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Jon Niese Strikes Out Ten As Mets Beat Cardinals Yet Again

For the third consecutive game, the Mets got an excellent start from their starting pitcher — Jon Niese this time — and scored plenty of runs for an easy victory over the Cardinals.

The Mets got on the board first in the bottom of the first inning when Lucas Duda plated a run with a one-out single. Daniel Murphy loaded the bases with a single after that, but the Mets left the bases juiced.

Niese was dominant in six scoreless innings of work. He struck out a career-high ten hitters and walked just one, looking considerably better than he did in his last start in the process. Five of the other seven outs Niese recorded came via the ground ball. At the plate, Niese went 2-for-2 with a run scored.

The only downside of the night for Niese, according to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, was that he experienced a rapid heartbeat during the sixth inning. Niese had thrown 96 pitches by the end of the frame, but Terry Collins chose to remove him because of the issue, which also arose last year in Niese's start in Texas.

The Mets had added two runs to their lead in the fourth inning on a two-run bomb by Kirk Nieuwenhuis, his third home run of the season. Captain Kirk is now hitting a respectable .301/.366/.405 this year. The Mets tacked on three more runs in the sixth inning, the first of which scored on a Nieuwenhuis single. Andres Torres tripled in two runs after that to extend the Mets' lead to six.

On top of his 3-for-4 day at the plate, Torres came up with a big defensive play in the fourth inning, throwing out David Freese at home plate to end the inning at a time when the game was still close.

"but you can call me batman, because I just stopped mr. freese" -- andres torres at the club tonight
- Sam Page

The Mets had a shot at shutting out St. Louis again, but the bullpen surrendered a run to ruin the streak. Bobby Parnell labored through a scoreless seventh inning, and Elvin Ramirez surrendered two hits and one run in two-third of an inning in his major league debut. The Cardinals made very good contact against Ramirez, and the first of his two outs came on a line drive the drilled him in the right leg. He got one strikeout, but he certainly didn't look great.

Frank Francisco sealed the deal with a scoreless ninth inning that included two strikeouts. The Mets are now in a three-way tie with the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals for first place in the National League East.

The Mets and Cardinals will play the fourth and final game of the series on Monday afternoon at 1:10 pm. Dillon Gee and Kyle Lohse are scheduled to start the game for New York and St. Louis, respectively.

SB Nation Coverage

* Traditional Recap
* Boxscore
* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* Viva El Birdos Gamethread

Win Probability Added

Big winners: Jon Niese, +30.5% WPA, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, +22.7% WPA
Big losers: Ike Davis, -7.7% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Kirk Nieuwenhuis's two-run home run in the fourth, +18.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Tyler Greene reaches on an error in the fourth, -6.3% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +32.1% WPA
Total batter WPA: +17.9% WPA
GWRBI!: Kirk Nieuwenhuis