP Mat Latos will start Wednesday's series finale, a move that aligns the rotation so that Latos could start the wild-card game Tuesday, if needed, or Game 1 of the NL Division Series. RHP Johnny Cueto will start Sunday in the regular-season finale against the Pittsburgh Pirates. ... The Mets removed INF/OF Jordany Valdespin from the restricted list and placed him on Triple-A Las Vegas' roster. Valdespin was suspended 50 games in August as part of the Biogenesis investigation. To make room for Valdespin on the 40-man roster, LHP Josh Edgin (fractured left rib) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list.