July 2, 2010: Niese and Cora Put Away Nats

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Date: July 2, 2010
Mets starter: Jonathon Niese
Mets: 5
Nationals: 3
Winning pitcher: Jonathon Niese
Key player(s): Jonathon Niese, Alex Cora
Key play: Cora’s triple, Niese’s double

The Mets faced the Nationals on a Friday night in Washington. The teams played the second of four games in a weekend series. Jonathon Niese pitched seven innings and Alex Cora hit a three-run triple to lead the Mets to a 5-3 win.

Ruben Tejada was hit by a pitch with one out in the top of the first inning. Tejada advanced to third base on David Wright’s single and came home on Ike Davis’s ground out to second baseman Cristian Guzman. Nats’ starter Luis Atilano struck out Jason Bay to end the inning and Nyjer Morgan singled to begin the bottom half. Guzman went down on strikes and Morgan was caught stealing on catcher Rod Barajas’s throw to third baseman Wright (who was covering second base on the play). Niese then threw a called third strike past Adam Dunn for the inning’s final out.

After scoreless second and third innings, Wright doubled against Atilano to lead off the top of the fourth. Davis and Bay drew back-to-back walks to load the bases and Barajas flied out to center fielder Morgan. Jeff Francoeur was retired on a line drive to shortstop Ian Desmond. Cora followed with a triple that drove home Wright, Davis and Bay. Niese doubled to plate Cora for a 5-0 Mets lead. Washington reliever Joel Peralta struck out Angel Pagan to finish off the inning. Niese then struck out the side in a scoreless bottom half.

Niese and Peralta each pitched scoreless ball in the fifth and sixth. Pagan got a leadoff single against Peralta in the top of the seventh. Tejada lined out to left fielder Josh Willingham. Wright went down on strikes as Pagan stole second base and Nationals’ reliever Sean Burnett threw a called third strike past Davis to close out the inning. To begin the bottom half, Willingham homered for the first Washington run of the game. Ivan Rodriguez lined out to right fielder Francoeur and a fly ball by Mike Morse was caught by center fielder Pagan. Niese then got Desmond to foul out to first baseman Davis and end the inning.

Francoeur got a two-out single against Burnett in the top of the eighth. Cora reached on Desmond’s error and Nats’ reliever Miguel Batista got pinch-hitter Chris Carter on a called third strike for the inning’s third out. Mets’ reliever Bobby Parnell set down the side in order in the bottom half. For Washington, Doug Slaten pitched a perfect top of the ninth.

Mets’ reliever Pedro Feliciano struck out Dunn to start the bottom of the ninth inning. New York’s Elmer Dessens issued a walk to Ryan Zimmerman and retired Willingham on a line drive to left fielder Bay. Ivan Rodriguez hit a double and pinch-hitter Roger Bernadina singled against the Mets’ Francisco Rodriguez to score Zimmerman. Desmond followed with a single that brought home Ivan Rodriguez for the Nationals’ third run. With pinch-hitter Willie Harris at bat, Francisco Rodriguez caught Bernadina with a pickoff throw to shortstop Tejada for the final out of the game. The Mets had emerged with a victory.