Mets miss the big hit, get swept by Reds

Associated Press Modified: June 17, 2012 at 6:46 pm •  Published: June 17, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Young found plenty to like about his performance — seven pain-free innings against a first-place team.

Still, his first major league loss since 2009 left him disappointed

"Ultimately, it wasn't enough," he said.

Brandon Phillips hit a tiebreaking single and made a between-the-legs flip to start a flashy double play, leading Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds over the New York Mets 3-1 Sunday for their sixth straight win.

The NL Central leaders completed their first three-game sweep in New York since 2001 and matched their longest winning streak of the season. The Reds also finished 6-2 this year in visits to Citi Field and Yankee Stadium.

The Mets lost their fourth in a row at home. They were outscored 14-5 in the series, right after sweeping pitching-rich Tampa Bay and outscoring the Rays 29-9.

"We're sputtering a little bit offensively," David Wright said. "Our starting pitching hasn't been bad. We just haven't been able to get them any runs."

Cueto (8-3) struck out a season-high eight in seven innings. He also doubled for the first extra-base hit of his career.

The only run against Cueto came when he issued a bases-loaded walk to Young — at 6-foot-10, the Mets starter has a strike zone as large as anyone in the majors.

Young (1-1) gave up two earned runs in seven innings. His four-game winning streak, which began in 2010 and was prolonged by a series of injuries, came to an end.

"It's a good test for my shoulder," he said. "When I step back and look at things, I'm 13 months out of surgery and to be at this point ... is good."

Sean Marshall got four outs for his ninth save in 10 chances.

Phillips' single capped a three-run rally in the fifth, helped by right fielder Lucas Duda's wild throw. There was plenty of wildlife on the field, too — a squirrel scampered into the Reds' dugout in the ninth, and several pigeons spent part of the game wandering around the infield dirt.

It was 3-1 in the sixth when Duda led off with a single and Ike Davis followed with a hard grounder up the middle that Phillips backhanded. While in full stride, the three-time Gold Glove second baseman tossed the ball with his bare hand between his legs to shortstop Zack Cozart, who made the DP relay. Phillips broke into a big smile after his latest highlight-reel play.

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