PHILADELPHIA — Alfredo Simon invented new pitches to baffle hitters.
Simon allowed five hits over 7 2-3 strong innings, Devin Mesoraco hit a three-run homer and the Cincinnati Reds beat the struggling Philadelphia Phillies 3-0 on Friday night.
Simon (5-2) had a season-high eight strikeouts, walked one and hit one batter. Manny Parra got one out in the eighth and Aroldis Chapman struck out pinch-hitter Cesar Hernandez on a 102 mph fastball with runners on second and third for his second save in two tries.
Simon mixed a strong fastball with a slider and assorted off-speed pitches to keep the Phillies off-balance.
“I was trying to have fun out there,” Simon said.
A couple of pitches were clocked in the low 70s.
“I don’t know what he was throwing half the time,” Mesoraco said. “I was just catching it and throwing it back.”
The Phillies haven’t scored a run in the last 20 innings and were shut out for the fifth time this season. They have lost four straight and eight of 10 to fall a season-worst five games under .500 at 17-22.
Kyle Kendrick (0-4) lost his ninth straight decision, dating to last Aug. 11. He allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings.
Kendrick hasn’t had much help from the offense, however. The Phillies have been shut out five times in those 15 starts and have scored one run or less eight times.
“Main thing is I want the team to win,” Kendrick said. “Just have to go out there, take care of my job and give my team a chance to win.”
The Reds didn’t have slugger Joey Votto because of a left distal quadriceps strain. The 2010 NL MVP remained in Cincinnati.
With Jay Bruce on the disabled list, it was the first time the Reds didn’t have Votto and Bruce in their lineup since Sept. 20, 2012, at the Cubs.
Mesoraco provided all the support they would need. He ripped a three-run shot in his first at-bat since returning from his second trip to the disabled list.
“It was terrific. His first at-bat and he gave us an early cushion,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.
Mesoraco was sidelined by a left hamstring injury. He arrived to the ballpark less than three hours before the first pitch after making the trip from Norfolk where he played three games for Triple-A Louisville.
“I was supposed to leave early this morning and didn’t leave until about 3,” he said. “I was starting to panic. I didn’t feel that good. My legs were tired. Things cleared up after the first swing.”
A reshuffled lineup didn’t solve Philadelphia’s hitting woes. Leadoff hitter Ben Revere was out with a stomach virus, so Jimmy Rollins batted first for the first time in 70 games. Carlos Ruiz moved up to bat second and John Mayberry Jr. took Revere’s spot in center field.
ST. LOUIS — Allen Craig had three hits, drove in a run and scored twice and Lance Lynn allowed two runs over seven innings to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves.
Lynn (5-2) allowed seven hits walked two and struck out three. Carlos Martinez retired the Braves on four pitches in the eighth and Trevor Rosenthal set down the side in order for his 12th save in 13 opportunities.
Matt Carpenter and Kolten Wong had two hits each and scored a run for St. Louis. Matt Holiday, Matt Adams and Yadier Molina all drove in a run for the Cardinals.
St. Louis finished the game without manager Mike Matheny and center fielder Peter Bourjos, both of whom were ejected by home plate umpire Sean Barber at the end of the fourth inning for arguing balls and strikes.
The Braves’ Chris Johnson went 2 for 4 with a run scored. Johnson is batting .377 (20 for 53) in May.
While Johnson has been hot, his teammates have not. The Braves, who have lost 11 of 16, were held to two or fewer runs for the 18th time.
Ervin Santana (4-1) took his first loss as a member of the Braves. Santana lasted five innings and allowed five runs and 10 hits with one walk and three strikeouts.
St. Louis broke open a 2-2 tie by scoring three times in the fifth. With one out, Carpenter and Wong singled. Holliday followed with an RBI double down the right field line to score Carpenter. Wong scored on Craig’s single to left and Molina made it 5-2 with a sacrifice fly.
ORIOLES 4, ROYALS 0
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chris Tillman tossed his first career shutout, Nelson Cruz drove in two runs and the Baltimore Orioles grinded out a 4-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.
Tillman (4-2) scattered five hits and a walk while striking out three. His dominant outing came one night after Wei-Yin Chen and four relievers combined to beat Kansas City 2-1.
Chris Davis homered and Steve Clevenger also drove in a run for the Orioles.
Jeremy Guthrie (2-3) bounced back from a lousy start to last eight innings against his former team. The Royals’ starter allowed four runs, eight hits and a walk while striking out two.
While falling to 0-3 with four no-decisions in his last seven starts, Guthrie at least was able to save a bullpen that had been chewed up in that close loss the previous night.
Meanwhile, Tillman lasted more than six innings for the first time since April 11, a span of five starts. The Orioles’ right-hander won for the first time in four starts this month.
The game was played in a brisk 2 hours, 22 minutes, mostly because the starters were so effective. Tillman retired 13 of 14 batters after giving up a double to Norichika Aoki to start the game, and Guthrie only allowed a single by J.J. Hardy over the first three innings.
Baltimore finally got to Guthrie in the fourth, and it was partly his own doing.
Manny Machado led off by bunting back toward Guthrie, and he slipped while trying to field the ball. His hurried throw to first was wide of the bag for an error, and Machado trotted over to second base. Moments later, he headed for third when Guthrie threw a wild pitch.
Davis walked to put runners on the corners for Cruz, whose single drove in the game’s first run. Clevenger then grounded into a fielder’s choice to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead.
It remained that way until the sixth, when consecutive singles again put runners on the corners. Cruz then lofted a fly ball deep enough to center to bring home Adam Jones.
Davis added his third homer of the season with two outs in the eighth.
By that point, the only drama was whether Tillman would finish the game. The Orioles had two relievers up in the bullpen in the ninth, and the Royals got the leadoff man on base. But Tillman calmly got the next three batters to ground out to end the game.
BLUE JAYS 2, RANGERS 0
ARLINGTON, Texas — Drew Hutchison outdueled Yu Darvish and Melky Cabrera hit a two-run double in the eighth inning to lift the Toronto Blue Jays to a 2-0 win over the Texas Rangers.
Cabrera’s liner sailed just beyond the outstretched glove of Texas first baseman Mitch Moreland, scoring Erik Kratz and Anthony Gose.
Kratz and Gose each reached against Darvish (3-2) on infield bunts. The right-handed hitting Kratz bunted to third and beat an off-balance throw by Adrian Beltre. Gose, a left-handed hitter, drag bunted up the first-base line. Moreland’s throw to second baseman Rougned Odor covering first base wasn’t in time.
Darvish was making his first start since throwing a one-hitter against Boston last Friday that Major League Baseball ruled on Wednesday was a two-hitter.
TWINS 5, MARINERS 4
MINNEAPOLIS — Kyle Gibson allowed one run in seven innings, Brian Dozier and Josmil Pinto homered, and the Minnesota Twins held on to beat the Seattle Mariners 5-4.
Robinson Cano reached base for the 24th consecutive game and broke the Mariners’ 21-inning scoreless drought with an RBI double in the fifth.
NATIONALS 5, METS 2
WASHINGTON — Tyler Moore had two hits and drove in a pair of runs, and Washington relievers threw four scoreless innings as the Nationals defeated the New York Mets 5-2.
Scott Hairston had an RBI double and a single for Washington, which has won nine straight against the Mets going back to last season.
Nationals starter Tanner Roark (3-1) pitched five innings, giving up two runs on four hits.
Ross Detwiler, Drew Storen, Tyler Clippard and Rafael Soriano each pitched one inning. Soriano got his ninth save after walking two batters with two outs before Jayson Werth made a jumping catch against the right field wall on a drive by Daniel Murphy in the ninth.
The Mets snapped a 22-inning scoreless streak, their second longest of the season, with two runs in the fifth.
Jonathon Niese (2-3) took the loss, allowing five runs, three earned, in four innings. It was Niese’s shortest outing since June 20, 2013 at Atlanta, when he left after 3 1-3 innings due to injury.
The Mets’ defense hurt Niese early as the first three Nationals hitters of the game reached safely and scored. After Denard Span singled, third baseman David Wright misplayed Anthony Rendon’s grounder for an error.
Werth then singled home Span, and Washington added two more runs on a sacrifice fly by Wilson Ramos and a fielder’s choice grounder from Moore that might have been a double play. But the ball was bobbled briefly by second baseman Murphy.
In the third, Hairston doubled home Ramos and scored on a single by Moore to make it 5-0.
Following consecutive shutout losses to the Yankees and four scoreless innings against Roark, the Mets finally broke through.
Lucas Duda opened the fifth with a single and went to third on Anthony Recker’s double off