NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Bassitt scattered eight hits over eight innings and Starling Marte hit a two-run homer in the first, leading the New York Mets to a 5-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.
With their 13th victory in 15 games, the Mets extended their NL East lead to seven games over idle Atlanta. New York just took four of five from the defending World Series champions at Citi Field last weekend.
Bassitt (9-7) allowed an unearned run and walked one while striking out eight in his second eight-inning outing this season and fifth in 114 career starts. He threw 114 pitches before getting pulled by manager Buck Showalter, most by a Mets starter this year and two shy of his career high set in August 2019.
“I want to go 115 or 120 pitches every start,” Bassitt said before grinning. “But Buck don’t let me.”
Bassitt has thrown at least 100 pitches in a start 25 times since the beginning of 2019.
“I’ve done that for years. BoMel (ex-Athletics manager Bob Melvin) did that with me in Oakland and I think genuinely that’s why they brought me over here, for just that reason,” Bassitt said. “I’m not afraid to go over 100 pitches and it really doesn’t affect me.”
Bassitt’s five-pitch assortment included a mid-90s (mph) fastball and a low-70s curveball. He faced the minimum through three innings before wriggling out of trouble the rest of the night. The Reds scored in the fourth, when he induced three fielder’s choice groundouts — all from second baseman Jeff McNeil to shortstop Francisco Lindor.
The right-hander began a 1-6-3 double play to end the fifth and left the bases loaded in the sixth, when he got Aristides Aquino to line out.
“Give him a lot of credit. It’s like you get something going and because of all that, he knows how to get out of it,” Reds manager David Bell said.
Cincinnati stranded two more in the seventh before Jake Fraley was left at first in the eighth, when Bassitt struck out Aquino on three pitches following a visit from pitching coach Jeremy Hefner.
“Just moxie — he’s such a competitive guy,” Showalter said. “Just a guy that likes to compete and do what is expected of him.”
The Mets struck quickly against Reds starter and former New York prospect Justin Dunn (0-1), who was pitching in the majors for the first time since June 17, 2021. Leadoff batter Brandon Nimmo was hit by Dunn’s fourth pitch and Marte homered well into the left-field seats two pitches later.
Six of Marte’s 12 homers this season have come in the first inning. He is batting .315 with 10 home runs and 36 RBIs since May 1.
“Once I found out Starling’s a guy you just kind of left in a spot in the lineup and a spot on the field and let him have that peace of mind, he kind of took off for us,” Showalter said.
Daniel Vogelbach had an RBI single in the fourth and ex-Reds outfielder Tyler Naquin added a two-run triple in the eighth. Naquin was acquired from Cincinnati in a July 28 trade.
Joey Votto had the fourth-inning RBI for the Reds. Fraley and Jose Barrero got two hits apiece.
Dunn allowed three runs on five hits and two walks while striking out two in 4 2/3 innings. It was the first time he pitched against the Mets, who selected him out of Boston College in the first round of the 2016 draft and traded him to Seattle along with touted prospect Jarred Kelenic in the blockbuster deal that sent Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz to New York in December 2018.
Naquin, who spent 1 1/2 seasons with the Reds, exchanged hugs with former teammates and Cincinnati staff members a few hours before first pitch.
HIGHLIGHTS AT 11
McNeil singled to extend his hitting streak to 11 games. Lindor has scored in 11 consecutive games — the longest streak of his career and best ever by a Mets shortstop.
Reds: 2B Jonathan India (right hamstring) and 3B Mike Moustakas (left calf) both exited after the top of the fourth. Bell said the Reds would have more information on the two players Tuesday. … Moustakas was originally penciled in as the DH but made his first start at the hot corner since June 13 when INF Kyle Farmer was scratched about 90 minutes before first pitch due to a stiff neck. Donovan Solano was slotted in at DH. Bell said Farmer is day-to-day. … To make room for Dunn, the Reds placed RHP Robert Dugger (right shoulder) on the 15-day injured list, retroactive to Saturday.
Mets: 1B Dominic Smith (right ankle) remains with Triple-A Syracuse, which was off Monday night. Showalter said Smith is a couple of games away from potentially being activated.
MOVIN’ ON UP
The Mets promoted highly rated 3B prospect Brett Baty from Double-A Binghamton to Triple-A Syracuse.
Reds: LHP Mike Minor (1-8, 6.19 ERA) is 0-6 with a 5.79 ERA in his last eight starts dating to June 19.
Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (12-4) is 4-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his past six starts, lowering his ERA from 4.85 to 3.82.
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