Canadian Joey Votto homers in 7th straight game, one shy of MLB record

Joey Votto homered for the seventh straight game, one shy of a major league record, and the Cincinnati Reds beat the New York Mets 6-2 on Friday night.

The Toronto native became the eighth player to homer in at least seven straight games and the first since Kendrys Morales did it for the Toronto Blue Jays in August 2018. Dale Long (1956), Don Mattingly (1987) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1993) are the only players to go deep in eight consecutive games.

Griffey and Votto were teammates with the Reds from 2007-08.

Votto’s solo homer to centre field in the sixth inning extended the Reds’ lead to 3-1. The six-time All-Star and 2010 NL MVP, serenaded with chants of “Over-rated!” earlier in the evening, seemed to enjoy a leisurely trot around the bases before he flexed and pointed to the name on the back of his uniform while nearing the Cincinnati dugout — though he said afterward that was part of an inside joke with manager David Bell about their mutual favourite show, “Ted Lasso.”

“I’ve never been in a place like this before,” said the 37-year-old Votto, who has exceeded 30 homers twice in his 15-year career. “And we’ve been playing well lately, so being a part of that, it’s exciting.”

Votto has nine homers and 15 RBIs during his streak, which began last Saturday and includes just one hit that wasn’t a homer — an infield single against the Chicago Cubs. The Reds are 5-2 during the surge.

“Right now, it’s insane,” said rookie Jonathan India, who hit two homers and finished with three RBIs. “It’s almost expected. That’s so cool. It’s Joey Votto. He can do those things.”

India’s first homer was a leadoff shot that came on Carlos Carrasco’s first pitch with the Mets. Acquired from Cleveland in January, the veteran right-hander finally made his New York debut after a long recovery from a hamstring injury.

It was an up-and-down day for the Mets, who made a big deal to get Javier Baez from the Chicago Cubs before baseball’s trade deadline — and then revealed injured ace Jacob deGrom will be shut down for two more weeks because of inflammation in his pitching elbow, making it unlikely he’ll rejoin the NL East leaders before September.

DeGrom, who has a 1.08 ERA but hasn’t pitched since July 7, underwent an MRI that revealed no structural damage.

“It is concerning,” Mets manager Luis Rojas said. “We want Jake healthy, so this is the best thing. We’ve got to do it and he’s got to do it and nobody’s as frustrated as he is right now, because he’s a guy that loves pitching for his team.”

Baez was acquired from the Cubs along with right-hander Trevor Williams — who was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse — for outfield prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong, the Mets’ first-round pick in the 2020 amateur draft. Baez is expected to join the Mets on Saturday and will play shortstop until injured buddy Francisco Lindor (oblique) returns.

India’s homer was the only run allowed over four innings by Carrasco, who gave up three hits and one walk with four strikeouts.

“It was a long time — finally I got to pitch today,” Carrasco said. “Feels really nice, feels really good. I was so excited to get there.”

Jeff McNeil laced an RBI double in the bottom of the first to extend his career-high hitting streak to 16 games. Jesse Winker put the Reds ahead with a run-scoring single in the fifth off Miguel Castro (2-3). Aristides Aquino lofted a pinch-hit sacrifice fly in the eighth before India followed with his second homer, a two-run shot.

India finished with three hits — his fifth multi-hit effort in his last 11 games.

Brandon Drury had a pinch-hit RBI double in the ninth for the Mets.

Sonny Gray (3-6) allowed the first four batters he faced to reach but gave up just one run on five hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in six innings.

“There’s a chance he doesn’t get out of the first,” Bell said. “Next thing you know, you look up and it’s the sixth.”

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