Jon Niese wasn't all that sharp in his first start back from the disabled list, but the Mets scored nine runs on Sunday afternoon for a relatively easy win.
The Mets got things started with four runs in the first. With two outs and a runner on first, Ike Davis and Wilmer Flores drew walks to load the bases. Mike Baxter hit what should have been an inning-ending ground ball down the first base line, but Paul Goldschmidt muffed it, and all the baserunners came in to score. Baxter moved to second on the play, too, and he scored easily on Anthony Recker's ensuing double. An Omar Quintanilla ground out ended the inning, but the Mets had opened up a sizeable early lead.
Niese gave up one run in the bottom of the first, as A.J. Pollock led off with an infield single and, two outs later, came in to score on a double by Aaron Hill. That was it for the scoring in the first, and neither team scored in the second.
Ike Davis singled to begin the third inning, and one out later, Mike Baxter singled, too. Recker flew out to right field, but Davis tagged up and advanced to third base. Quintanilla then hit a single to center field, which easily scored Davis. Baxter, who was running as the pitch was delivered, attempted to score on the play and was thrown out at the plate to end the inning. It was an aggressive out on the basepaths, something the Mets have found a way to do in spades since the Baseball Prospectus story praising their excellent baserunning this year.
Niese got into trouble in the bottom of the inning and paid for it. He allowed a leadoff single and a one-out walk before serving up a long three-run home run to Aaron Hill. Neither team scored again through the sixth inning, though, which was Niese's last in the game.
In total, Niese had 5 strikeouts and 1 walk, allowed 7 hits, and gave up 4 runs, all of which were earned. 56 of his 83 pitches were strikes, but he generated just three swinging strikes. It wasn't a disastrous outing, but there was no guarantee Niese would pitch again this season when he hit the shelf with his shoulder injury.
With one out in the seventh, Ike Davis drew his third walk of the game. Flores then singled, and Andrew Brown pinch hit for Niese. Arizona brought in right-handed pitcher Will Harris to face Brown, but he managed a very long three-run home run which opened up a four run lead for the Mets.
David Aardsma threw a scoreless bottom of the seventh, Scott Atchison allowed a run on three hits in the eight, and LaTroy Hawkins needed just seven pitches in a one-two-three ninth inning to finish the game.
The icing on the cake came in the ninth inning, as Flores hit an opposite-field home run, the first dinger of his big league career. The Mets sort of gave him the typical silent treatment upon his return to the dugout.
The Mets head to Los Angeles for a three-game series with the Dodgers tomorrow. Jenrry Mejia gets the start for the Mets, and the game is scheduled for 10:10 pm EDT.
SB Nation Coverage
Win Probability Added
Big winners: Mike Baxter, +22.1% WPA, Andrew Brown, +20.5% WPA
Big losers: Eric Young, -7.6% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Paul Goldschmidt’s error in the first, +22.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: Aaron Hill’s home run in the third, -20.7% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +11.8% WPA
Total batter WPA: +38.2% WPA
GWRBI!: Andrew Brown