By John Schweibacher
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The Mets, who open a three-game set in Chicago against the world champion Cubs on Tuesday, have won back-to-back series for first time since the beginning of July.
New York's bid for a four-game sweep of Cincinnati came up short Sunday as its bullpen allowed eight runs over the final three innings in a 10-5 loss at Citi Field.
Mets relievers entered the game with a 1.67 ERA over their previous seven games and had posted a 3.08 ERA with 113 strikeouts since Aug. 8.
Prior to that defeat, the Mets had won four straight, including a 6-1 victory over the Reds on Saturday.
Rafael Montero won his third straight start, allowing one run and four hits, while striking out five, over five innings. Montero has had trouble with walks. He allowed four at Cincinnati on Aug. 30, five against visiting Philadelphia on Sept. 4, and five more in the win over the Reds on Saturday.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, three other Mets pitchers in club history have won three consecutive starts despite allowing at least four walks in each game. They are: Nolan Ryan (three consecutive starts in 1971), Ron Darling (two streaks of three games, one in 1984 and one in '85), and David Cone (five-game streak in 1992).
Jose Reyes hit two home runs and drove in three runs to lead the Mets to a 5-1 win over the Reds on Friday.
Reyes now has 101 career home runs with the Mets, 13th-most in club history. Only six home-grown players have hit more career homers for the Amazins':
-- Darryl Strawberry: 252
-- David Wright: 242
-- Lucas Duda: 125
-- Todd Hundley: 124
-- Edgardo Alfonzo: 120
-- Ed Kranepool: 118
Reyes, who is the franchise's all-time stolen base leader with 399, joined Strawberry, Wright, Howard Johnson and Carlos Beltran as the only players with at least 100 career homers and steals for the Mets.
Brandon Nimmo, making his second career start in the fourth spot in the batting order, hit two home runs in the Mets' 7-2 victory over the Reds on Thursday.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the blasts were the 34th and 35th by the cleanup hitter in the Mets' lineup this season, the second most in the National League behind Arizona (36).
Elias notes that eight different players have homered from the fourth spot in the batting order for the Mets this season, the most for any team:
-- Jay Bruce: 14
-- Wilmer Flores: 7
-- Neil Walker: 7
-- Michael Conforto: 2
-- Brandon Nimmo: 2
-- Yoenis Cespedes: 1
-- Travis d'Arnaud: 1
-- Lucas Duda: 1
The Mets beat the Phillies, 6-3, in a rain-shortened, six-inning affair on Wednesday to take two of three in the series.
Elias notes that the Mets are now 37-17 (.685) against Philadelphia since the start of the 2015 season, the third-highest winning percentage for one team against another over that span (minimum 25 games played). The Nationals are 36-15 (.706) against the Braves and the Cubs are 38-16 (.704) against the Reds since 2015.
The Phillies beat the Mets, 9-1, in the middle game of their series last Tuesday night at Citi Field.
Philadelphia starter Ben Lively hit a home run and drove in four runs, and earned the victory. It marked the eighth time in club history an opposing pitcher won a game, while hitting a homer and driving in four runs against the Mets:
-- 9/5/17: Ben Lively, Phi
-- 9/22/08: Jason Marquis, Chi
-- 7/7/06: Dontrelle Willis, Fla
-- 7/26/73: Bob Gibson, Stl
-- 9/16/72: Burt Hooton, Chi
-- 8/11/72: Milt Pappas, Chi
-- 6/16/66: Tony Cloninger, Atl
-- 8/2/62: Art Mahaffey, Phi
Happy Recap: New Guy. Nori Aoki is 10-for-33 (.303) with three doubles, five RBIs and six runs scored in his first eight games with the Mets.
Nine Miles of Rough Road: Sweepless. With the loss Sunday, the Mets have still not swept a home series this season (0-for-24).
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