CINCINNATI (AP) - First, the Reds said goodbye to a popular outfielder. Then they acted like their heads - and their gloves - weren't quite with it.
Jason Pridie put New York ahead with a two-run double, and the Mets took advantage of one of Cincinnati's worst defensive performances of the season, beating the Reds 8-6 on Tuesday.
The Mets scored six unearned runs off Johnny Cueto (6-4) with the help of three errors, matching the Reds' high for a game. Each misplay led to a pair of runs and helped the Mets beat the Reds' toughest starter.
``We kicked the ball around, especially early,' manager Dusty Baker said. ``That's very uncharacteristic of us.'
Jonathon Niese (10-8) went five innings for the win, which moved the Mets back above .500 at 52-51. The Reds fell three games under .500, matching their season low.
The Reds traded left fielder Jonny Gomes to Washington for two minor leaguers shortly before the start of the game, then had trouble getting going. Baker thinks there might have been a connection.
``Probably so,' he said. ``He was a big part of our family and a popular guy on the team. You can't always control the timing on something like that.'
Gomes was thankful that the Reds gave him a chance to revive his career in 2009, but was sad to leave.
``I'm bitter about leaving because I love these guys,' Gomes said, standing in a lobby outside the clubhouse. ``I love where this team's at, I love where they're about to go. But as we know, it's a business.'
David Wright continued his hitting surge since returning from a stress fracture in his lower back. The cleanup hitter had two more hits and drove in a run, improving to 10 for 24 with seven RBIs in his five games back.
Outfielder Carlos Beltran spent another day waiting to see if the Mets will trade him. He had an RBI single, walked, reached on an error and scored three times.
Niese gave up five runs in five innings, including Joey Votto's two-run homer that put the Reds ahead 5-4. Tim Byrdak fanned Jay Bruce to end it, getting his first save since 2007 with Detroit.
Gomes was supposed to start in left field - he's 3 for 7 career with a homer off Niese - but was scratched when the trade was completed shortly before the start. The Reds gave away Gomes bobbleheads three days earlier.
For the first three innings, the Reds beat themselves up. In one moment that summed it up, Jay Bruce hit a foul ball that bounced up and smacked him on the left side of the helmet.
A rested MVP provided their only shining moment.
Votto got a day out of the lineup in the series opener because he looked sluggish. His two-run homer - his first since the All-Star break - put the Reds up 5-4 in the fifth.
Niese, who became New York's first 10-game winner, inexplicably lost his control in the fifth, making it his final inning.
The Mets got it right back.
Third baseman Miguel Cairo's fielding error - Cincinnati's third overall - helped the Mets put two runners aboard in the sixth. Pridie's two-run double ended Cueto's performance. Forced to throw 110 pitches because of the inning-extending errors, Cueto had his streak of 11 straight quality starts snapped.
``I don't know what's wrong with our infield lately,' said second baseman Brandon Phillips, who had one of the errors. ``Balls are bouncing all over the place. Johnny did a good job tonight, and we didn't back him up.'
Cueto's ERA actually improved from 1.98 to 1.88 because all the runs were all unearned.
``That's something you can't control,' Cueto said, using a coach as a translator. ``It's part of the game. I was just trying to throw strikes and put the ball in play.'
Notes: Beltran said before the game that he has mixed feelings about the possibility of being traded to a contending team. ``If you look at it that way, yeah, it's exciting,' he said. ``At the same time, it's a little sad. I've been here seven years, and I've made a lot of friends. It's hard to let go of seven years just like that.' ... OF Angel Pagan had a pinch-hit single in the seventh. ... The Reds got minor league LH Chris Manno and OF Bill Rhinehart for Gomes. ... The Reds called up 1B/LF Yonder Alonso to take Gomes' place. He had a pinch-hit double in the sixth.
The Associated Press News Service
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