"I was pitching to contact and got some strikeouts when I needed them," Romano said. "It was a pretty good day."
The 23-year-old gave up a run in the first inning and two more in the sixth, but shut down the Mets in between. He fell short of becoming the first Reds pitcher this season to throw seven or more innings in three consecutive starts, but was solid most of the evening and demonstrated composure even when he wasn't.
"I felt really sharp today," said Romano (4-5, 4.91), who has a 2.70 ERA in his three most recent starts.
Romano survived a rough first inning when he walked Mets leadoff hitter Jose Reyes, who moved up on Romano's wild pitch and scored on Asdrubal Cabrera's double to the left-field corner. Romano bounced back to retire 15 of the next 17.
"He had a few misfires, not missing by a lot, but missing," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "He threw a lot of pitches in the first inning trying to get on line. All of a sudden, he started throwing that hard sinker in there, changing speeds and mixing in some breaking balls. He was also able to control their running game, which makes a difference."
Cabrera's walk was followed by three consecutive two-out hits, including Dominic Smith's two-run single down the right-field line. It appeared Romano's work shift might be done when Mets center fielder Juan Lagares came to the plate, but Romano dispatched Lagares with a rally-killing 2-2 slider.
"I left some changeups up in the sixth inning, but for the most part, I felt like I was in control," Romano said.
Drew Storen replaced Romano, who had thrown 96 pitches, when the seventh inning began. Romano was on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder earlier this season and has not thrown more than 102 pitches in any of his big league starts since being called up following the All-Star break.
Andy Call is a contributor to MLB.com based in Cincinnati.