CINCINNATI -- Aaron Harang wasn’t particularly sharp in his second visit to his old Cincinnati stomping grounds, but he did what all starting pitchers hope to do at the very least.
He kept his team in the game.
The former Red issued a season-high six walks, but the Reds managed to squeeze just two runs out of them, and Lucas Duda's 15th homer of the season -- tying the career high he set last season -- ensured that Harang escaped with a no-decision in his third start for the Mets.
Harang, who beat the Reds on July 5 in Cincinnati as a Mariner, also contributed offensively, reaching on an error and scoring an unearned run on Duda's sacrifice fly in the third inning after the Reds scored two in the second.
But the bullpen couldn’t overcome a couple of bad breaks in the 10th to make Harang’s effort stand up. Greg Burke (0-3) gave up a one-out single to Devin Mesoraco as third baseman David Wright couldn’t make a diving stop. Derrick Robinson followed with a chopper over Duda's head at first base, setting up Shin-Soo Choo’s game-winning RBI single off of left-hander Sean Henn in a 3-2 loss.
Rare visit: Harang scored the Mets' first run on Lucas Duda's sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. The run was Harang’s first since he scored for Los Angeles at Pittsburgh in a 5-4 Dodgers win on Aug. 13, 2012. He has scored nine runs in his 12-year career, only three of which he spent in the American League.
What’s next: Left-hander Jonathon Niese goes up against right-hander Mike Leake at 7:10 p.m. in the middle game of the three-set series. Leake (14-6, 3.21 ERA) is 2-1 with a stingy 1.31 ERA in five career appearances -- all of them starts -- against the Mets, including a 4-0 win on May 21 at Citi Field in which he allowed just three hits and two walks in seven innings.
Niese (7-8, 3.81) was the losing pitcher in that game, giving up three runs -- all in the first inning and unearned after a David Wright error -- to slip to 1-3 in five career games against the Reds. He earned his only win on July 26, 2011, despite allowing five runs and six hits in five innings.