Jon Niese trotted out to the mound on Tuesday night to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates; the first game with newly appointed hitting coach Lamar Johnson in the reins, and the Mets doubled up the Bucs by a score of 4-2.
The Mets would eventually score first in the bottom of the third inning but not before Andrew McCutchen got his revenge on Juan Lagares. Lagares lined a ball into the right center gap that looked like a guaranteed extra base hit but McCutchen came out of nowhere to lay out and make the extremely impressive catch.
Daniel Murphy followed the webgem with a double down the left field line and was eventually moved to third on a David Wright sacrifice fly. Curtis Granderson drew a walk and Bobby Abreu followed with a two out single through the shift to score Murph.
The Pirates threatened in the top of the fourth inning but Russell Martin popped out with runners on first and third with two outs to allow Niese to escape the jam.
The Mets put another run on the board in the bottom of the fourth on doubles from both Ruben Tejada and Juan Lagares. Daniel Murphy walked and Lagares then moved to third on a wild pitch. David Wright eventually grounded out to short to end the two out threat.
Fast forward to the top of the sixth inning where Jon Niese seemed to hit a wall with his control. He walked Josh Harrison to leadoff the inning, got Jose Tabata to fly out and then walked Andrew McCutchen. Gaby Sanchez then flied out with runners on first and second but Niese walked Russell Martin to load the bases with two outs. Starling Marte made him pay with a single up the middle that knocked in Harrison and McCutchen to tie the game.
Vic Black came on to replace Niese and walked Neil Walker but then struck out Ike Davis to end what could have been a deflating inning for the Mets. Niese went 5.2 innings, allowing three hits and two earned runs, but walked four and only struck out two.
The Mets answered back in the bottom of the sixth inning. Ruben Tejada led off with a walk. He eventually made it to third base on two wild pitches with a groundout by Eric Campbell in between. Juan Lagares drove in Tejada with a single up the middle and Daniel Murphy followed with a double down the right field line, scoring Lagares from first. David Wright grounded out and Curtis Granderson struck out to end the inning.
Vic Black retired the first two batters in the top of the 7th inning but then walked Jose Tabata to bring up McCutchen with a runner on. McCutchen nearly hit a ball into the gap but Abreu was able to cut it off and hold the runners on first and third. Black caught Gaby Sanchez looking on a gorgeous curve to end the inning.
Jenrry Mejia came on in the top of the 8th inning to attempt the six out save. He started off by punching out Russell Martin looking. He then walked Starling Marte and allowed a single to Neil Walker that advanced Marte to third. Pedro Alvarez then bounced a tailor made double play to Tejada to end the inning.
Ruben Tejada led off the bottom of the eighth inning with a single, reaching base for the fourth time of the game. However, Grilli struck out Campbell, Lagares and Murphy to send the game to the top of the ninth inning.
Mejia began the top of the ninth by inducing a ground ball to Campbell, which he could not handle, allowing Travis Snider to reach. Josh Harrison sent a frozen rope to left, which Chris Young was able to snag. Curtis Granderson then made a beautiful catch in the right field corner to retire Jose Tabata. Mejia walked McCutchen to bring up Gaby Sanchez. With runners on first and second base, Sanchez bounced a ball to the whole where Tejada was able to grab it and get the force out at third to end the game.
It was Mejia’s fourth save since being promoted to closer and Vic Black’s first win in as many appearances. Bartolo Colon takes on Charlie Morton on Wednesday afternoon with the first pitch scheduled for 1:10 pm.