CINCINNATI (AP) — The Reds ended New York’s domination in Cincinnati with an emphatic win and a feel-good moment — Joey Votto giving a bat and a jersey to a young cancer patient. The Mets then headed for flood-ravaged Houston and a day off to help out.
Scooter Gennett drove in three runs with a homer and a double off Jacob deGrom in a 7-2 victory Thursday that gave Cincinnati two of three in the series. Heading in, New York had won 14 straight games against Cincinnati, including eight in a row at Great American Ball Park.
The Reds finished August with a 15-14 mark, their first winning month since July of last year.
“That may seem like a small thing to most people, but it means a lot to us,” manager Bryan Price said.
Votto hit a solo shot in the seventh. After rounding the bases, Votto gave a bat and jersey to a 6-year-old boy he met at the ballpark last week through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Walter Herbert sat next to the dugout and wore a blue shirt that said: “BE KIND.”
“We did not expect that,” Walter’s mom, Emily , said in an interview. “We thought he’d say hi when he recognized him. We were very surprised he went all out.”
Votto declined to talk about his gesture after the game. Told that the family was thrilled, Votto said, “Well, that’s what’s important.”
The Mets will help bring baseball back to Houston this weekend, playing a doubleheader on Saturday against the Astros. They’ll have Friday off, providing a chance to help recovery efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
“One of the things we talked about yesterday as a team: It’s not a publicity stunt,” manager Terry Collins said. “We don’t want any cameras. We just want to go and help out. The stuff that these guys are going to do and that I’m going to do is pretty much an individual thing. We’ll just see what we can do when we get there.”
Players are curious about what awaits.
“I’ve been through hurricanes before but nothing that severe, so I don’t know what to expect,” deGrom said.
Gennett hit a two-run homer in the second inning and doubled home a run in the fifth off deGrom (14-8), who was trying to become a 15-game winner for the first time in his career. Shortstop Jose Reyes’ throwing error let in another run.
Robert Stephenson (3-4) won his third straight start by allowing two runs and five hits in six innings, including Brandon Nimmo’s RBI infield single off the pitcher’s hip. Stephenson was coming off an 11-strikeout, 9-5 win over the Pirates on Friday. He fanned seven Mets and walked three.
DeGrom’s 14 wins match his career high from 2015. His five strikeouts on Thursday gave him a career-high 206, one more than in 2015.
The Mets are 19-28 since the All-Star break. The Reds are 18-28.
New York leads the NL with 193 homers but failed to hit one during the series. The Mets scored a total of eight runs in the three games.
Mets: David Wright is getting re-examined by doctors in New York before he decides what to do next. Wright had neck surgery last year and hasn’t fully recovered. His shoulder bothered him on a rehab assignment over the weekend, leading him to put the comeback on hold.
Reds: C Tucker Barnhart went on the 3-day paternity list. C Chad Wallach was called up from Triple-A Louisville.
Mets: After the day off, they’ll play a doubleheader against the Astros. Matt Harvey (4-3) starts the opener, making his comeback from a shoulder injury that has sidelined him since mid-June. Seth Lugo (5-3) starts the second game.
Reds: Cincinnati opens a series in Pittsburgh, with Luis Castillo (2-7) facing Gerrit Cole (11-8). Cole got his first career victory over the Reds last Saturday, hitting his third career homer off Castillo and going seven innings for a 1-0 victory at Great American Ball Park.