The Cincinnati Reds hope to continue their sterling play on the road to get back in close contention in the NL Central. The Reds look to extend their season-high road winning streak to nine games when their three-game series against the New York Mets continues at Shea Stadium on Tuesday.
After completing its worst 10-game homestand (2-8) since 1950, Cincinnati (38-32) defeated the Mets 4-2 on Monday in the first game of its seven-game trip.
The Reds used an eight-game winning streak—seven of which came on the road — to move into first place in the NL Central on June 8, but they now trail first-place St. Louis by five games.
Cincinnati’s 21-13 road record is second in the NL to New York’s 23-12 mark. The Reds had a 10-game road winning streak as recently as last season, from July 27-Aug. 13.
Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 548th career home run on Monday to tie Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt for 11th all-time. The 36-year-old Griffey and his father, Ken Sr., have now combined for 700 major league homers.
“Which one am I prouder? Probably 700 with my dad,” said Griffey Jr., who combined with his father to hit back-to-back home runs when both played for the Seattle Mariners on Sept. 14, 1990. “Now I can say, `Happy Father’s Day—here you go.”’
Monday’s homer was Griffey’s 12th of the season, and he is batting .361 (26-for-72) with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 17 road games.
Elizardo Ramirez (2-5, 3.44 ERA) will look to build off the best start of his young career when he takes the mound for Cincinnati Tuesday.
The 23-year-old right-hander allowed five hits and struck out a career-high 10 in eight innings, but did not receive a decision in the Reds’ 3-0 11-inning win over Milwaukee on Wednesday.
“It was unbelievable,” said Ramirez, who has started 13 games over parts of three seasons. “Every inning, you had to concentrate. I never had a game like this in the minor leagues—zero, zero, zero. For me it was important to get the first hitter out every inning.”
Ramirez pitched a perfect inning of relief in his only appearance against the Mets (43-26), on May 25, 2004 when he played for Philadelphia.
After winning a season-high eight straight games, NL East-leading New York has lost three of its last four.
The Mets still own an 8 1/2 game lead over second-place Philadelphia, the largest divisional lead in the majors.
New York batted .267 in its first 64 games, but is batting just .224 (35-for-156) in its last five, with shortstop Jose Reyes accounting for nine of those hits.
Reyes, who went 2-for-4 on Monday, is batting .500 (15-for-30) with six doubles and 10 runs scored during a seven-game hitting streak.
Steve Trachsel looks to win his third straight decision for the first time in three years when he pitches Tuesday.
Trachsel (4-4, 4.81) allowed four runs and six hits in six innings of a 5-4 win over Philadelphia on Thursday. He has not won three straight decisions since winning four in a row from Aug. 7-23, 2003.
The 14-year veteran is 8-4 with a 5.29 ERA in 17 career starts against the Reds, but has not faced them since July 27, 2003.