Scooter Gennett couldn’t quite come through for the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday, but he needed fewer than 24 hours to make up for it.
The second baseman drove in three runs with a two-run home run and a double off New York ace Jacob deGrom and the Reds took the rubber game of their three-game series against the New York Mets with a 7-2 win Thursday.
Stuart Turner also hit a two-run homer and Joey Votto added a solo as the Reds went 4-5 on their nine-game home stand. They finished August with a 15-14 record, their first winning month since going 13-11 in July 2016.
“We get their best guy in game three of the series,” manager Bryan Price said. “What was under the radar is, if we lose that, we finish the month under .500. If we win, we’re 15-14. That may seem like a small thing to most people, but it means a lot to us.”
Rookie right-hander Robert Stephenson (3-4) shook off getting plunked by a line drive in the third inning to last a season-high six, allowing five hits and three walks with seven strikeouts.
“It’s definitely sore, and it will be a little tight (on Friday), but I didn’t want to come out of that game,” Stephenson said. “It was a little bit of a wakeup call.”
Stephenson has won his last three starts. His effort dropped the starting pitchers’ combined ERA over their last seven starts to 3.16.
deGrom (14-8) slipped to 2-5 in seven starts since he strung together eight consecutive wins. He allowed six hits and four runs — three earned — with three walks and five strikeouts in six innings. The Reds have won two of their last three against the Mets after losing 14 straight dating back to September 2014.
Shut out for the fifth time Wednesday night after piling up 14 runs Tuesday, the Reds grabbed a 2-1 lead in the second when Eugenio Suarez led off with a single and Gennett followed with his 23rd homer, a long belt into the deep right-center field seats.
The homer was redemption for Gennett, who struck out with the bases loaded and two outs to finish Wednesday’s 2-0 loss.
The Mets tied it, 2-2, in the third when Jose Reyes scored from third on Brandon Nimmo’s line drive single that glanced off the lower body of Stephenson to Votto at first. Stephenson threw a couple of test pitches and stayed in the game.
“Robert was really good,” Price said. “He took that line drive off his hip, but at no point in time did that become a concern. That can be a fallback for some guys coming out of the game.”
Price and Stephenson credited the pitcher’s recent surge to increased reliance on his slider.
“He threw a lot of splitters and sliders over the last three innings,” Price said. “He had a heavy concentration of off-speed pitches. He’s got a myriad collection of pitches he can throw over the plate.”
Billy Hamilton manufactured a go-ahead run in the third. He led off with a single to center, stole his 55th base and, with one out, sped to third on Votto’s grounder to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. The startled Cabrera’s throw to third glanced off Hamilton’s body and rolled far enough away for him to score.