NEW YORK -- An early deficit vs. the Reds on Thursday didn't deter the Mets, nor starting pitcher Matt Harvey. Aided by Brandon Nimmo's two home runs, New York scored seven unanswered runs to take a 7-2 victory in the opener of a four-game series at Citi Field.
Nimmo, who entered the night with one homer in 47 big league games this season, is getting a chance with the trades of Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson, and Yoenis Cespedes being done for the season. Nimmo went deep in the fifth and sixth innings and reached in four of his five plate appearances.
"When I hit the second one, going around first base I just said to myself, 'I can't believe I hit two home runs in a Major League game," Nimmo said. "I was in shock going around the bases."
In his second start back from a right shoulder injury that had him on the disabled list from June 16-Sept. 2, Harvey pitched five innings for his first victory since May 28. He gave up two earned runs with five hits, one walk and one strikeout while throwing 74 pitches.
Harvey, Josh Smoker, Jeurys Familia and AJ Ramos combined to hold the Reds scoreless over the final seven innings.
"I thought it was a huge step forward," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "He should feel pretty good."
Harvey did feel good, saying, "We're moving in the right direction."
Reds rookie Tyler Mahle's third big league start was lackluster as he lasted four innings with three earned runs, six hits, four walks and two strikeouts. Mahle appeared to lack his normal velocity and instead turned to his secondary pitches.
"I don't think he had that extra gear to reach back and get that 95-96 [mph] when he wanted it tonight," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "It was one of those games where I thought he was going to have to battle his way through it. Late in the season for a kid that's pitching in September in the big leagues for the first time, it just seemed like a good time to get him out of there."
On the heels of sweeping three games from the Brewers, Cincinnati staked Mahle to a 2-0 lead after two innings. Adam Duvall had sacrifice fly in the first inning and Phillip Ervin added a two-out RBI double in the second inning. Following a Nimmo lead-off double in the bottom of the second, Dominic Smith shaved the lead in half with a one-out RBI single to center field.
• Ervin making the most of his opportunity
"I missed some spots in big counts. That's what hurt me," said Mahle, who is 0-2 with a 3.60 ERA in his three starts.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Lead changes hands: The game turned with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. Mahle, who walked Smith to begin the inning, followed by allowing a Kevin Plawecki double, then saw his first-pitch slider slashed into right field by Jose Reyes for a single. Smith scored easily and Plawecki beat a throw to the plate with a head-first slide.
"It wasn't a terrible pitch, but it obviously wasn't the right one. He shot it through the hole right there," Mahle said.
Back-to-back jacks: Following Mahle's early departure, the Reds turned to Tim Adleman and the Mets pounced. Nimmo hit a 1-2 pitch to the opposite way for a leadoff homer that barely cleared the left-field fence. There was less doubt about Juan Lagares' drive on a 1-1 Adleman pitch. It sailed several rows into the left-field seats to give the Mets back-to-back homers for the sixth time this season. It was the eighth time that Reds pitchers allowed back-to-back homers.
"I told [hitting coach Kevin Long] that I think that's the first time I've gone back-to-back as a pro," Nimmo said.
The Mets, hurt by injuries all season, lost third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera to a lower-back injury sustained making a throw in the seventh inning.
Cabrera said he doesn't believe the injury is serious, but will have an MRI exam Friday.
"Nobody has more fun hitting home runs than he does." -- Collins, on Nimmo's pair of homers
"We hit a lot of balls hard. I had us for 14 balls hit on the screws tonight. Joey Votto in all four at-bats was right on the barrel. We lined some to left, right and center field. We put the ball in play hard and just didn't have much to show for it." -- Price, on his team's offense going dry after the first two innings
With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Cabrera hit a drive to left field that hit off of the top of the wall and came back into play. Initially, it was ruled a solo home run. But after the four umpires conferred, it was changed to a double. The Mets wanted another look taken, so a crew chief review followed and the replay showed the Cabrera drive hit the orange line at the top of the wall and the final call was confirmed.
Reds:Amir Garrett will make his return to the Reds rotation for Friday's 7:10 p.m. ET game at New York. Garrett, who was called up on Tuesday, pitched a seven-inning complete game shutout with 10 strikeouts in his final start for Triple-A Louisville. His last big league start was June 20 vs. the Rays when he allowed six earned runs and five hits over 3 2/3 innings.
Mets: Right-hander Seth Lugo (5-4, 5.00 ERA) makes his third start since coming off the disabled list Friday at Citi Field, in the second game of the series.
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