CINCINNATI — All the Mets needed to snap out of their collective offensive malaise was a trip to the hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park and a date with the Reds, who have the worst team ERA in baseball.
An opposing starter named Homer didn’t hurt, either.
The Mets blasted four long balls and held on for a 7-6 win Monday night against the Reds and righthander Homer Bailey, ending a six-game losing streak that consumed an entire homestand last week.
The lineup needed a game like this.
“Awfully bad,” Mets manager Mickey Callaway said with a laugh. “No, they did. To come out swinging like we did, scoring in [five] consecutive innings was just really good.”
With at least one run in each of the first five frames, the Mets received significant offensive contributions from several hitters whose recent results had been lackluster.
Michael Conforto, fresh off consecutive days on the bench, hit a leadoff home run in his 2-for-5 night. His long ball was his first since his season debut, April 5 in Washington.
“That felt good, just to feel the barrel a little bit, see the ball go and jog around the bases,” Conforto said of his first hit in a week and first extra-base hit in three weeks.
Adrian Gonzalez, whose lack of production led the Mets to play Jay Bruce at first base once last week and possibly more in the future, went 3-for-4 with two homers and three runs scored. It was his first multi-homer game since Aug. 22, 2016, for the Dodgers, also in Cincinnati.
He has three career multi-homer games at Great American Ball Park, all of them started by Bailey (six runs, four innings).
“This is one of those parks that you feel good coming into,” Gonzalez said. “You know all you need to do is barrel the ball. So you look for something thigh-high, up in the zone that you can get up in the air. It’s definitely a confidence booster.”
Bruce went 2-for-3 with a home run and a pair of walks, and Amed Rosario went 2-for-3 and had a pair of doubles. Yoenis Cespedes had a pair of hits a day after he exited with right quadriceps discomfort.
Much of that was in support of lefthander P.J. Conlon, who lasted 3 2⁄3 innings and allowed three runs in his major-league debut, the first appearance by an Ireland-born player since 1945 (Joe Cleary, Washington Senators). Conlon was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and his family moved to California when he was 2.
Conlon, 24 and starting in place of Jacob deGrom (hyperextended right elbow), mostly cruised through the first three innings, but a home run by Billy Hamilton in the third was the start of his slide.
The Reds chased him with three doubles and a walk in the fourth inning. Conlon also collected his first big-league hit, a bouncer up the middle for a single. He said he jammed his thumb on that swing, which caused him to lose his feel for the ball in the fourth.
Conlon’s fastball sat in the mid-80s, so slow that MLB’s pitch-reading technology categorized them as changeups.
“He threw the ball great,” Callaway said. “Kind of what we talked about before the game. Wasn’t afraid to pitch in off the plate to set up his offspeed stuff. I thought he would have on pitching pretty well, but he kind of jammed his thumb.”
Callaway chose Paul Sewald (two runs, 1 2⁄3 innings) and Robert Gsellman (one run, 2 2⁄3 innings) to bridge the gap until closer Jeurys Familia could finish it.
“When we put those guys [Gsellman and Seth Lugo] in the pen, that’s exactly what we envisioned,” Callaway said. “That’s a heck of a job in a very close game. That was really good. We need more of those.”