Sunday, August 19, 2012

Strong Niese Outing Powers Mets to Win

Saturday, August 18th 2012
Final Score: New York Mets: 2 Washington Nationals: 0
Strong Niese Outing Powers Mets

The Mets offense was not able to generate much scoring tonight, but it gave them enough to get the 2-0 victory over the Nationals behind a strong pitching performance from Jon Niese.  Even the bullpen pitched well for the Mets, giving up no runs in their relief of Niese.  With the win, the Mets were able to avoid dropping to a season low eight games under .500.

Niese threw possibly his best game of the season, going 7 1/3 shutout innings.  He allowed only five hits while striking out seven Nationals.  Niese was removed before he could finish the 8th inning at 109 pitches, 13 shy of his career high, after getting Bryce Harper to fly out.

The pulling of Niese comes slightly as a surprise as the Mets are moving to a six-man rotation starting Sunday, meaning Niese will have an extra day of rest before pitching Friday night against the Astros.

Niese now has a career high streak of 13 1/3 consecutive innings without giving up a run.

Jon Rauch relieved Niese and was able to record the final two outs of the 8th inning without incident.  Since June 28th in 21 appearances, Rauch has given up only one earned run in his 15 innings of work.

Another positive for the Mets tonight was the performance of Frank Francisco.  Francisco was able to notch his 20th save of the season tonight after being pulled from the ninth inning twice earlier in the week. 

Edwin Jackson had a strong game for the Nationals, going seven innings and giving up only two hits and one walk while striking out 11.  The only blemish for Jackson was a homerun given up to Ike Davis in the 7th inning, which proved to be all the runs the Mets would need.  It was Davis’ 22nd homerun of the season.

Next up for the Mets is the implanting of their six-man rotation Sunday, starting with Jeremy Hefner (2-4, 4.76 ERA) taking the mound in the finale against Gio Gonzalez (15-6, 3.29 ERA).

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