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Reds' Simon sharp in 1st start in 2 years

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 6, 2014 at 4:38 pm •  Published: April 6, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — Alfredo Simon making his first start in more than two years. Manny Parra stepping into the closer's spot.

Turns out, all the Cincinnati Reds needed for a win in New York was a little role reversal.

Simon pitched seven impressive innings and began the go-ahead rally with his second career hit and Parra got the final six outs for his first career save, helping the Reds beat the Mets 2-1 Sunday to salvage a win in the three-game series.

"At the end of the game I didn't even really know what to do," Parra said. "It was awesome."

Joey Votto had a sacrifice fly and Ryan Ludwick a tiebreaking single off Jonathon Niese (0-1), who was making his first start of the season after a being slowed by shoulder and elbow injuries this spring.

Simon (1-0) made 99 relief appearances for the Reds since his previous start, on Sept. 28, 2011, for Baltimore, but manager Bryan Price tapped the right-hander because Mat Latos is rehabbing from knee and elbow operations.

Price said Simon is one of the most durable guys on the staff and had no problem letting him go deep into the game. He lifted Simon for the left-handed Parra to start the eighth after allowing just four hits and throwing 79 pitches.

"I was thinking I was a starter before and this is a good opportunity for me, and I tried to show the best I can," Simon said after his 20th career start. "Everything worked."

Parra made 74 starts for the Brewers before switching to relief work in 2010. He retired all six batters he faced, pitching the ninth instead of J.J. Hoover, who gave up Ike Davis' walkoff grand slam Saturday.

Parra struck out Davis to end the Reds' second win of the season then stood atop the mound for a moment before pounding his glove and walking toward catcher Brayan Pena.

"Can't ask for any more for Simon and Manny Parra," Price said.

Niese was nearly as effective in his debut, allowing six hits and two runs in 5 2-3 innings in front of dozens of dogs at Citi Field on Bark in the Park day.

"I feel good, felt like the ball was coming out of my hand pretty well, obviously didn't have any pain," Niese said.

The Mets, though, wasted an opportunity to complete a sweep ahead of a nine-game road trip that begins in Atlanta on Tuesday. The Mets finished their first homestand of the season 2-4.

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