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Mets vs. Dodgers Recap: Jon Niese leaves early with leg injury, Mark Ellis homers twice

Clayton Kershaw wasn't at his best, but the Mets weren't able to win as Jon Niese was knocked out early with a leg injury.

Jeff Zelevansky

There are four major categories of Mets games: easy wins, close wins, close losses, and agonizing games you’d prefer not to watch. The team’s loss to the Dodgers on Tuesday night fits perfectly into the last one.

Jon Niese vs. Clayton Kershaw wasn’t quite Matt Harvey vs. Stephen Strasburg, but the Mets’ second-best starting pitcher squaring off against one of the top pitchers in the game looked pretty good on paper. Each pitcher threw a scoreless first, but Niese got into big trouble in the second.

He issued two walks to begin the inning, struck out Andre Ethier, and walked the third batter of the inning to load the bases. Luckily for Niese, Kershaw was due up next, and although Niese fell behind 2-0 and went to a full count against him, Kershaw ended the inning by grounding into a double play.

The Mets didn’t score in the bottom of the inning, but Niese’s night came to an end shortly after the third inning began. He retired Carl Crawford, but Mark Ellis then hit a ground ball off Niese’ right leg. Niese had trouble staying on his feet and looked to be in considerable pain as he hobbled off the field, but word from the Mets is he didn’t break any bones and only suffered a contusion.

That’s reason to breathe a sigh of relief, but it didn’t help the Mets’ odds of winning the game. Robert Carson took over for Niese, gave up a single, and recorded an out before Ruben Tejada made a spectacular leaping catch on a Jerry Hairston Jr. line drive to end the inning..

While Niese was knocked out of the game by injury, Kershaw wasn’t quite himself on the mound. He retired the first two batters in the bottom of the third but walked Carson to spark a two-out Mets rally. Kershaw walked Ruben Tejada, too, and proceeded to give up run-scoring singles to Daniel Murphy and David Wright. The Mets had a 2-1 lead, but they wouldn’t score again in the game.

Carson remained in the game for a scoreless fourth but gave up a game-tying, two-out solo home run to Mark Ellis in the fifth. Scott Atchison replaced Carson in a double-switch that put Juan Lagares in center field for his major league debut, and he retired all five batters he faced to keep the game tied through the top of the sixth.

Brandon Lyon — who had been very good in limited use coming into the game — took over for the seventh, and that’s when the Dodgers broke the game open. With runners on second and third and two out, Lyon served up Mark Ellis’s second home run of the game, giving the Dodgers a 5-2 lead.

Josh Edgin came on to start the eighth inning and had a terrible outing. He gave up four hits and two runs while recording just one out. Jeurys Familia replaced him after the fourth hit, and he went on to retire five of the six batters he faced between the eighth and ninth innings.

On the bright side, Matt Harvey is scheduled to start tomorrow at 7:10 pm opposite Ted Lilly as the Mets look to even up the series.

SB Nation Coverage

* Amazin' Avenue Gamethread
* True Blue LA Gamethread

Win Probability Added

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Big winners: David Wright, +13.5% WPA, Daniel Murphy, +12.0% WPA
Big losers: Brandon Lyon, -39.4% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Daniel Murphy’s game-tying single in the second, +14.0% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Mark Ellis’s three-run home run in the seventh, -38.1% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: -37.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: -12.2% WPA
GWRBI!: Mark Ellis