NEW YORK -- Back at Citi Field, where they have enjoyed a lopsided percentage of their success this season, the recently reeling Mets breezed to a second straight victory behind Noah Syndergaard's best game as a big leaguer. Syndergaard fired a career-high eight innings of one-run ball on Friday, Curtis Granderson hit his fourth homer in 17 at-bats and Lucas Duda drew a go-ahead bases-loaded walk to lead the Mets to a 2-1 win over the Reds.
"Without a question," Mets manager Terry Collins said when asked if Syndergaard's third win came in his best game as a pro. "And against a very, very good lineup. Very, very good outing."
Though Johnny Cueto gave the Reds six quality innings of his own, he tied his season high with three walks -- including the one that forced home the go-ahead run. Due to concerns over his right elbow, Cueto was pitching on eight days' rest for the Reds, who have their own pronounced home/road issues: a 20-14 (.588) record at Great American Ball Park and 14-24 (.368) elsewhere.
But the Mets have taken that sort of thing to an extreme and Syndergaard has been the poster child, improving to 3-1 with a 1.89 ERA at home, versus 0-3 with a 6.52 mark on the road. They are now 27-11 (.711) at Citi Field compared to 11-26 (.297) everywhere else. Averaging more than four runs per game in Flushing but fewer than three per contest on the road, they boast lopsided splits in nearly every major offensive and pitching category.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Thor wields his hammer: Clutching a one-run lead, Syndergaard ran into one of his only patches of trouble after Chris Dominguez singled to lead off the eighth and Dilson Herrera bobbled a would-be double play ball, putting the potential tying run in scoring position with one out. But Syndergaard induced a groundout and a popup to end the inning. He did not come back out for the ninth despite just 89 pitches, with Collins preferring to use closer Jeurys Familia in a one-run game. More >
Walk, walk, walk, run: Few pitchers have a better history of control than Cueto, who entered the night 10th in baseball in walk rate. But Cincinnati's ace momentarily lost his ability to throw strikes in the fifth inning, walking three consecutive batters after Herrera's two-out triple. Duda drew the last of those free passes to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.
"You know, things happen," Cueto said via translator Tomas Vera. "I was too careful during that inning. I didn't want to leave the ball over the middle, I was trying to trick them. I didn't want them to get a home run or anything or a big hit that would cost me more than inning." More >
Leadoff blast: Granderson opened the bottom of the first inning with a home run off Cueto, his fourth blast in a 17-at-bat span dating back to Saturday. Despite holding a lead for most of the night, the Mets would not record another hit until the fifth. More >
He loves New York: When Brandon Phillips hit a one-out single in the third inning, it gave him hits in all 30 career road games vs. the Mets, including each of the 20 games he's played at Citi Field. Phillips stole second and third base but was left stranded by Syndergaard.
"I don't make that decision, that's not my call. I'm always going to continue working and help the team, and they will make the decisions they have to make." -- Cueto, when asked if he hoped the club would improve enough so that he is not moved before the Trade Deadline
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS Joey Votto went 0-for-4 in the game, which ended his season-high streak of reaching base safely at 32 games. His streak began May 20 and was the longest active one in the Major Leagues.
Mets pitchers have allowed one run in their last 20 innings.
WHAT'S NEXT Reds: Rookie Michael Lorenzen will be pitching for the first time in New York when he takes the mound Saturday at 4:10 p.m. ET vs. the Mets. Over his last two starts, Lorenzen has allowed three earned runs over 13 innings. He has quality starts in six of his nine outings this season.
Mets:Matt Harvey puts his All-Star credentials on the line when the Mets and Reds continue their series at Citi Field. Unlike teammates Jacob deGrom and Jeurys Familia, who are both all but locks to play in next month's Midsummer Classic in Cincinnati, Harvey is on the bubble -- but owns a 0.66 ERA in his last two starts.