Cueto, Reds top Mets for 6th win in row

NEW YORK (AP) — Brandon Phillips loves to fool

around in the field during batting practice, trying all sorts of “crazy”

stuff with his glove. It’s fun and besides, someday it might come in

handy.

As in the sixth inning

Sunday.

The star second baseman made a

between-the-legs flip to start a flashy double play and also hit a

tiebreaking single, leading Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds over

the New York Mets 3-1 for their sixth straight

win.

“It just happened,” the three-time Gold Glove

winner said. “It just came naturally.”

Naturally,

said Reds manager Dusty Baker.

“Anything you see him

do out there, he’s practiced,” Baker said. “Bare hand,

behind-the-back.”

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.

Cueto (8-3) overcame an early bout of

dizziness and 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 pitcher Chris Young — at 6-foot-10, the

Mets starter has a strike zone as large as anyone in the

majors.

Sean Marshall got four outs for his ninth

save in 10 chances.

It was 3-1 in the sixth when

Lucas 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 All-Star 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.

“I’d

probably give it an 8,” Phillips said.

Phillips’

single capped a three-run rally in the fifth, helped by Duda’s wild

throw from right. 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.

Phillips noted that the birds stayed on the

left side of the infield, closer to third baseman Miguel

Cairo.

“He had the pumpkin seeds,” Phillips said. As

for the squirrel, “I don’t like them. I don’t like things that can’t

talk.”

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.

The Mets lost their sixth straight game on

Father’s Day. Davis, whose dad, Ron, was a longtime pitcher in the

majors, scored New York’s only run when Young walked with two outs in

second.

Cincinnati outscored the Mets 14-5, right

after New York outscored pitching-rich Tampa Bay 29-9 while sweeping a

three-game series.

“We got outpitched, we got

outhit,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “They did exactly what we’ve

been doing, and that is they get the top of the order up with that

outstanding middle of the lineup they have to come in and drive in

runs.”

Cueto had been 0-3 lifetime against the Mets

and had consistently been hit hard by them. He allowed six hits and

walked one.

Cueto had gone 216 at-bats at the plate

with only singles until he crept up in the batter’s box and led off with

an opposite-field drive that bounced over the right-field wall in the

third. He was left stranded and then in the bottom of the inning, he

threw one pitch and needed a break.

Baker and a

trainer went to Cueto and eventually a cup was brought to give the

right-hander a drink. Cueto also got some medication for his

stomach.

After his double “my eyes were blurry,” he

said through a translator. “I was dizzy. I felt like I wanted to

drop.”

Cozart doubled with two outs in the fifth and

scored the tying run on a single by Wilson Valdez. Joey Votto was

intentionally walked and Phillips hit an RBI single, with another run

scoring when Duda’s throw to third bounced into the stands for an

error.

NOTES: A day after the Mets

put LF Jason Bay on the 7-day disabled list for concussions, Collins

said it was too early to predict his future. “I’m really worried about

the severity of this injury,” Collins said. “There’s always the

possibility that he doesn’t bounce back.” … Two-time Super Bowl MVP

Eli Manning threw out the first ball as part of a promotion to celebrate

Father’s Day. “I’d like to get up on the mound, toe the rubber, whip it

in there,” said the Giants QB and former high school 2B. Instead,

clutching 15-month-old daughter, Ava, in his left arm, he lobbed a toss

to Mets star David Wright from the grass. Manning said he took a few

warmups in the bullpen during his first trip to Citi Field. Asked

whether he preferred the Mets or Yankees, he smartly answered: “I’m a

New York fan.” … Mat Latos (5-2, 4.64 ERA) starts for the Reds on

Monday night at Cleveland vs. Derek Lowe. Baker and Lowe had a verbal

dustup a few days ago. … Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (10-1, 2.20) starts

for the Mets on Monday at home against Baltimore’s Jake

Arrieta.