Mahle struggles in loss to Mets; Hamilton placed on DL
NEW YORK (AP) — Mets rookie Brandon Nimmo isn't regarded as much of a slugger. He sure looked the part of a cleanup hitter Thursday night, though.
Nimmo homered twice, Juan Lagares added a solo shot and New York beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-2.
The Mets have won three of four and ended the Reds' three-game winning streak to open a four-game series.
Nimmo has 40 homers in 564 minor league games and had just two in 168 major league at-bats before Thursday, making this an odd feat for the oft-smiling outfielder.
"He plays with such tremendous energy and he loves to be out there," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Nobody has more fun hitting homers than he does."
Batting fourth in New York's lineup, Nimmo ripped an opposite-field drive off reliever Tim Adleman in the fifth inning that touched just above the orange line on the left-field wall for a home run.
Lagares followed with a liner that traveled a bit farther into the seats, giving the Mets a 5-2 lead on their 201st homer of the year — the second highest total in club history (218 in 2016).
The next inning, Nimmo hit Alejandro Chacin's 2-2 offering out to center field to extend New York's advantage to 7-2.
"As I was going around first base I said to myself, 'I can't believe I hit two home runs in a major league game'," a beaming Nimmo said. "So I was in shock going around the bases. I really was just trying to hit something hard and so two of them happened to go out and it was an incredible feeling."
Nimmo led off the second inning with a double that careened off Scott Schebler's glove in the right-field corner, advancing to third on a groundout and scoring on Dominic Smith's RBI single.
"He smoked that ball to right field that Schebler wasn't able to track down and he ends up hitting two balls over the wall," Reds manager Bryan Price said. "I'd have to go back and look at the video to see exactly where the locations were, but I probably give him more credit than point a finger at a mistake by our pitchers."
Over his last 12 games, Nimmo is batting .333 (13 for 39) with 11 RBIs.
Matt Harvey was ineffective early but regrouped for the win, allowing two runs and five hits in five innings in just his second start since Jun. 14.
Shelved for almost three months with an injury to the scapula in his right shoulder, the Mets' one-time ace was rocked for seven runs over two innings in Houston his last time out.
"Overall just starting to feel a little more comfortable out there with mechanics and attacking hitters," Harvey said. "Obviously still not where I want to be but definitely moving in the right direction."
Harvey (5-4) remained undefeated against Cincinnati, improving to 4-0 with a 2.63 ERA in six starts.
Tyler Mahle (0-2) struggled in his third major league start, giving up three runs, six hits and four walks in four innings.
"I missed some spots in big counts and that's what hurt me," Mahle said.
Adam Duvall drove in one of Cincinnati's two runs, giving him 94 runs batted in on the season. His 197 RBIs over the last two years are the most by any NL outfielder during that span.
Reds: CF Billy Hamilton (broken left thumb) was placed on the 10-day disabled list. The major league stolen bases leader was hurt attempting to bunt in the first inning of Wednesday's game against Milwaukee.
Mets: 3B Asdrubal Cabrera exited in the eighth inning with a tight right hamstring. He is expected to have an MRI on Friday. . INF Wilmer Flores (broken nose) was re-examined Thursday and shut down for the season. ... INF/OF T.J. Rivera (partial tear in right elbow) will have Tommy John surgery next week. ... RHP Noah Syndergaard (torn right lat) made a rehab start with Class A Brooklyn on Thursday, allowing three runs and three hits in two innings. He threw 36 pitches, 25 for strikes. ... SS Amed Rosario (bruised right index finger) missed his fourth straight game. ... 3B David Wright will begin range of motion exercises shortly after having surgery on his right rotator cuff on Tuesday.
Reds: LHP Amir Garrett (3-6, 7.41 ERA) will start Friday night in place of RHP Sal Romano, who was pushed back to Sunday because of a cut on his right index finger. Garrett played college basketball at nearby St. John's.
Mets: RHP Seth Lugo (5-4, 5.00 ERA) tries to win for the first time since July 25.