Niese battles cold, credited with win

April, 13, 2013
4/13/13
12:34
AM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- Two batters into the game, unable to grip his cut fastball and having surrendered a double to Joe Mauer when it hanged, Jonathon Niese abandoned the pitch.

The low-30s temperatures Friday night at Target Field made it a challenge even for the native Ohioan. But Niese nonetheless battled through five innings with his four-seam fastball, changeup and curveball and earned the victory in the Mets’ 16-5 rout of the Minnesota Twins.

Niese said he could never recall, even in high school, pitching in snow before.

“It was a tough night for everybody to pitch,” Terry Collins said. “Fortunately we got a big lead.”

Said catcher John Buck: “The balls felt like pool cues out there. They were slippery. Normally we go to Niese’s cutter. I mean, he couldn’t even get a grip on it. It was tough. So having those early runs definitely helped for the whole progression of the game to just stay a little more aggressive, because obviously holding that four-seamer and that changeup was an easier pitch for him to hold onto. That’s what it boiled down to tonight -- who could hold onto the ball better, because it was a cold one.”

How cold was it? Thirty-four degrees at the first pitch.

“Tonight’s the night you’re happy you’re a catcher, because we’ve got the helmet, you’ve got the extra gear on,” Buck said. “And I was still cold. As the game went on, you could feel the temperature decreasing. Every time I went on the field it seemed like it was a little colder and more brisk.”

Said Niese: “Some pitches would feel good. A pitch later, it would slip out of my fingers and the ball would hang there. It was tough, but fortunately our offense gave us a big lead to lead there to start off.”

Niese’s next outing comes Wednesday in Colorado, when the forecast is for a low in the upper teens in the evening.

“In Colorado? Oh no,” Niese said after learning of the forecast. “We’re used to it now. ... I’m looking forward to it.”
Adam Rubin has covered the Mets since 2003. He's a graduate of Mepham High School on Long Island and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He joined ESPNNewYork after spending 10 years at the New York Daily News.
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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