NEW YORK -- Mets historians will not easily forget what the team did in Cincinnati last September, clinching its first National League East title in nine years on Southwest Ohio turf. But that has hardly been the extent of the Mets' supremacy over the Reds in recent years.
The Mets extended their dominance with an 11th straight win over the Reds on Wednesday, riding Neil Walker's Major League-leading ninth homer to a 5-2 win and a three-game sweep at Citi Field. The Mets have won six consecutive games, while Cincinnati has lost six of its last seven contests.
"We're playing good baseball," Walker said. "Two sweeps in a row, we're doing pretty well. We're swinging the bats pretty well. Our pitchers are throwing the ball well. We're closing out games. It's kind of what we thought."
Walker's solo shot off Reds starter Jon Moscot accounted for one-third of the support the Mets gave Matt Harvey, who improved to 2-3 with six innings of two-run ball. Harvey allowed a Zack Cozart homer and a Eugenio Suarez RBI single, but otherwise skated in and out of trouble all night.
Though Moscot largely did the same, the Reds committed three errors behind him to the tune of two unearned runs. After Michael Conforto put them away with a late two-run double, the Reds fell to 1-8 on the road, losing for the 16th time in their last 18 games against the Mets.
"I fell behind, 2-0. I tried to throw a sinker down and away, it got too much plate and the guy is on fire right now," Moscot said of Walker.
With regular closer Jeurys Familia unavailable after three straight appearances, Addison Reed locked down the final three outs for his first save of the season, and his second as a Met.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED To the nines: When Walker's third-inning homer landed beyond the left-center-field fence, the second baseman tied Washington's Bryce Harper and Colorado's Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story for the Major League lead. His ninth home run of April also matched Dave Kingman, Carlos Delgado and John Buck for the most in the season's first month in Mets history, extending Walker's own personal career high. More >
Harvey danger: Once again, nothing came easy for Harvey, who put multiple runners on base in three of his six innings. But Harvey made pitches when he needed to. In the first inning, after a Cozart homer, a single and a Lucas Duda error, Harvey struck out the next three batters en route to five straight whiffs. In the fifth, he induced an inning-ending double play from Devin Mesoraco to cut short a promising Reds rally. More >
"It was big," Harvey said. "Overall, I was able to stay in my mechanics a little bit better and kind of attack the hitters like I normally would, and want to. At times I got out of it, but definitely working in the right direction."
Leading it off: Cozart gave the Reds a quick 1-0 lead when he pulled Harvey's 2-1 pitch into the left-field seats for a leadoff homer. It was Cozart's second homer of the season and his fifth career leadoff homer -- his first since June 29, 2012, vs. the Giants. Cozart has also hit safely in 15 of his 16 games this season and is batting .397.
Walks killing Reds: The Reds are second in the Majors in walks allowed this season, and manager Bryan Price could not hide his irritation about some key walks during the loss. In the sixth, reliever Blake Wood issued back-to-back one-out walks, with both runners scoring on Conforto's double to the wall in left field against Drew Hayes.
"It's just insufferable at this time to watch it," Price said. "The big thing is we have to get healthy because we have to create options for ourselves. We have to get these guys who are on the DL off the DL. We have to create more moving pieces that are available to us, so when somebody needs to go to the Minor Leagues because they're struggling, that's what the Minor Leagues are there for. … We need to make some changes I think at this point."
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Mets' 11-game winning streak against the Reds is tied for their second longest vs. any team in franchise history. The Mets beat the Pirates 15 straight times from 1986-87.
REDS ROSTER MOVE
After the game, the Reds optioned reliever Layne Somsen back to Triple-A Louisville to make room for the return of right fielder Jay Bruce. Somsen received his first big league callup Monday when Bruce went on three-day paternity leave, but did not get into any games. For most of the series, Cincinnati was without both Bruce and Brandon Phillips, who was out with a sore left shin and left ring finger from a Monday plate appearance. Phillips is expected back on Friday in Pittsburgh as well.
"Two everyday players that hit four and five," Price said. "It doesn't help not having them. But that's baseball. Baseball is dealing with your environment, and we've got to deal with it better. Granted, we faced three really good starting pitchers. But those first two games, those were winnable games for us."
WHAT'S NEXT Reds: Following a day off on Thursday, the road trip continues on Friday in Pittsburgh with the series opener vs. the Pirates at 7:05 p.m. ET. Bruce is due back from paternity leave and Dan Straily is the scheduled starting pitcher for Cincinnati.
Mets: A three-game series with the Giants awaits the Mets at Citi Field following an off-day Thursday. Rookie Steven Matz will oppose 15-year veteran Jake Peavy in Friday's opener at 7:10 p.m. ET, which should also feature the return of Yoenis Cespedes to the Mets' starting lineup. Cespedes has not started a game since last Friday due to a badly bruised right leg.