NEW YORK (AP) — Rafael Montero overcame five walks to win his third straight start, Kevin Plawecki hit a two-run homer and the New York Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-1 on Saturday night.
After losing five of six, the Mets have won four straight for the first time since July 19-22.
Cincinnati’s third consecutive defeat ensured its fourth losing season in a row and 14th in 17 years.
Montero (5-9) was lifted with a 2-1 lead after throwing 97 pitches, weaving in and out of trouble over five innings. The right-hander entered 3-1 with a 2.90 ERA in his previous five starts.
Chasen Bradford, Josh Smoker, Jeurys Familia and Jamie Callahan combined for four innings of hitless relief.
Cincinnati took a 1-0 lead in the second on Scott Schebler’s sacrifice fly, but Montero limited the damage by escaping a bases-loaded jam.
Plawecki’s two-out homer to left field in the bottom half off Homer Bailey (4-8) put the Mets ahead.
Montero faced another jam in the third before striking out Schebler looking with runners on first and second to end the threat.
The Reds once again threatened in the fourth, putting runners on second and third with two outs, but Montero wiggled out of trouble by getting All-Star shortstop Zack Cozart to fly out to the warning track in left.
The Mets increased the lead to 3-1 on rookie Dominic Smith’s two-out, run-scoring single in the sixth.
The following inning, New York chased Bailey after the right-hander hit Matt Reynolds with a pitch and walked pitcher Jacob deGrom, who was pinch-hitting.
Nori Aoki’s two-run single off Michael Lorenzen made it 5-1, and Asdrubal Cabrera’s RBI double increased it to 6-1. Schebler prevented further damage with a diving catch in center.
Bailey allowed five runs and six hits in six-plus innings.
Mets rookie Phillip Evans got his first major league hit with a pinch-hit double in the fifth. Evans debuted Friday and lined out in his first at-bat. The 24-year-old was called up after hitting .279 with 11 homers and 56 RBIs for Triple-A Las Vegas this season.
Reds: RF Jesse Winker (strained left hip flexor) ran the bases. The 24-year-old Winker, who got injured Aug. 24 while running out a grounder, was hitting .310 since his promotion to the majors Aug. 1.
Mets: SS Amed Rosario (bruised right index finger) was held out of the lineup for a sixth straight game, although the inflammation has subsided. The 22-year-old rookie bruised his finger while swinging a bat last Saturday in Houston. He took batting practice before Saturday’s game, and manager Terry Collins hopes to have Rosario back Sunday. “We’re just going to give him that one more day to make sure,” Collins said. “We’re going to see how he hits. Make sure the finger doesn’t swell back up.” . RHP Noah Syndergaard (torn right lat muscle) will throw 50 pitches in a simulated game Sunday. Syndergaard has been out since May 1. He pitched two innings Thursday in a rehab start with Class A Brooklyn.
Reds: RHP Sal Romano (4-6, 4.62 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday against the Mets. Romano, who is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in his last four starts, came away with the win Aug. 29 against New York, allowing three runs in six innings.
Mets: deGrom (14-9, 3.65) looks to surpass his career high for wins set in 2015. The Mets’ ace is coming off a poor start Tuesday against Philadelphia in which he lasted a season-low 3 2/3 innings and gave up a career-high nine runs, six earned, in the loss.