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Sunday, April 6, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Reds 2, Mets 1

By Kieran Darcy

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets had a chance to sweep the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday and get back to .500, but they failed to get the job done.

Jonathon Niese was pretty good in his 2014 debut, but still took the loss. Ike Davis doubled and scored, but that was the Mets' only run. And Travis d'Arnaud is still hitless on the season.

A 2-4 record after your opening homestand? Not a good sign.

Better late than never: Niese was scheduled to start Opening Day before having a cortisone shot due to elbow inflammation. He looked healthy Sunday, with his fastball consistently in the low 90s.

In fact, Niese held the Reds scoreless through five innings, limiting them to just a pair of singles.

But he gave up three straight singles in the top of the sixth to load the bases. Joey Votto drove home Cincinnati's first run with a sacrifice fly, and Ryan Ludwick knocked in a second with yet another single.

Niese went 5 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on six hits (all singles). He threw 90 pitches -- near his limit for the day -- striking out four and walking one.

First-base race: Davis got the start at first base Sunday, a day after his pinch-hit walkoff grand slam, and went 2-for-4. He doubled in the second inning, and was driven home on a Juan Lagares single.

Lucas Duda pinch-hit to lead off the bottom of the eighth, and grounded out.

As for the rest: The Mets had just four hits on the day -- Davis' double and single, Lagares' single, and Eric Young Jr.'s double in the third inning.

Cincinnati starter Alfredo Simon went seven innings, firing a fastball in the mid-90s, and Manny Parra pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth.

Bad news: The Mets' young catcher, d'Arnaud, went 0-3, and is now 0-for-15 on the season. He drove a ball to the warning track in left in the seventh inning with a runner aboard, but it didn't quite go out. He did throw out a runner attempting to steal second, but also had a miscommunication with Davis on a pop-up in foul territory.

Curtis Granderson went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. Granderson is now hitting .167 on the season, with eight K's.

Bright side: Gonzalez Germen, Kyle Farnsworth and Jose Valverde combined for 3 1/3 scoreless innnings out of the bullpen.

What's next: A three-game series in Atlanta, beginning Tuesday. It'll be Bartolo Colon (0-1, 4.50) versus Aaron Harang (1-0, 0.00) in the Braves' home opener, first pitch at 7:10 p.m.