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Simon stymies Mets to help Reds avoid sweep

Alfredo Simon was stellar in his first start since 2011.
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

A day after the Mets hit a walk-off grand slam, Alfredo Simon cooled the bats of the home team at Citi Field and Ryan Ludwick hit a go ahead single in the sixth to help the Reds avoid a three-game sweep, with a 2-1 victory on Sunday.

Simon (1-0) made his first since 2011 when he made 16 for the Baltimore Orioles. He allowed just one run in seven innings while striking out six and allowing just four hits and one walk. The start is expected to be his only scheduled with Mat Latos penciled in to pitch against the Pirates on April 15. Jonathan Niese (0-1) was equally effective, but was derailed by the sixth inning. Niese faced just three hitters four times in the 5.2 innings he pitched.

The two teams went down in order in the first inning, but each team had a chance to score in the second. Brayan Pena stranded Jay Bruce at third while Juan Lagares put the Mets (2-4) on the board when he singled home Saturday's hero, Ike Davis.

Both squads went in order from the third until the sixth inning with the exception of the bottom of the third. With runners at second and third and one out, Simon settled in and struck out Daniel Murphy and David Wright to end the threat.

In the sixth the Reds (2-4) manufactured some runs thanks to Simon. The former American League pitcher picked up his second career hit to leadoff the inning. Simon moved station to station on singles by Chris Heisey and Brandon Phillips before scoring on a sac fly by Joey Votto. Heisey came in to score the go ahead run on Ludwick single. Gonzalez Germen came on in relief of Niese and walked the bases loaded, but got Zack Cozart to ground out and end the inning.

Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde pitched scoreless innings to keep the Mets in the game, but Manny Parra, a former starter, notched his first career save with two scoreless innings. He finished the game off with a swinging struck out by Davis, who could not be the hero on Sunday.

The Reds road trip continues Monday as they face a familiar opponent when they travel to St. Louis (3-3) for a three-game series. Cincinnati scored seven runs in the opening series and the two teams played in back-to-back 1-0 games before the Cardinals won a 7-6 game on Thursday.

The Redbirds got a taste of their own medicine in Pittsburgh (4-2) as they dropped two of three including a 12-2 thumping at the hands of the Pirates on Friday. Monday's contest will be a rematch of Wednesday's 1-0 Cincinnati victory. Tony Cingrani went seven and struck out nine while Michael Wacha tossed 6.2 scoreless with seven strikeouts. First pitch is set for 4:15 p.m.