The Jose Reyes-David Wright tandem, which started the season 0-for-11, joined forces in the 10th inning Saturday to rescue the Mets from a Francisco Rodriguez slip-up.
Hitless in his first eight at-bats of the season, Reyes opened extra innings with a single against Ryan Webb. He ultimately scored from second on a single by Wright, who homered earlier. Willie Harris later contributed a two-out, two-run double to lift the Mets to a 6-4 victory in 10 innings.
Rodriguez was deprived of a game finished. Inserted to protect a one-run lead in the ninth, K-Rod surrendered a game-tying RBI single to Greg Dobbs for a blown save. Rodriguez still needs 55 games finished for his contract to vest at $17.5 million for 2012. He has 160 games remaining.
Blaine Boyer surrendered a run in the 10th but earned his second career major league save. The other came with the Atlanta Braves on May 14, 2008 at Philadelphia to make Tom Glavine a winner.
Terry Collins earned his first major league win since Aug. 23, 1999.
Josh Thole’s two-out single to left field in the ninth off Marlins closer Leo Nunez scored pinch-runner Chin-lung Hu from third base and had given the Mets a 3-2 lead.
Hu was pinch-running for Ike Davis, who reached base three times, including a leadoff walk in the ninth. Replacing Davis meant a downgrade at first base for the remainder of the game with Daniel Murphy, who pinch-hit in the top of that frame in the pitcher's spot. (Emilio Bonifacio's single by a diving Murphy did put the tying run at third base for Dobbs to drive him in.)
Collins did wholesale defensive substitutions for the ninth, actually, for what appeared poised to be the game's final half-inning with K-Rod entering. Harris replaced Lucas Duda in left field and Hu stayed in the game and replaced Brad Emaus at second base.
Other game details:
New York Mets
• PAIR OF RUNS: Jon Niese surrendered a bases-loaded, two-run single to Logan Morrison in the first inning as the Mets found themselves in a 2-0 hole.
The left-hander then retired 11 straight Marlins and finished his outing with six straight scoreless innings. He allowed only one hit after the first inning, on Bonifacio’s leadoff single in the fifth.
Niese’s final line: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HBP.
On Morrison’s first-inning hit, Davis cut off center fielder Angel Pagan’s throw to the plate, depriving the Mets of a chance to catch trail runner Hanley Ramirez attempting to score. Niese required 29 pitches to navigate the first inning -- four more than Mike Pelfrey, who labored through the same frame on Opening Day.
However, Niese was economical with his pitches from there. He needed only 58 for his remaining six innings.
Bobby Parnell replaced Niese for the eighth with the left-hander’s pitch count at 87 and the score tied at 2 and contributed a scoreless frame.
At the plate, Niese and the Mets tried trickery. He batted in the third after a leadoff single by Thole and showed bunt. With third baseman Donnie Murphy closing in, Niese pulled back his bat and tried to slap a liner by Murphy. The ball went foul, and Niese settled for a sacrifice bunt on the next pitch.
The Mets believe Niese is poised for a big season because he should be less prone to fatigue in the season’s latter months. After posting a 2.67 ERA in June and a 2.48 ERA in July last season, Niese wilted and had a 4.43 ERA in August and 7.11 ERA in September.
“Unless you go through the 162 games, especially as a pitcher where [it’s] your first time you’re going to make 30 starts, you don’t understand the wear and tear that it takes to get through a season,” Collins said. “I think Jonathon realizes now there’s going to be a time this summer where he may have to back off some of his between-starts activities to try to pace himself to get through that last month.”
New York Mets
• DOUBLE PLEASURE: Davis had a pair of doubles against Ricky Nolasco, the latter a gapper to right-center with two out in the sixth that scored Carlos Beltran from first base and pulled the Mets even at 2. Davis might have produced three hits against Nolasco, but he was robbed by a headfirst sliding catch in center field by Chris Coghlan in the fourth inning.
Davis finished 2-for-3. He also walked to lead off the ninth inning, and was replaced by the pinch-runner Hu.
With Murphy at first base in the bottom half, Bonifacio pulled a ball past a diving Murphy to place runners at the corners with two out for Dobbs.
• APPLE CORE: After the Reyes-Wright combination started the season 0-for-11, Wright ended that drought. Wright produced the Mets’ first homer of the season, on an opposite-field solo shot in the fourth that pulled the Mets within 2-1.
Wright’s homer was part of a stretch of successive at-bats in which the Mets hit Nolasco hard but came away with little to show for it. With one out in the third, Reyes smoked a line drive to center field that Coghlan drifted back on and caught. Pagan then sent a shot that carried nearly to the wall in right-center, which Bonifacio corralled. After Wright’s homer led off the following inning, Beltran hit a shot to deep left that Logan Morrison ran down. Davis was then victimized by Coghlan.
Wright now has four homers in 50 career at-bats against Nolasco. That is tied for the most homers by Wright against any pitcher against whom he has had 50 or fewer at-bats. The other pitchers against whom Wright has four long balls in fewer meetings: Livan Hernandez (in 45 ABs), Brett Myers (35 ABs), Brad Penny (20 ABs) and Horacio Ramirez (12 ABs).
• IT’S A HIT: Emaus was credited with his first major league hit in the fifth inning, when his hard leadoff grounder kicked off the shortstop Ramirez. Ramirez recovered the ball and threw it back to Nolasco, not cognizant of the milestone (and perhaps the scoring decision). Third base coach Chip Hale eventually got the attention of Nolasco and got the ball safely to the Mets’ dugout.
Meanwhile, a night after a series of solid fielding chances in his major league debut, Emaus had a rough first inning at second base. Emaus ranged slightly to his right for Coghlan’s leadoff grounder, but took too long to get the baseball to Davis and Coghlan was awarded an infield single.
The next batter, Omar Infante, then sent a pop-up on the infield dirt behind second base that Reyes and Emaus pursued. Both backed off and the ball dropped, although there was plenty of time for Emaus to collect the baseball and force out Coghlan at second base to make the miscue immaterial.
• DAY OF REST: Beltran is expected to sit Sunday after playing two straight full games. He went 1-for-4 and scored from first base on Davis’ double Saturday.
Duda started in left field and went 0-for-4. He is expected to start in right field in place of Beltran in the series finale.
• THAT’S RIGHT: Thole singled to right field in the seventh, but rounded the base too far, stumbled and was thrown out retreating to first base by Bonifacio from right field. Bonifacio, primarily an infielder, was starting only his seventh major league game in right field.
Bonifacio was starting at the position because Mike Stanton is out with left hamstring tightness that forced him out on Opening Day.
• OUCH: Murphy, the Marlins’ third baseman, left the game after being hit by a 91 mph fastball on the base of his right hand from Niese in the seventh inning. Murphy had right wrist surgery Sept. 2. The team called it a bruised hand. Niese argued to plate umpire Sam Holbrook, presumably that Murphy had swung at the pitch. That prompted Collins’ first appearance out of the dugout for an argument as Mets manager, which was brief, lacking histrionics and to no avail.
• NEXT: R.A. Dickey opposes Javier Vazquez in Sunday’s series finale.