Jesse Winker’s homer off closer Edwin Diaz in 9th lifts Reds over Mets

At the start of the season, Jesse Winker returned from shoulder surgery and had one hit in his first 24 at-bats. His Cincinnati teammates told him not to worry.

“They said it’s eight games, nine games, it’s 10 games,” he recalled. “You don’t make 162 games out of 10 games, right? You don’t make it out of a month.”

Winker pulled a 96 mph fastball from All-Star closer Edwin Diaz over the right-center-field fence with two outs in the ninth inning on a chilly Monday night, and the Reds beat the Mets 5-4 in New York after wasting a four-run lead.

“There’s no better feeling,” Winker said. “It’s the best.”

Left-handed batters had been 0-for-15 with 10 strikeouts this year against Diaz, pitching for the third straight day for the first time this season.

“I’m ready for the highs and lows of the game,” Diaz said through a translator. “I’ve pitched well. Today, I was ready to take this loss because I don’t think I’m going to have many more this season.”

Cardinals 6, Nationals 3: Harrison Bader homered to spark a six-run fifth inning as visiting St. Louis has won three straight and eight of nine. Washington fell to 1-9 in series openers this year.

Twins 1, Astros 0: Jake Odorizzi pitched seven solid innings to outduel Justin Verlander, and Ehire Adrianza homered for host Minnesota off the Houston’ right-hander.

Braves 3, Padres 1: Ozzie Albies homered and drove in two runs, Mike Soroka gave up one run in six innings and host Atlanta beat San Diego, which was missing shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (sore hamstring).

Brewers 5, Rockies 1: Struggling Jesús Aguilar hit his first two homers of the season and host Milwaukee beat Colorado despite NL MVP Christian Yelich being sidelined by lower back soreness.

White Sox 5, Orioles 3: Tim Anderson and Yonder Alonso each hit a two-run homer, sending Manny Banuelos and host Chicago over slumping Baltimore, which lost for the eighth time in 10 games.

Rays 8, Royals 5: Tommy Pham, Yandy Diaz and Ji-Man Choi each drove in two runs, sending Tampa Bay over host Kansas City.

Briefly: Mets second baseman Robinson Cano likely will miss a couple of games with a swollen left hand, though an MRI exam was negative. He was hit on the outside of his hand by a pitch from Milwaukee lefty Gio González in the first inning Sunday. … The Rays promoted first basemanNate Lowe from Triple-A Durham and demoted ex-Giants infielder Christian Arroyo. … Struggling Washington reliever Trevor Rosenthal will go to extended spring training in Florida. He has been in seven games with Washington, pitching to a 36.00 ERA.

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