Rafael Montero struck out four in five innings, allowing six hits and four runs for Triple-A Las Vegas on Thursday in his final tune up before a spot start for the Mets on Tuesday in Miami.
Montero, who began the season in the big league bullpen but was sent down to the minors to be stretched back into a starter, threw 48 of his 74 pitches for strikes in the 51s' 8-7 win over Reno.
After giving up a leadoff home run to Mike Freeman in the bottom of the first, Montero retired nine straight, and Las Vegas took a 6-1 lead heading to the bottom of the fourth. But Montero allowed three runs and five hits in the inning, including a triple by former Yankees prospect Peter O'Brien, before a double play ended Reno's rally. Montero pitched a perfect fifth, and John Church replaced him in the sixth.
Montero also was 2-for-3 with an RBI for Las Vegas (7-8).
Second baseman Dilson Herrera was 2-for-5 with a walk, raising his average to .367 and his on-base percentage to .400. Catcher Johnny Monell was 3-for-4 with a home run and a walk, rightfielder Travis Taijeron went 3-for-5 with a home run and first baseman Brandon Allen was 2-for-3 with two walks and a double.
Reno pitcher Matt Reynolds did not face Las Vegas hitter Matt Reynolds, though both played in the game. Reynolds (the pitcher) was replaced by Derek Eitel when Reynolds (the hitter) came up in the seventh. Eitel struck out Reynolds.
Elsewhere in the minors
DOUBLE-A BINGHAMTON (8-6)
Centerfielder Brandon Nimmo, the Mets' top pick in the 2011 draft, was 1-for-3 with two walks, designated hitter Jayce Boyd went 2-for-4 with a double and Rainy Lara struck out five in six innings, allowing three hits, two runs (one earned) and one walk to lower his ERA to 2.04, but the Mets fell to New Hampshire, 5-4 in 10 innings. Second baseman Jairo Perez scored on a balk with two outs in the top of the 10th to give the Mets the lead, but New Hampshire scored two runs with two outs in the bottom of the inning for the win.
SINGLE-A ADVANCED ST. LUCIE (7-8)
Centerfielder Champ Stuart was 2-for-4 with a home run and a stolen base, designated hitter Maikis De La Cruz went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and first baseman Matt Oberste was 2-for-4 with a double, but the Mets lost to Fort Myers, 4-2.
SINGLE-A SAVANNAH (5-9)
Rightfielder Wuilmer Becerra and catcher Tomas Nido each went 2-for-4 with a home run, but the Sand Gnats fell to Charleston, 4-2. Lefthander Brad Wieck struck out nine in six innings, allowing seven hits, one walk and four runs (three earned).