(Sports Network) - While the Reds' Joey Votto said he has moved past not being selected for the National League All-Star team, there is little doubt he had some extra motivation when he homered twice in Monday's series opening win over New York.
The Mets, meanwhile, let their emotions impact them in a negative way in last night's loss.
New York will look to rebound tonight behind Johan Santana in the second contest of a three-game series versus Cincinnati at Citi Field.
Votto is among the league leaders with a .318 average, 21 homers and 59 runs batted in, but was not selected to the NL All-Star team on Sunday, though he is still eligible to make the club through the Final Vote competition.
"I've performed as well as I felt like I could perform through the first half. I didn't get picked for the All-Star team, and that's happened -- big deal," Votto said. "I've honestly moved past it, and now I'm hopeful for Thursday, and hopefully people give me a second chance and pick me for the All-Star team."
Votto made his case for selection on Monday, belting a pair of homers and scoring three runs in a wild 8-6 victory. His first-inning solo homer was the Reds' lone run through the first four innings, while the Mets had just Jason Bay's RBI single in the bottom of the frame.
However, the clubs combined for 11 runs in the fifth frame, six by the Reds. Scott Rolen got things started when he was called out on a foul-tip third strike with the bases loaded, though Rolen thought he was hit by the pitch. The umpires met and awarded Rolen first base, sparking the offensive explosion and leading to Mets manager Jerry Manuel's ejection.
"I saw the replay...There is no way it hit [Rolen's] forearm. I don't even think it was close. It was a tough call," said Mets starter Mike Pelfrey, who allowed seven runs over 4 2/3 innings.
Regardless, the Reds have won five of six and 11 of their last 14 and hold a two-game lead over the Cardinals for first place in the NL Central, while the Mets have lost two of three and still trail the first-place Braves by two games in the NL East.
Cincinnati has also now won three of four versus New York this season.
The Mets and Manuel turn to Santana, who is 3-0 with a 4.20 earned run average in six games (five starts) lifetime versus the Reds. However, the lefty is winless in his last three starts, following back-to-back losses with a no- decision against the Nationals on Thursday.
Santana held Washington to just one run over seven innings and was pulled by Manuel after just 97 pitches as his club went on to lose 2-1. The 31-year-old lowered his season ERA to 3.41 to go along with a 5-5 record.
"I didn't want him to go back through the middle of the order again," Manuel told New York's website. "Their guys had hit some pretty decent balls hard on him, and I wanted to get him out of there with a positive. I had no problem with that at all."
Travis Wood was set to make his second career start for the Reds tonight, but he moved up a day and pitched last night's game after Aaron Harang was a late scratch due to a sore back. Wood gave up five runs -- three earned -- over 4 2/3 innings of a no-decision.
Harang, meanwhile, hopes to go tonight instead after getting worked on by a chiropractor on Monday. He is 6-7 with a 5.02 ERA this year and is coming off a no-decision versus the Phillies on Wednesday. The right-hander allowed three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings of his team's 4-3 victory.
Harang, 32, is 2-3 with a 6.11 ERA in six career starts versus the Mets.
The Reds' shuffling of Harang could also alter New York's plans for the return of Jose Reyes, who has been out since last Wednesday due to a right oblique strain. The switch-hitting shortstop was to return to face the left-handed Wood because he could bat from the right side, but facing Harang would mean he would have to bat lefty, so the Mets could opt to sit him again tonight.