CINCINNATI - Robert Stephenson pitched well but Bartolo Colon pitched better.
The Reds rookie struck out nine in 5 1/3 innings but gave up two solo homers and lost 5-0 to the Mets Monday afternoon.
Stephenson (2-1) held the Mets to two runs and six hits, but fell short in his bid to become the first Cincinnati pitcher since Wayne Simpson in 1970 to win each of his first three major league starts.
The 23-year-old Stephenson, who beat Philadelphia and Colorado in a pair of spot starts in April but pitched poorly at AAA Louisville, said he feels less pressure in the majors than he did in the minor leagues.
“It’s just confidence,” he said. “I’m not trying to get back to this level. I’m already here. Now I’m just trying to have fun.”
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Colon (13-7) pitched six innings of five-hit ball and Matt Reynolds and Kelly Johnson provided the home runs.
Jay Bruce went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his first game in Cincinnati since the Reds traded him to the Mets on Aug. 1.
Colon improved to 4-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his last seven starts. The Reds put a runner on third with nobody out on two occasions, and Colon wiggled out of the jam each time. It was New York’s 12th straight victory over Cincinnati.
The Mets began the day just one game back of St. Louis for the second NL wild card.
METS LIKE GABP
The Mets have hit 18 home runs in their last 11 games at Great American Ball Park and 185 overall this season for their best total since the 2006 team set the franchise record with 200.
The Reds honored Bruce and his wife, Hannah, in a pregame ceremony for his contributions to the team on the field and the couple’s work in the community during his nearly nine seasons with Cincinnati.
New York’s Wilmer Flores was thrown out by left fielder Adam Duvall trying to stretch hits in each of his first two at bats, at second in the first inning and at third in the fourth. Duvall is the first Cincinnati outfielder with two assists in one game since Bruce on Aug. 5, 2014, at Cleveland, according to the Reds.
After tying their season high by hitting into four double plays in a 5-2 loss to St. Louis on Sunday, the Reds hit into double plays in each of the first two innings on Monday against the Mets.
Reds: 2B Brandon Phillips returned to the starting lineup after being scratched each of the previous two days with a sore left foot.
Mets RHP Rafael Montero (0-0) and Reds LHP Brandon Finnegan (8-10) are scheduled to start on Tuesday. Finnegan has limited opposing batters to a .132 average (9 for 68) over his last three starts.
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