NEW YORK -- The day started with New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson acknowledging that the team's struggling bullpen had been a "frustrating thing" this year and saying he was exploring options to fix it.
It ended with the Mets' current relievers doing their own patchwork job with three scoreless innings, and David Wright leading the Mets' offense late in a 9-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday at Citi Field.
Wright, who was battling flu-like symptoms, doubled in the go-ahead run in the eighth, and reached base in all five of his plate appearances. He upped his average to .411 and became the major-league leader in batting average and on-base percentage.
Ronny Cedeno added a three-run homer, his first homer of the season, as the Mets scored all nine runs in their last four innings to erase a 4-0 deficit. And backup catcher Rob Johnson, whose injured thumb would have made it difficult for him to swing the bat, laid down a perfect drag bunt for a base hit to spark the game-winning rally.
"We're grinding out at-bats, we're playing good baseball," Wright said of the Mets, who have started off a surprising 21-17 despite key injuries. "(The Reds have) one of the best bullpens in baseball. To be able to get to them is pretty impressive."
Wright, who had doubled in the first inning and then walked three straight times, gave the Mets a 5-4 lead when he doubled off losing pitcher Logan Ondrusek with one out in the eighth. The hit scored Johnson, who had been sidelined since Sunday after taking a foul tip off his left thumb.
Pressed into duty after Justin Turner pinch-hit for starter Mike Nickeas the previous inning and tied the game with a sacrifice fly, Johnson approached bench coach Bob Geren and asked, "How about if I go up there and drag bunt?"
It was just the type of no-excuses, find-a-way-to-win play manager Terry Collins has espoused, saying his team doesn't worry about circumstances beyond its control.
Asked if he would have been able to swing the bat, Johnson smiled and said, "I would have probably swung when I got to two strikes."
Turner singled in another run before Cedeno capped the five-run inning with his homer to left.
"The home run was just a cutter; he jumped me early in the count, and left it up a little bit for him and he hit it out," Ondrusek said of Cedeno's homer to break open the game. "I've just got to bear down next time and do a better job, and not give up five."
While the Mets jumped on the Reds' stellar relief crew, New York's beleaguered bullpen did its job in relief of starter R.A. Dickey, with Jon Rauch and winning pitcher Bobby Parnell each pitching scoreless innings when the game was still tight.
Frank Francisco gave up a walk and a hit in the ninth, but escaped without allowing a run.
"I thought the job that Jon Rauch and Bobby did was tremendous, was absolutely tremendous," Collins said.
The Mets were helped in the sixth by a questionable base running decision by the Reds' Joey Votto, who had two hits and a home run. With the Reds up 4-3 and runners on second and third with no one out, Votto tried to score from third on a pop out to second baseman Daniel Murphy. Murphy made an over-the-shoulder catch, then fired home for a double play.
"Huge; that was a tremendous play," Collins said. "With your back to home plate and you catch that ball, spin ... that was a marvelous, marvelous play."
The Mets completed their comeback in the seventh as they loaded the bases against reliever Aroldis Chapman with no one out. After Wright walked and Lucas Duda singled, Murphy hit a fly ball to center that Drew Stubbs dropped after running to attempt the catch.
Turner then pinch-hit for Ike Davis and tied the game with his sacrifice fly.
The Mets had chipped away at a 4-0 deficit against starter Mat Latos, scoring three times off him before he departed in the sixth.
Votto homered off Dickey in the fourth, and the Reds scored three more runs in the fifth to lead 4-0. In that frame, Ryan Hanigan doubled in two runs and later scored on a passed ball.
Dickey began the game by retiring 10 of the first 11 batters, and finished with a no-decision, striking out eight and allowing four runs on five hits.
Votto said he preferred not to overthink things when facing the knuckleballer.
"Honestly, I really don't want to think that far ahead with a knuckleballer," Votto said before the game. "It's OK if knuckleballers have my number. That's OK. I'm gonna fight. I'm gonna do my best."
NOTES: A night after calling up left-hander Robert Carson and designating righty D.J. Carrasco for assignment, Alderson acknowledged that Collins' options on the roster were limited. But Alderson said he didn't think there were that many prospects who could make an impact. Alderson said he would seek help from other teams, but said he'd be battling 25 other teams on the trade market. He also said he preferred to create chances within the organization. ... Carson is expected to get a chance to stay for a while as a second lefty out of the bullpen, Collins said. ... Right-hander Jenrry Mejia is "still in a rehab phase" from his Tommy John surgery last May, Alderson said. Mejia will need a couple more starts in Class AA Binghamton and a couple in Class AAA Buffalo before he can return, Alderson said. ... C Johnson (left thumb) was "much better" Thursday, Collins said. He entered the game defensively in the eighth inning. ... LF Ryan Ludwick has gotten off to a slow start with the Reds, hitting .177 entering Thursday, but manager Dusty Baker said he just needed Ludwick to get going, especially since he planned to use him as a DH in the Reds' interleague series this weekend. In a rare extension of their "road trip," the Reds remain in New York to play the Yankees.