June 3, 2012; Flushing, NY,USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese (49) pitches during the first inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Amazin' Ten of 2012: #9 - June 3

Thanksgiving time has come and gone, but Rising Apple is a feast of sorts that keeps on giving. If you’re feasting on New York Mets stories, that is. And today we give you #9 on our list of the Amazin’ Ten Mets Games of 2012.

 

#9 – Niese Caps a Magical Weekend (June 3)

Jon Niese had a heck of a task ahead of him. Two days before, Johan Santana had tossed the first no-hitter in franchise history, and that was immediately followed up by a shutout from R.A. Dickey. As if those gems weren’t enough, hours earlier the team had honored one of its all-time greats, John Franco, with induction into the Mets Hall of Fame. Oh, and did I mention it was on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball against the defending world champion St. Louis Cardinals? No one would have blamed Niese for cracking under the pressure, but the job he did on the night of June 3 earned him a spot in our countdown.

Breaking out the black uniforms for the first time of the season in Franco’s honor, Niese took the hill against the Redbird Jake Westbrook. After he got through his part of the 1st, his offense got right to work: Andres Torres laced a one-out double and came home two batters later on Lucas Duda’s single to right. Niese did his job in the 2nd-4th innings, never 1-2-3 but unblemished where it counted. In the bottom of the 4th he helped his own cause with a two-out single, and Kirk Nieuwenhuis brought him in with a line drive home run over the old Mo-Zone in right field. 3-0, Good Guys.

And the trip around the bases didn’t even wear out Mr. Niese, who got his first 1-2-3 inning in the 5th. He ran into some trouble in the 6th, allowing singles to Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina, but after striking out his 10th man of the night in Tyler Greene, Jonathan “orchestrated” the third out with an Adron Chambers single to center that Torres fired home to nail David Freese. That was the last of Niese for the night, but he left the mound with a final line worthy of Santana and Dickey: 6 innings, 0 runs, 6 hits, 1 BB, 10 Ks.

The bats made sure in the bottom of the 6th that Jon’s effort would not be in vain: Omar Quintanilla walked, Josh Thole singled, Jordany Valdespin popped out, Nieuwenhuis singled home Quintanilla, Torres tripled home Thole and Captain Kirk. 6-0 New York, with all but one of the RBIs coming from the top two in the order. The Mets would surrender a run to ruin the three-game shutout in the 8th (Elvin Ramirez’s first career appearance did not go as he would have liked), but it was no matter. Final score: Mets 6, Cardinals 1.

This win put an exclamation point on one of the more eventful weekends in New York Mets history, and it was also the team’s high point of the season: the victory put them in a three-way tie for first place atop the NL East with Washington and Miami. A failure to sweep St. Louis the next day started off a 1-6 skid over the next week. But for one glorious weekend, one filled with history and some darn good pitching, everything was right in Flushing Meadows.

 

June 3: the ninth most Amazin’ game of 2012. Early next week you shall see #8 on this Letterman-esque list.

Amazin’ Ten of 2012

#10 – Slugfest at Wrigley (June 27)

#9 – Niese Caps a Magical Weekend (June 3)

#8 –

#7 –

#6 –

#5 –

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#3 –

#2 –

#1 –

You can follow me on Twitter @MidwesternMet and at my own Mets blog of the same name. Thanks for reading, have a nice day, and L.G.M!

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