Game Recap: Jonathon Niese Paints Masterpiece in 2-1 Win

By Matt Musico

The Giants were happy to put Hunter Pence, their biggest acquisition at the trade deadline, into the lineup yesterday for his debut in San Francisco. He didn’t help towards the bottom line thought going 0-for-4 with 2 strikeouts, and it was the Mets pitching that carried the Amazins to a victory last night.

Mets Offensive Highlights:

Ruben Tejada wasted no time getting down to business against Matt Cain in the Giants, hitting a lead-off home run, his first long ball of the season, into the seats to give New York an early 1-0 lead. They went right back to work in the top of the second, as Josh Thole, Jonathon Niese, and Tejada hit three straight singles, and Thole scored on a fielder’s choice hit by Jordany Valdespin. That was all the scoring the Mets could muster, and thankfully it was enough for Niese and the pitching staff to secure the win.

Giants Offensive Highlights:

San Francisco struggled with the bats even more than the Mets did, as the two teams were engaged in an old fashioned pitcher’s duel. They didn’t break through against Niese until the sixth inning, as Buster Posey prevented the shutout with a solo home run. That was it though, as the Giants could only put together three hits as a squad, with Joaquin Arias and Marco Scutaro collecting the other two. They didn’t have many opportunities, but they couldn’t cash in with runners on base, stranding 5 men and going 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.

Pitching Highlights:

Jonathon Niese did exactly what the Mets were hoping he would do. He put together a solid performance after a poor one in Arizona, as he went 7 strong innings, giving up 1 run on 3 hits, 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts for his 8th win of the season. Tim Byrdak and Jon Rauch both combined for a scoreless 8th inning, and Bobby Parnell pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 4th save of the season.

Matt Cain was almost as good, but not quite. The All-Star threw 97 pitches in 5 innings, giving up 2 runs on 7 hits, 3 walks, and 5 strikeouts. George Kontos, Javier Lopez, Clay Hensley, and Brad Penny all provided scoreless relief, but it was too little, too late as the damage was already done.

Worth Noting:

Ruben Tejada hit a leadoff home run off Cain last night, which was his first long ball in 629 at-bats. Altogether, the Mets put together a nine-hit attack, with David Wright and Tejada combining for six of them (three hits each). However, as a team, they struggled in big situation, going 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and stranding 13 runners on base. Wright also committed his 10th error of the season with an errant throw.

The Mets continue to gain ground on the Nationals, but it will be a long journey back if they want to contend in the NL East. At 51-54, they are 11 games behind Washington, and 8.5 games back in the NL Wild Card race.

Probable Pitchers Thursday:

Chris Young (2-5, 4.58 ERA) is looking to bounce back from his poor performance in Arizona against the Diamondbacks in this afternoon’s series finale at AT&T Park to give New York the series victory. He will be going up against Barry Zito (8-7, 3.89 ERA), who is enjoying his best season with the Giants since he joined the team as a free agent before the 2007 season. First pitch by the Bay is scheduled for 3:45pm.