By Jason Schott - Associate Editor - @JESchott19 on Twitter
The Mets' offense had one of their best games of the season on Sunday afternoon, as they blew out the Marlins 11-5. This capped a great weekend in which they won three of four in Miami and went 4-3 on the road trip.
The Mets had 11 runs on 17 hits, led by Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda, who had three hits each and Daniel Murphy, who had two hits, including a three- run home run. Center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis had two doubles, an RBI, and scored two runs. Catcher Anthony Recker was 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs.
Jonathon Niese had a great outing to improve his record to 3-4, as he went 6 innings, and allowed 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, and struck out 4. This capped a great run by the Mets' rotation, started by Bartolo Colon's eight innings of shutout ball on Wednesday in St. Louis. Zack Wheeler followed that up in Miami with a complete game on Thursday, Daisuke Matsuzaka had a nice outing on Friday night, in which he allowed just one run in 5 1/3 innings in a tough loss; and Jacob DeGrom's seven shutout innings on Saturday to earn his first career win.
David Wright said, "The offense really busted out, and Jonathon did another great job. Every time he takes the ball, you think he's going to go nine innings, and offensively we haven't done a lot to pick him up. I'm glad we were able to do that today."
Mets Manager Terry Collins said, "We've been waiting a long time to break one open. People think we play ugly game. We're getting beat 4-3 and 3-2. We're hanging in there. We get a lot of guys on, we just haven't been able to get big hits. When you have big hits, you look great."
The Mets looked like they were having as much fun as they have in quite a long time, as they were waving towels every time there was a big hit. This spirit was lacking for the first six weeks of the season, rare to see with Collins as manager, but the energy is certainly back. That win Wednesday in St. Louis might have been the game-changer, as they all had a lot of fun with Bartolo Colon's double and running around the bases. It takes a moment like that to loosen a team up and following that up with three of four in a place they never win is a major lift.
After going down in order in the first, the Mets rallied in the second. Lucas Duda started it with a single, followed by a Kirk Nieuwenhuis double. Ruben Tejada walked to load the bases. Anthony Recker was up next, and hit it to the warning track in left-center field for a sacrifice fly to score Duda and make it 1-0. Jon Niese then helped his own cause by bunting home Nieuwenhuis on a suicide squeeze to make it 2-0.
The Mets kept it going in the third, as David Wright got an RBI on a sacrifice fly and Nieuwenhuis got an RBI double off the fence in right field to make it 4-0. They blew it open in the fourth when Daniel Murphy connected on a three-run homer to make it 7-0 Mets.
The only scare the Mets got came in the sixth when the Marlins cut it to 7-3, as Reed Johnson had an RBI double, Giancarlo Stanton had an RBI single, and Marcell Ozuna got an RBI single. Niese got out of it by striking out Derek Dietrich to end the inning.
The Mets responded in the seventh, as Ruben Tejada had an RBI single, Anthony Recker had an RBI double, and Eric Young, Jr. had a two-run single to make it 11-3.
The Mets come home for a quick two-game series with the Oakland Athletics, the best in the American League with a record of 47-29. Scott Kazmir starts for Oakland on Tuesday night, nearly ten years after the Mets sent him to Tampa Bay in one of the worst trades in their history. Bartolo Colon will start for the Mets, and he pitched for Oakland last year.
Niese said, "If we keep the starting pitching going and keep the offense going, I think we should climb back in this thing." The Mets are only five games behind the first-place Washington Nationals in the tight National League East.
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