NEW YORK — Mets rookie Travis Taijeron played almost 800 minor league games over seven seasons, hitting 135 home runs along the way.
The 28-year-old outfielder clubbed his first big league round-tripper on Friday night, a moment he won’t soon forget.
Jose Reyes homered twice, Seth Lugo pitched six shutout innings and New York beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-1 for its third straight win. Taijeron got the Mets started when he led off the second with a solo shot.
“I think it’s really cool. I think it’s one of the coolest things in sports,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “I salute the fact that those guys get opportunities and I think it’s great that he comes up here and hits a homer, because no matter what he ever does the rest of his life, he’s hit a home run in the big leagues and not too many guys have.”
Taijeron had been struggling since his Aug. 26 debut, going 2 for 19 and striking out 12 times. The home run also resulted in his first RBI.
“It felt really good,” Taijeron said. “It’s a good feeling always, the first one, and hopefully more to come.”
New York, which leads the National League in homers, has won 17 of its last 19 games against the Reds — including eight straight at Citi Field.
Reyes lined rookie starter Amir Garrett’s 0-2 slider into the left-field seats in the fifth, scoring Lugo and giving New York a 4-0 lead. Reyes also clubbed a solo shot in the third, becoming the 13th player to hit 100 homers in a Mets uniform.
“The last one that he hit, I’ve got to tip my cap to him,” Garrett said. “Watching video, I don’t know how he got that. It was low, it was off the plate, he went down there and he got it.”
Over his last 15 games, Reyes is batting .385 with four doubles, three homers and eight RBIs.
“Just seeing the ball good and getting good pitches to hit,” he said. “That’s been the difference.”
Lugo (6-4) allowed four hits, struck out four and walked one in his first win since July 25.
“I had a game plan going in, started a couple guys off slow,” Lugo said. “It felt good, but the fastball was working so I stuck with that most of the game.”
The right-hander escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth. He struck out Eugenio Suarez before Scott Schebler sent a hard-hit grounder to the right side. Second baseman Gavin Cecchini made a nifty stop to end the only serious threat the Reds mounted against Lugo.
Cincinnati loaded the bases in the ninth against Jerry Blevins, but closer A.J. Ramos got two outs for his 27th save on the year and seventh with the Mets. He permitted just pinch-hitter Zack Cozart’s sacrifice fly.
Back in Queens where he once played college basketball for nearby St. John’s, Garrett (3-7) was hurt by the long ball yet again in his first big league start since being demoted to the minors in June.
Charged with four runs and five hits over five innings, Garrett has allowed 22 homers in 63 1/3 innings.
The Mets scored an unearned run in the sixth, when second baseman Scooter Gennett’s errant throw home with the bases full allowed Travis d’Arnaud to cross the plate.
The Mets selected the contract of infielder Phillip Evans from Triple-A Las Vegas. He made his major league debut as a pinch-hitter in the sixth, lining into a double play. To make room on the 40-man roster, New York transferred LHP Steven Matz to the 60-day DL.
Taijeron’s home run ball was on display in his locker, safe inside a clear display case with a label that bore the date and opponent’s name. “It’s a memorable moment, so it’s really cool I got the ball and all that,” Taijeron said.
Reds: RHP Anthony DeSclafani (UCL sprain in right elbow) threw approximately 60-65 pitches between a bullpen session and live batting practice. He may do that again when the club visits St. Louis, raising the pitch count next time. … RF Jesse Winker (strained left hip flexor) fielded balls in the outfield and could run the bases Saturday. If all goes well, it’s probable that he will be activated Tuesday. … LHP Wandy Peralta (right hip) was set to stretch and perform some other warmup exercises, after which he might be cleared to play catch.
Mets: 3B Asdrubal Cabrera left Thursday’s game with discomfort in his left glute and underwent an MRI on Friday. He could be available as soon as Saturday, according to Collins. … RHP Noah Syndergaard (torn right lat) threw 36 pitches in a rehab appearance with Class A Brooklyn on Thursday and will throw 50 pitches in a simulated game on a date to be determined. … Amed Rosario (bruised right index finger) was scheduled to throw on Friday and hit Saturday, Collins said. The rookie shortstop has missed five consecutive games.
Reds: RHP Homer Bailey (4-7, 7.24 ERA) faces the Mets for the second time in less than two weeks. He took the loss on Aug. 30 despite pitching six innings of two-run ball.
Mets: RHP Rafael Montero (4-9, 5.21) was the main reason for that loss, shutting out Cincinnati over a career-high 8 1/3 innings. He will attempt to win his third straight.