by mark schmetzer associated press
Daisuke Matsuzaka scattered four hits in 7 2-3 shutout innings to win his third consecutive start, outdueling Cincinnati's Mat Latos in the New York Mets' 1-0 victory over the Reds on Wednesday.
Eric Young Jr. drove in the only run for the Mets, who won two of three in the series to further dampen Cincinnati's hopes of hosting the National League wild-card playoff game on Tuesday.
The Reds came into the game in third place in the Central Division and second in the wild-card standings, one game behind Pittsburgh. The Pirates and Reds end the regular season with a three-game series starting Friday in Cincinnati.
Matsuzaka (3-3) allowed two walks and hit a batter. He struck out six and evened his record after three losses and a no-decision in his first four starts after joining the Mets in August.
He left the game with a runner on second and two outs in the eighth. Pedro Feliciano came on to walk Shin-Soo Choo before getting Joey Votto to fly out to center fielder Juan Lagares for the fourth time in four at bats.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched the ninth for his 13th save.
The shutout loss was Cincinnati's 11th of the season, after only four last season.
The Mets (73-85) earned their 10th shutout, three fewer than last season, and New York finished its road schedule with a winning record (41-40), wrapping up a 5-1 trip.
Before a crowd of 26,223, which lifted Cincinnati's season attendance to a Great American Ball Park-record 2,371,103, the Mets pushed across a run in the third.
Latos hit Wilfredo Tovar to open the inning. Tovar went to second on Matsuzaka's sacrifice and moved to third on a passed ball before scoring on Young's single to right through a drawn-in infield.
Matsuzaka made the lead stand up with help from catcher Juan Centeno, who threw out Reds rookie base-stealing sensation Billy Hamilton, who was trying to swipe second with two outs in the fifth inning. Hamilton had been successful on his previous 13 attempts, and Centeno caught him without the assistance of a pitchout.
Latos (14-7) allowed four hits and one run with two walks and seven strikeouts in seven innings. He also hit two batters in slipping to 0-2 in four starts since his last win on Sept. 2 against St. Louis.
NOTES: Daniel Murphy's first inning steal of second was his 20th straight without being caught, the third-longest streak in Mets history. He had been tied with Tommie Agee (1971). Murphy is one steal shy of matching Kevin McReynolds (1988). ... In Friday's series opener, RHP Homer Bailey (11-11), who pitched a no-hitter against the Pirates at Pittsburgh last Sept. 28, is scheduled to face RHP A.J. Burnett (9-11), who beat the Reds 4-2 last Saturday. ... The Mets open their final series of the season at home on Thursday against Milwaukee. RHP Dillon Gee (12-10) will pitch for New York against RHP Johnny Hellweg (1-4). ... Mets manager Terry Collins said Matsuzaka will most likely start on Sunday if New York decides against using LHP Jonathon Niese.