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Michael Conforto showed signs of ending a prolonged slump [url=http://www.arizonacardinalsteamonline.com/customized]Customized Arizona Cardinals Jerseys[/url] , and the New York Mets got some much-needed offense for a rare win Saturday night.

Conforto homered for the second time in three games and drove in a career high four runs, Steven Matz pitched effectively into the seventh inning and the Mets beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-1.

Conforto lined a three-run homer in the second inning, and that was all the support Matz needed against one of baseball’s hottest teams. Matz (3-4) allowed a run, six hits and a walk with three strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings.

”Trying to stay behind it a little bit, that’s the best way I can explain it,” said Conforto, who was 2 for 29 over his last nine games. ”It’s something that I’ve been through before.”

The Mets ended a four-game losing streak and have won just two of their last 14 games. The Diamondbacks lost for just the second time in nine games.

”Doing some things that we’d been talking about as far as basic baseball I think is big for us,” Conforto said. ”We know we’re better players than the product has been.”

New York made it 4-0 in the third when Amed Rosario led off with a double and scored on starter Patrick Corbin’s wild pitch. The Mets had scored three or fewer runs in 11 straight games.

Corbin got into another jam in the sixth but got some help from center fielder Chris Owings, who threw out Brandon Nimmo trying to score from second base on a shallow single. With two outs in the inning, Conforto doubled into the right-field corner to drive in another run.

”You give up three quick runs the way Matz was throwing, it was a little too much for us to play some catch-up,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.

Corbin (6-3) surrendered five runs and eight hits in six innings with seven strikeouts.

”Take a way a couple of pitches there, I think it could have been decent,” Corbin said. ”They just did a good job, made it tough. I got the pitch count up there a little bit and they made me work.”

The Diamondbacks made it 5-1 in the sixth with Nick Ahmed’s double and Paul Goldschmidt’s RBI groundout.

Arizona loaded the bases in the seventh against Matz and reliever Robert Gsellman, who rode onto the field in the Diamondbacks’ new bullpen cart. Gsellman got Ahmed to ground into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.

”Honestly, after the second inning it all clicked for me and I started feeling really good out there,” Matz said.

The Mets’ Anthony Swarzak struck out the side in the ninth to end it.

GREET THE METS

Most of the right field seats at Chase Field on Saturday night were taken up by hundreds of chanting Mets fans in blue shirts representing a group called the Seven Line Army. It bills itself on Twitter as ”the largest traveling supporter section in baseball history.”

The group went crazy as Conforto’s home run sailed into its area, and roared again when Conforto took his position in center field and waved before the start of the bottom of the second.

The fans serenaded Mets pinch hitter Jose Reyes with a soccer-style cheer in the ninth while he was at bat.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets: Reliever Jeurys Familia is with the team in Arizona and is eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday. He’s been out with a sore right shoulder since June 7. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said he ”wouldn’t be afraid” to go to Familia in the eighth or ninth inning right away. … OF Jay Bruce is expected to be in Sunday’s lineup after missing the past three games with a sore back. … RHP Noah Syndergaard (right index finger) is moving closer to starting a throwing program.

Diamondbacks: RHP Shelby Miller (Tommy John surgery rehab) made a strong start for Class A Visalia on Saturday night [url=http://www.atlantafalconsteamonline.com/customized]Customized Atlanta Falcons Jerseys[/url] , allowing three hits in 6 2/3 innings with 10 strikeouts. … LHP Robbie Ray (oblique) will throw up to 70 pitches Tuesday for Triple-A Reno. … RHP Randall Delgado (oblique) is set for one inning of work for Reno on Sunday.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Zack Wheeler (2-5) is set for his fourth career start at Chase Field. He has 1.93 ERA in three previous starts.

Diamondbacks: RHP Clay Buchholz (1-1) faces the Mets. He has allowed two runs or fewer in four of his five starts this season.




James Shields of the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds play in opposite leagues and rarely see each other, yet they currently have much in common.

Now that they’re starting to make something out of what appeared to be a totally lost season, they’d like to keep it going.

The Reds got off to the worst start in baseball at 8-27, one so bad that getting to .500 looked to be as much of a challenge as winning a division title would be for most teams.

But when the Reds (36-48) take on the right-handed Shields and the White Sox on Monday night at Great American Ball Park, in the teams’ first matchup since 2015, they’ll be one of the majors’ hottest clubs. They’ve won 11 of 14 after taking the final two games of a four-game weekend series against the Milwaukee Brewers, and interim manager Jim Riggleman now has a 33-33 record for a last-place team.

Considering that Riggleman took over a Reds team that was 3-15 under former manager Bryan Price, that’s something of an accomplishment. And the Reds own a 6-1 record in interleague games.

“We know we can play with these teams that are in first place in their division,” Riggleman said.

They’re winning now in grand fashion, too. Jose Peraza hit the team’s major league-leading ninth grand slam Sunday in an 8-2 win over the Brewers, their second in two games (pitcher Michael Lorenzen hit a pinch-grand slam Saturday) and sixth in 17 games. They’ve already tied a club season record.

“We’ve been getting better at-bats … and we’ve happened to have men on base,” Riggleman said.

Cincinnati starter Matt Harvey pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings before being lifted after a rain delay, and the Reds dealt Brewers rookie Freddy Peralta (3-1), who gave up three runs in five innings, his first major league loss. Peralta allowed only one hit in seven shutout innings against the Kansas City Royals in his previous start.

“That’s probably the best I’ve felt since 2013,” said Harvey (4-5), who won his third straight start.

Shields (3-9), likewise, is beginning to see a ray of sunshine in what previously was a gloomy season. He’s coming off his best start of the year [url=http://www.baltimoreravensteamauthentic.com/customized]Customized Baltimore Ravens Jerseys[/url] , pitching seven shutout innings and giving up four hits Wednesday in a 6-1 win over the Minnesota Twins. It was his 12th quality start of the season, or five more than he had all of last season.

Shields still isn’t the pitcher that won 13 or more games seven times from 2008 to 2015, but it hasn’t helped that he’s pitching for a team that’s off to the second worst start in franchise history. He has allowed a respectable six earned runs in his last four starts, and twice yielded one or no runs while lasting at least seven innings.

At age 36, Shields is making adjustments to compensate for his decreased velocity, yet has pitched at least six innings in 12 of his last 13 starts for a last-place team.

“My body’s feeling really good this year, and this is kind of what I’ve done my whole career,” Shields told reporters after the game against the Twins. “I strive to go as deep as I possibly can in games and so far it’s been good.

“I’m not throwing as hard as I used to. If I were to throw over the top, I’d still throw a little harder than I am right now. (But) at the end of the day, I’m feeling really good with my delivery right now, my mechanics. It’s been a lot of fun making these adjustments.”

Shields goes against Reds right-hander Luis Castillo (5-8), who was 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA in five June starts. He retired the first 11 batters he faced Wednesday at Atlanta, only to give up four quick runs on a walk and five consecutive singles, although the Reds came back to win 6-5.

Castillo is 0-1 in two starts against American League clubs this season, giving up eight runs in six innings. He has never faced the White Sox.

Shields is 18-18 with a 4.57 ERA in interleague play and 0-2 in two career starts against the Reds, the last of which was in 2015.

The White Sox (29-54) ended a three-game losing streak Sunday by salvaging the final game of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers, winning 10-5 as Avisail Garcia went 4-for-5 with a double and an RBI.

The Reds have won five consecutive interleague games but are facing the White Sox at Great American Ball Park for the first time since 2009. The White Sox are 16-4 overall against the Reds and 10-2 in Cincinnati, though that success there predated any of the current players.