CINCINNATI — Lucas Duda took over for Carlos Beltran — off somewhere weighing a trade — and homered Wednesday night to help the New York Mets beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-2 in what turned out to be their last game before parting with the All-Star outfielder.
Beltran, who wasn't at Great American Ball Park on Wednesday, later approved a trade to the San Francisco Giants, who need a slugger in their pursuit of a second straight World Series title.
Duda will get a lot more time in right field with Beltran gone. The rookie homered off Bronson Arroyo (7-9), who couldn't extend his long run of successes against the Mets.
Mike Pelfrey (6-9) gave up seven hits — including Joey Votto's second homer of the series — in his second complete game this season.
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David Wright also homered and drove in four runs. Daniel Murphy had a career-high four hits.
The Mets have won the first three games in the series against a Reds team that's turned uncharacteristically sloppy. They had another error — their fourth in the last two games — and a passed ball that helped New York pull ahead.
The defending NL Central champions fell a season-high four games under .500 at 50-54.
The Mets moved two games over .500 even as they prepared to part with their best hitter. They've been shopping Beltran for weeks, looking for the best match before Sunday's trade deadline rather than risk losing him for nothing in free agency this winter.
The outfielder has the right to block any trade.
While Beltran was away from the ballpark thinking about the trade, Duda — the club's minor-league player of the year in 2010 — let it sink in that he could be playing a lot more in an unaccustomed position. He's more familiar with left field and first base.
"I'll try my best out there and see what happens," he said.
Mets Manager Terry Collins didn't hesitate to plug him into Beltran's spot in right.
"He'd better get comfortable real fast," Collins said.
It didn't take long.
Duda opened the sixth inning with his second homer of the season off Arroyo, who has given up 30 overall, the most in the majors. It's a bad sign for the Reds when Arroyo can't beat the Mets. The right-hander was 7-1 in his previous 10 starts against New York, and was 5-0 in his last six outings against the Mets, allowing a total of 13 runs.
This time, he lasted six innings and gave up five runs.
New York blew it open with Wright's three-run homer in the seventh off Jose Arredondo, making it 8-1. Wright has been on a hitting tear since he returned from a stress fracture in his lower back, going 12-for-28 with two homers and 11 RBI in six games. He also had a sacrifice fly off Arroyo.
Pelfrey gave up Votto's solo homer in the fourth and Chris Heisey's sacrifice fly in the seventh.