Following last night’s great start by Zack Wheeler, Jonathon Niese looked to continue his resurgence against Atlanta this afternoon, and certainly looked the part. Niese allowed a one-out walk in the first to Andrelton Simmons, but induced an inning-ending 6-6-3 double play (started and turned by Justin Turner playing shortstop). Niese would retire the next eight in order until, in the fourth, Simmons singled to center and got thrown out by Juan Lagares trying to stretch it into a double. The Mets, for their part, got little going early against Atlanta starter Alex Wood. Daniel Murphy got a pair of singles and a stolen base, Josh Satin singled, and Wilmer Flores drew a walk in their first at bats but couldn’t plate a run.
Until the fourth inning, when Josh Satin led off the frame with his second home run of the season, a screamer well past but just inside the left field foul
pole. That lead would hold until the sixth inning, when Jon Niese started the frame by drilling Braves right fielder Jason Heyward in the jaw with two outs. Heyward would walk off and leave the game to be replaced by Jordan Schafer. Schafer would eventually score the tying run after consecutive two-out singles by Simmons and Freddie Freeman. Niese closed out the threat by striking out Chris Johnson. He would eventually load the bases in the seventh, but Paul Janish would strike out attempting a suicide squeeze, and Jordan Schafer would strike out swinging to get Niese through the seventh. His final line: 5 hits, 3 walks (1 intentional), 9 strikeouts in 7 innings along with the single earned run.The score would stay tied, though the Mets very nearly walked off in the ninth inning. Justin Turner blooped a double that fell in in front of Joey Turdoslavich. Wilmer Flores’ groundout moved him to third. John Buck would be intentionally walked, and the pinch hitting Travis d’Arnaud would be unintentionally walked, but Juan Lagares grounded into a fielders’ choice to end the frame.
summoned to pitch to the lefty Freeman, coaxed a groundout to himself. Unfortunately, first base umpire Jerry Layne would rule Freeman safe (replays would show a close play, but a bad call nonetheless). Recently returned Greg Burke (in his fifth stint in Queens this year) came onto face Chris Johnson, at that point 0-4. Johnson would finish the game 1-5, with the 1 being the big hit of the game. Johnson lined Burke’s first pitch over the left field wall for a 3-run home run.Terry Collins, likely in frustration, returned to argue the call again and was eventually ejected by Layne, as was Daniel Murphy for reasons not quite known (likely the result of frustrated remarks after the home run, but his ejection went unnoticed by the radio booth until Omar Quintanilla entered the game and bumped Turner to second base in Murphy’s stead.
> Josh Satin, starting at first for Ike Davis (who hit a long home run last night), hit his second home run of the season and reached base three times.
> Daniel Murphy went 2-2 and stole his career-high 16th base of the season. Only Jose Altuve and Jason Kipnis have more among MLB second basemen.> Jon Niese was excellent today, striking out 9 for the second straight start. Niese has a 2.62 ERA in his last 9 starts (dating back to May 16th), with 51 strikeouts against 14 walks in 55 innings. Niese’s first two starts in May combined for 15 earned runs in 8.1 innings; he has a 2.87 ERA in 15 starts otherwise (a pattern similar to 2012, where Niese allowed 11 runs in 6 innings to Houston and Toronto and pitched to a 2.88 ERA in his other 28 starts).
Admittedly, it’s hard to fault Jerry Layne for making a mistake on a very close call. Still, the game hinged on that call, as it would’ve gotten the Mets out of the 10th. This also can’t reflect well on Greg Burke, who had a 4.60 ERA coming into today and got hit out of the park on the very first pitch. While Scott Rice has impressed in his year with the Mets, it’s becoming unlikely that Greg Burke’s tenure extends beyond 2013.The Mets get a long-needed day off tomorrow before facing the Detroit Tigers on Social Media Night Friday at 7:10. Carlos Torres is expected to start against Doug Fister.