The visiting Mets followed Thursday night’s series opening 4-1 victory over San Diego with a second straight strong performance from their starting pitcher. On the heels of Zack Wheeler‘s twelve strikeout effort in Game One, Jon Niese followed with an effective effort of his own in Game Two. And in one of the more difficult ball parks to homer in, the Mets hit three en-route to a 5-2 victory.
Making his second start since returning from injury and his sixteenth of the season, Jonathon Niese climbed the hill Friday evening. He was opposed by Ian Kennedy, who was acquired by San Diego from Arizona at the trade deadline. After fifteen starts and eighty-three innings pitched this season, Niese brought a 4-6 record, and 4.45 ERA into the game. Kennedy entered with a 1-0 record in two starts with the Padres. Otherwise, he began the night with a 4-8 record, and 4.97 ERA in 137.2 innings pitched.
This is the line-up Coach Terry assembled to face the right-handed Ian Kennedy: CF-Eric Young; 2B-Daniel Murphy; RF-Marlon Byrd; 1B-Ike Davis; 3B-Josh Satin; LF-Mike Baxter; C-Anthony Recker; SS-Omar Quintanilla; SP-Jonathon Niese.
July 17, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; New York Mets pitcher Jon Niese (49) pitches in the third inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Ian Kennedy’s first pitch to Eric Young was fastball right down the middle for strike one. Kennedy retired Young and Daniel Muprhy quickly, but then issued back to back walks to Marlon Byrd and Ike Davis. With two outs, Josh Satin tapped a ball to third, and reached first base safely without a throw when Chase Headley failed to handle it cleanly. That loaded the bases for Mike Baxter, but he popped up to third baseman Headley to end the threat. Ian Kennedy expended twenty-six pitches.
In the bottom of the first, Jonathon Niese’s first pitch to right fielder Chris Denorfia was a strike, but the Padres lead-off man got the first hit off Niese – a single beyond Quintanilla’s reach. Jon then struck out both center fielder Will Venable and Chase Headley. Clean-up hitter Yonder Alonso followed and worked the count full, before also striking out on a biting curve ball to end the opening inning.
Anthony Recker opened the second inning by crushing a fastball off the center field wall for a double. Omar Quintanilla then promptly singled to right field, putting runners on first and third, with no outs. But Jon Niese failed to help his own cause, by striking out on a bunt attempt. Eric Young then grounded to second base, allowing Recker to score on the play. Daniel Murphy stepped in with a runner on second and two outs, and lined a grounder to first base to end the Mets at-bat.
Second baseman Jedd Gyorko led-off the bottom of the second with a double. Niese bounced back to strike out both left fielder Jesus Guzman and former Met, shortstop Ronny Cedeno. Catcher Rene Rivera then became strikeout victim number six.
Leading off the third, Marlon Byrd deposited an Ian Kennedy offering over the center field fence for his nineteenth home run of the season. Ike Davis was next, and likewise crushed the first pitch he saw into the right field seats for a 3-0 Mets lead.
In the bottom of the third, Will Venable absolutely crushed a 2-0 fastball from Niese into the right field stands, where a fan dressed in traditional Padre garb almost made a nice catch.
Through three innings, Niese had allowed one earned run on three hits, walked none and struck out six. He expended fifty-three pitches, with thirty-five going for strikes for a 66% rate of effectiveness, while also averaging a lofty 17.6 pitches per inning.
In the top of the fourth, Daniel Murphy pulled an Ian Kennedy fastball just inside the right field foul pole for a two run home run – his tenth of the season. Jon Niese, who previously walked, scored.
Niese issued his first walk in the bottom of the fourth inning. With runners on first and second, and one out, Ronny Cedeno bounced to Satin at third base, who opted to get the safe out at first base only. With runners on second and third, Rene Rivera smoked a low liner to left field, caught by Mike Baxter to end the inning.
Ian Kennedy started the fifth inning having thrown eighty-nine pitches in the game. His ninety-fourth pitch was used to fan Josh Satin. He then struck out Mike Baxter looking, but after issuing a two out walk to Anthony Recker, manager Bud Black opted to bring in Colt Hynes from the bullpen. Omar Quintanilla greeted him with a base hit, but Jon Niese struck out to end the mild threat.
Ian Kennedy pitched 4.2 innings, allowed five earned runs on seven hits, walked four, and struck out seven before departing the game on the losing side. He surrendered three home runs.
Jon Niese hit the Padres Alexi Amarista with a pitch to lead-off the bottom of the fifth. Chris Denorfia then slapped a base hit through the second base hole. Will Venable grounded to first, as both runners advanced. Clean-up hitter, Chase Headley became Jon Niese’s seventh strikeout victim of the night, and it couldn’t have come at a better point in the game. With two outs, Yonder Alonso grounded to Ike Davis, and Niese was out of trouble.
Niese allowed a lead-off single in the bottom of the sixth inning to Jedd Gyorko, but bounced back to strikeout Jesus Guzman. With two outs, Jon Niese then featured his curveball to fan Rene Rivera – his eighth strikeout of the game.
Through six full innings, Niese allowed one earned run on six hits. He walked just one batter and lowered his ERA to a 4.25 mark. Jon threw 111 pitches, sixty-eight for strikes for a 61% effective rate. He averaged 18.5 pitches per inning.
In relief of Jon Niese, Scott Rice entered the game in the bottom of the seventh, and picked up two strikeouts. With Rice still in the game, Chase Headley led-off the bottom of the eighth with a double down the left field line. Yonder Alonso singled up the middle to deliver Headley with San Diego’s second run of the game. Out came Coach Terry to make a double-switch. He summoned Carlos Torres from the bullpen, and brought Juan Lagares into the game replacing Eric Young. With no outs, Jedd Gyorko faced Torres and struck out. Ike Davis and Carlos Torres then combined on a nifty play at first base for out number two, and Jesus Guzman lofted an easy fly to left for out number three.
Apparently recovered from his cup-less ordeal, LaTroy Hawkins entered the game to pitch the ninth inning against San Diego. It took some doing, but Hawkins preserved Jon Niese’s fifth victory of the season, striking out the last batter of the game, and earning his fourth save.
The Mets win by a 5-2 final score, and have taken the first two games of this four game series.
- Batting clean-up, Ike Davis finally hit his second home run since being recalled from Las Vegas. It was his first home run and first RBI in August.
- The Mets hit back to back home runs for the second time all season; three home runs in the game.
- The Mets have now won eight of their last eleven games versus San Diego.
- Anthony Recker – 3 for 3, walk.
- Sweet diving play by Justin Turner after being inserted to play third base in the bottom of the seventh.
- The bullpen – three innings pitched, one run on three hits, no walks, four strikeouts.
- Ike Davis did himself no favors with a very weak at-bat in the fifth. That’s no way to follow up a home run, then showing dicipline in his second time up by drawing a walk.
- Why was Mike Baxter stealing third in the seventh inning with one out? Ponderous – considering Anthony Recker followed with a base hit to right. If not already miffed, Anthony Recker was then thrown out attempting to steal second. Why? Both decisions to run were absolutely ponderous. Tim Teufel deserves a trip on the carpet for those calls – if he in fact made those decisions. And if he did, this is a good time to bring up his questionable third base coaching lately. If Terry Collins made those decisions from the dugout, shame on him.
- Catcher John Buck was placed on paternity leave by the club. He and his wife were en-route to the hospital prior to Friday night’s game. Although she was not in labor at the time, SNY reported Mrs. Buck is nonetheless a few weeks late. Taking John Buck’s place on the roster, finally, will be Travis d’Arnaud, although he will not be activated until Saturday’s game. Anthony Recker was the only catcher available for Friday night’s game.
** Note – A current photo was not available for this game recap.