NEW YORK -- Mike Leake threw seven shutout innings and combined with two relievers on a three-hitter and the Cincinnati Reds scored three unearned runs in the first inning Tuesday night as they beat the New York Mets 4-0 in front of an announced crowd of 23,183 at Citi Field.
The Reds (28-18) have won the first two games of the three-game series despite scoring in just four of the 18 innings. The Mets (17-26) have scored in just one inning of the series thus far.
Leake (4-2) has thrown 13 2/3 shutout innings over his last two starts in lowering his ERA to a season-best 2.89. But he was far more impressive Tuesday, when he allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out four, than he was in his last start against Miami last Wednesday, when he scattered nine hits and a walk in 6 2/3 innings.
Four of the five base runners Leake allowed on Tuesday got into scoring position, but the Mets were 0-for-4 with runners at second or third.
Sam LeCure and Logan Ondrusek finished up for the Reds with a scoreless inning of relief apiece.
Todd Frazier had two hits for the Reds, but his biggest contribution with the bat came with two outs and the bases loaded in the first inning, when his scorching one-hopper skipped under David Wright's legs as Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips raced home. Wright was charged with an error, his fourth of the season.
Devin Mesoraco drew a bases-loaded walk to cap the Reds' second straight three-run first inning and added a solo homer leading off the ninth.
Lucas Duda reached base twice, via a walk and a double, for the Mets, who scored three runs or fewer for the 12th time in their last 15 games.
Jonathon Niese survived a marathon first inning to last six innings for the Mets but was still saddled with the loss. He allowed five hits and three walks while striking out seven.
Niese threw 48 of his 106 pitches in the first inning before settling down. Only one Cincinnati player got into scoring position against Niese over his final five innings.
Niese needed just seven pitches to retire the first two batters of the first inning but ended up allowing three walks and two singles and throwing 48 pitches before he finally struck out Leake to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.
The Mets threatened in the fourth when John Buck's two-out double sent Duda -- who had drawn a one-out walk -- to third, but the struggling Ike Davis grounded out to first.
NOTES: RHP Zack Wheeler, the Mets' top prospect, is scheduled to start for Class AAA Las Vegas on Wednesday. Wheeler missed his last start due to shoulder inflammation. ... Mets ace Matt Harvey is scheduled to start Wednesday's series finale against the Reds' Mat Latos. Entering Tuesday, the Mets were 4-5 in the games prior to a Harvey start and 0-9 in the games immediately after. ... Reds SS Zack Cowart returned to the lineup after missing two games due to illness. ... OF Shin-Soo Choo got a rare night off against Niese. Choo, who entered Tuesday leading the National League in plate appearances and runs, played in 44 of the Reds' first 45 games.