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Reds almost steal victory from Mets

NEW YORK (AP) — Billy Hamilton and the Cincinnati Reds almost stole a game from Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets.

Facing a pitcher who can throw over 100 mph, the Reds decided to show off their speed, too. They swiped five bases Monday night, but couldn’t compete with the Mets’ power and lost 5-3.

“You know it’s going to be a low-scoring game and these guys have been really good. A lot of them have the green light to pick the pitch that they feel that they can run on,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.

“We were just able to take some bags and create some scoring opportunities. Not able to take advantage of enough of them, but gave us that chance and against guys like this and some of the pitching we’re facing, we have to be aggressive on the bases,” he said.

The five steals, in fact, are more than the Mets have totaled in 18 games this season.

Neil Walker hit his seventh home run in 10 games, a tiebreaking two-run shot in the seventh inning that sent New York to its ninth straight win over the Reds dating to 2014.

Michael Conforto and Lucas Duda also homered for the suddenly homer-happy Mets, who won their fourth in a row overall. They returned to Citi Field after connecting 23 times on a three-city road trip.

New to the Mets this year, Walker connected for his eighth home run, the most he’s ever hit in a month, off J.C. Ramirez (0-1). The Reds have been tagged for a majors-high 37 homers this season.

“The home runs are up but the walks are up, too. I think one leads to the other,” Price said. “When you’re throwing a lot of pitches, hitters are seeing a lot of pitches, you’re spraying the ball in and out of the zone.”

Starting for the first time since Wednesday because of a bruised thumb, the quick Hamilton swiped two bases on consecutive pitches to set up the Reds’ first run.

Logan Verrett (2-0) relieved after Joey Votto’s RBI single in a two-run seventh tied it. Jeurys Familia closed for his sixth save in as many opportunities.

Cincinnati second baseman Brandon Phillips exited after being hit in the left ring finger by a pitch from Syndergaard in the fourth. X-rays were negative.

Moments earlier, Phillips fouled a ball hard off his shin. He said he hoped to play Tuesday.

“Probably the most painful at-bat I ever had in my career,” he said.

In the second inning, Phillips beat out an infield single, giving him a hit in all 33 road games he’s played against the Mets. It’s the longest road hitting streak by a player against the same opponent since Joe “Ducky” Medwick got hits in 46 straight games at Brooklyn from 1933-37, the Reds said in citing the Elias Sports Bureau.

Reds starter Raisel Iglesias pitched five innings, and his line included eight hits, seven strikeouts and a couple of emotional displays. He slammed his glove on the bench after Conforto’s homer, and shouted “no” and fired down the rosin bag following a late walk.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Reds: RHP Homer Bailey (elbow) is scheduled for a rehab start Tuesday for Double-A Pensacola.

HOLD ON

Price had an extended conversation with two umpires after the Reds batted in the second. He said the replay monitors on the Reds’ side weren’t working properly.

UP NEXT

Reds: LHP Brandon Finnegan (2-2, 3.74) faces the Mets for the first time in his career. He has made four starts this season and given up no more than four hits in three of them.

Mets: RHP Bartolo Colon (1-1, 2.89) has 219 career wins, tied with Pedro Martinez for the second most among players born in the Dominican Republic. Juan Marichal leads the list with 243.