Niese the unsung hero of Ike Davis' debut

April, 19, 2010
4/19/10
11:50
PM ET
Somewhat lost amidst all the hoopla surrounding Ike Davis making his major-league debut, the Mets' starting pitcher on Monday night, Jonathon Niese -- another 23-year-old, just like Davis -- had a very good, gutty outing. Niese went 5 2/3 innings, allowing just one unearned run. He did give up eight hits and three walks, but worked out of trouble on multiple occasions.

"He battled through some tough situations for most of the time he was out there," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said after the game. "But the good thing about it is, he seemed confident in being in those spots. It didn't seem as though he was rattled by the situation."

Niese also tied a career-high with seven strikeouts in the game. He had done that once before, on Sept. 13, 2008, vs. Atlanta.

"I just tried to battle," Niese said after the game. "I just tried to keep the ball down, and get a ground ball [when he needed to]."

Twenty-year-old pitching prospect Jenrry Mejia hurled two scoreless innings to finish off the Cubs on Monday night. Between Davis, Niese and Mejia, maybe the Mets' future is brighter than many people think?

AN ANGELIC BLAST: Angel Pagan picked a very good time to hit his first home run of the season -- it broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning, and put the Mets ahead for good.

"I just saw the pitch and tried to put the barrel on it, and it went out," Pagan said.

Pagan's home run also ended the Mets' streak of at-bats without an extra-base hit at 117. That was the Mets' longest drought since June 4-8, 1983, when they went 121 at-bats without an extra-base hit. (Thanks to ESPN Stats and Information.)

The Mets ended up putting five runs on the board in that seventh inning -- that's the teams biggest offensive inning of the season.

BAY WATCH: Jason Bay also contributed in that seventh inning, collecting just his third RBI of the season -- this after being given a day off on Sunday, following his 0-for-7 performance against the Cardinals in Saturday's 20-inning marathon.

"It doesn’t hurt," Bay said of the day off. "Obviously the first week and a half, or whatever, two weeks almost, haven't gone exactly how I'd want. But I realize that I'm not going to make it all up -- you can't go up there and try to hit a grand slam with nobody on. I'm not going to make it up in one day. It was a good start in the right direction."

WRIGHT STUFF: David Wright's single in the fourth inning tied him with Jerry Grote for ninth place all-time in Mets history with 994 hits.

REYES RESTS: Jose Reyes was not in the starting lineup Monday night -- Manuel wanted to give Reyes a rest, since he too has been struggling at the plate, currently batting .150. But Reyes pinch-hit for Alex Cora to lead off the seventh inning, was hit by a pitch, and eventually scored on Pagan’s home run.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187