Stroman (7-8) gave up a clean leadoff line drive single to left by Aristides Aquino in the third inning and little else. He struck out seven and walked one while giving New York’s beleaguered bullpen precious rest going into Thursday’s day off.
“To be honest, I have the same mentality and mindset in every game," he said. "It doesn’t change. That’s my goal. That’s the standard. That’s the key for me of whoever was on the mound – to go deep. It’s a great feeling to hear the guys saying, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you.’”
The Mets used a combined 12 relievers over the first two games in Cincinnati.
“Highly important, right?” said manager Luis Rojas, back in the dugout after serving a two-game suspension for excessive arguing on Sunday.
“Stroman’s been outstanding this season. He’s kept us in a lot of games. His record doesn’t show how well he’s pitched. He gave us the eight innings. We needed it. We’re glad he gave that breather to the bullpen,” he said.
Stroman hit Jonathan India with his first pitch of the game, then quickly settled in after going 0-4 in his previous six starts. His only difficulty came when he was struck by Jesse Winker’s comebacker to start the seventh, and Stroman recovered to throw him out.
“We ran into a good one today," Reds manager David Bell said. "Stroman was on top of his game. He shut us down.”
Jeurys Familia struck out three in a hitless ninth.
The top of the Mets’ order loaded the bases with three singles to begin the third against Jeff Hoffman (3-5), prompting a mound visit from pitching coach Derek Johnson.
Smith lofted Hoffman’s next pitch for an opposite-field drive into the seats in left for his second career grand slam. Smith’s other slam came last Sept. 11 against Toronto. Smith knew Hoffman had to be around the plate.
“Especially in that situation," he said. "There was nowhere to put me. With the bases loaded, you know he has to try to get ahead and throw his best pitches to get me out. He made a pretty good pitch, and I was able to put a good swing on it and hit it out.”
Villar homered to right in the third, a ball that umpires reviewed to make sure there was no fan interference. Guillermo added a two-run homer off Tony Santillan in the fifth.
Hoffman came off the 10-day injured list to make his first start since May 26 and lasted four innings, allowing seven hits and five runs with three walks. He had yielded just four home runs in 41 innings over 10 starts before Wednesday.
India was hit by a pitch for the 16th time this season, at least temporarily snapping a three-way for the major league lead.
Smith’s grand slam was the second by a Met this season. Francisco Lindor logged the first on July 9 against the Pirates.
ON THE CUSP
Jeff McNeil extended his hitting streak to 11 games with his third-inning single, matching the career high he set in August 2018.
Mets: RHP Robert Stock (right hamstring strain) went on the 10-day injured list on Friday. He lasted one inning in his start on Tuesday.
Reds: India was hit on the left elbow, but he stayed in the game. The carom caught catcher Tomás Nido on the inside of his left leg.
Mets: RHP Tylor Megill (0-0) makes his sixth start of the season and first of his career against the Blue Jays on Friday.
Reds: RHP Tyler Mahle (7-3) would set a single-season career high with his eighth win if he beats the Cardinals on Friday.
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