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.
Reds: RHP Sal Romano (4-6, 4.62 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday. 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.