September 13, 2008: Niese's First Major League Win

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Date: September 13, 2008
Mets starter: Jonathon Niese
Mets: 5
Braves: 0
Winning pitcher: Jonathon Niese
Key player(s): Jonathon Niese, David Wright, Carlos Beltran
Key play: Wright’s home run

The Mets faced the Braves in a Saturday doubleheader at Shea Stadium. After dropping the opener of the last twinbill ever played at Shea, the Mets aimed for a split in the nightcap. Jonathon Niese recorded his first major league win in a 5-0 Mets victory over Atlanta.

Niese shut down the Braves in the top of the first inning. Ryan Church hit a single with one out in the bottom half. David Wright followed with a home run and Carlos Beltran singled to left field. Beltran advanced to second base on Carlos Delgado’s ground out to third baseman Martin Prado and stole third. Fernando Tatis hit a single to drive home Beltran for a 3-0 Mets lead. Atlanta starter Jo-Jo Reyes then retired Luis Castillo on a ground ball back to the mound to close out the inning.

Niese hurled a scoreless top of the second. With two outs in the bottom half, Jose Reyes homered to extend the Mets’ lead to four runs. Jo-Jo Reyes got Church on an inning-ending fly ball to center fielder Gregor Blanco and the Braves were set down in order by Niese in the top of the third. Beltran hit a one-out double against Atlanta reliever Buddy Carlyle in the bottom of the inning. Delgado went down on strikes and Tatis followed with an infield single. Castillo then hit a force play grounder back to Carlyle for the inning’s final out.

Casey Kotchman singled with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. Jeff Francoeur hit a double and Niese threw a called third strike past Brent Lillibridge for the third out. Jonathon got a one-out single for his first major league hit in the bottom half. Jose Reyes followed with a force play ground ball to second baseman Kelly Johnson and a walk to Church ensued. After a wild pitch, Wright drew a walk that loaded the bases. Carlyle then struck out Beltran to finish off the inning.

Niese and Braves’ reliever Vladimir Nunez each pitched scoreless ball in the fifth and sixth innings. To open the top of the seventh, Francoeur hit a single and Lillibridge lined out to center fielder Beltran. Clint Sammons grounded out to third baseman Wright and a strikeout of pinch-hitter Greg Norton ended the inning. Against Atlanta’s Jeff Ridgway, Beltran homered for the Mets’ fifth run with one out in the bottom half. Ridgway then retired Delgado on a on a fly ball to left fielder Omar Infante and threw a called third strike past Tatis to end the inning.

Niese limited the Braves to a single by Blanco in the top of the eighth. Braves’ reliever Elmer Dessens pitched a scoreless bottom half and Kotchman singled against the Mets’ Luis Ayala to begin the top of the ninth. Francoeur hit a double play ground ball to shortstop Jose Reyes and a single by pinch-hitter Josh Anderson followed. Ayala then struck out Sammons to end the game. The Mets had a split in the final Shea doubleheader as Niese chalked up his first victory in the major leagues.