New York Mets: Alex Rios

Morning Briefing: Last stand for Mets?

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
5:30
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: If the Mets want to be relevant after the All-Star break, they better win -- if not sweep -- their next series.

The Atlanta Braves arrive at Citi Field for a four-game series having just had a nine-game winning streak snapped by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Despite picking up a game in the standings Sunday, the Mets still trail first-place Atlanta by 10 games (and the Washington Nationals by 9 games) in the division.

Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-3, 3.72 ERA) opposes left-hander Mike Minor (2-5, 4.73) in Monday’s 7:10 p.m. opener.

Read the Mets-Braves series preview here.

The Mets were swept in three games last week at Turner Field. The Amazin’s squandered a two-run lead in the eighth inning last Monday when Jeurys Familia, Juan Lagares and Eric Campbell committed errors in an unsightly frame.

Catcher Taylor Teagarden is eligible to return from the disabled list for the series opener. The Mets have a few options: They can leave Teagarden on the DL, where he officially landed with a strained left hamstring two weeks ago. They can attempt to send him to the minors, although he would need to pass through waivers and also accept the assignment. Or they can demote Anthony Recker, who has an option remaining.

Of course, Recker homered Sunday.

The Mets essentially deferred the decision when Travis d'Arnaud was promoted by placing Teagarden on the DL, even though Teagarden had been getting treatment for that seemingly manageable hamstring issue for a considerable period.

Monday’s news reports:

• The Mets placed Jonathon Niese on the disabled list with a left shoulder strain before Sunday’s game and promoted right-handed reliever Buddy Carlyle. Dillon Gee is slated to be activated from the DL on Wednesday to make the start in Niese’s slot against the Braves.

Niese likely will miss only one start, since his DL stint will include the four-day All-Star break. He is eligible to return on July 20 -- the third game after the break, at San Diego.

Niese insisted he is uninjured. Still, Niese’s fastball topped out at only 86 mph in his 12-pitch start Friday against the Texas Rangers -- an outing that ended when he was struck on the “love handle” on his left side by Alex Rios’ line drive. Despite a solid 3.31 ERA, Niese’s fastball is averaging a career-low 88.6 mph this season, down from 90.2 mph in 2013.

Although the DL decision displeased Niese, even the southpaw had previously expressed hope that the All-Star break would allow his fastball to get recharged. Niese actually had wanted to come back early after Friday’s abbreviated outing and make two starts before the All-Star break.

He missed seven weeks last summer with a partial tear of his left rotator cuff.

Gee (3-1, 2.73) last pitched in the majors on May 10. He since has been on the disabled list with a strained right lat muscle. Gee made his final rehab start Friday with Brooklyn. He limited Aberdeen to one run on three hits and a walk and also hit a batter while striking out 10 in six innings. Gee logged 75 pitches. He then threw a bullpen session Sunday at Citi Field to further confirm his health before the Mets made the official announcement about Niese landing on the DL.

Read more in the Star-Ledger, Daily News, Newsday and at MLB.com.


Evan Vucci/Associated PressDaniel Murphy has been selected to his first All-Star Game.


Daniel Murphy earned his first All-Star selection and is the lone Mets representative to the July 15 game at Minnesota. Murphy (.294, 7 HR, 35 RBIs) is tied with Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen and San Francisco’s Hunter Pence for second in the National League in hits with 106, trailing only Miami’s Casey McGehee (108).

David Wright and Niese were passed over for selection, although Niese would have been disqualified anyway because of the DL stint.

Milwaukee Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez topped the second-place Wright by 338,728 votes in fan balloting. It is only the second time in the past nine years that Wright has been left out of the game. The other instance came in 2011, when Wright missed two months with a stress fracture in his lower back.

This marks the first time since 2003 that the Mets have only one All-Star selection. That year, it was Armando Benitez. This time, no Mets were selected via the fan or player ballots, so Murphy was chosen by St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who will lead the NL squad.

Read more in the Post, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• The Mets scored a season-high five first-inning runs, capped by Recker’s three-run homer, and beat the Rangers, 8-4, in Sunday’s rubber game. Zack Wheeler surrendered only a solo homer to Robinson Chirinos in 6 1/3 innings. Wheeler had been winless in his last nine starts at Citi Field, going 0-6 with a 4.65 ERA since an Aug. 20, 2013 victory.

Gonzalez Germen surrendered a pair of homers in a three-run eighth, forcing Terry Collins to insert Familia to protect a three-run lead. Germen could be vulnerable Wednesday when the Mets need to clear a roster spot for Gee’s activation. The alternative presumably would be to drop the newly added Carlyle.

Texas has lost 15 of 18.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Times, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

• Prospects Wuilmer Becerra and Vicente Lupo were arrested by Kingsport, Tenn., police for allegedly drag racing at speeds in excess of 100 mph.

• The Brooklyn Cyclones held their “Salute to Seinfeld Night” on Saturday at MCU Park, on the 25th anniversary of the pilot episode, known as “The Seinfeld Chronicles,” having been broadcast on July 5, 1989. The festivities included players wearing puffy shirts during batting practice and a Keith Hernandez “magic loogie” bobblehead giveaway.


Courtesy of Brooklyn CyclonesFirst baseman Jeff Diehl, and the rest of the Brooklyn Cyclones, wore puffy shirts during batting practice Saturday.


ESPN’s Mark Simon back in 2010 chronicled all the Mets references on “Seinfeld,” which you can check out here. The most famous involves Hernandez’s Feb. 12, 1992 appearance, on the episode known as “The Boyfriend.” Wrote Simon:

Hernandez and Jerry become friends, with Jerry spending much of his free time worrying about how he can impress Hernandez. Hernandez and Jerry's ex-girlfriend, Elaine, date, and meet Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson (unseen) in a local restaurant. The relationship breaks up when Elaine sees that Hernandez is a cigarette smoker.

The highlight is the mystery surrounding whether Hernandez spit on Kramer and his friend Newman, after the two yelled insults at the Mets first baseman, following another game the Mets blew (based on a game "Seinfeld" creator Larry David and friends attended in 1986).

Using the same principles regarding the "magic bullet" theory in the John F. Kennedy assassination, Jerry attempts to debunk the story. In the end, it's revealed that the spitter was actually Hernandez's teammate, Roger McDowell, who was getting revenge for Newman's spilling beer on him in the bullpen.

Mike Salfino in the Journal notes “Seinfeld” actually was far more Yankees- than Mets-oriented.

• Noah Syndergaard allowed one run on six hits while striking out eight and walking none in seven innings as Las Vegas routed Albuquerque, 12-1. Wilmer Flores homered for the sixth time in his last five games. Cesar Puello homered twice in his first game since June 23. He had been sidelined with a concussion.

Chase Huchingson allowed two runs in the top of the 10th and the B-Mets lost, 10-9, after leaving the bases loaded in the bottom half despite a hit by pitch and three walks to open the frame. Jorge Rivero drove in three runs and Matt Obserte homered as Savannah beat Hickory, 8-2. Carlos Valdez and Gaither Bumgardner combined on a two-hit shutout as Binghamton blanked Abderdeen, 7-0.

• Columnist Kevin Kernan in the Post suggests the Mets start making trades.

• Columnist David Lennon in Newsday acknowledges trading a pitching surplus could be shortsighted. Writes Lennon:

On paper, it's true -- the Mets have some pitching currency for the trade market. If not in the next three weeks, then certainly in the offseason. But you also can understand why Alderson might be leery of dealing from that deck. The fragile nature of pitchers, now more than ever, has made it crucial to have quantity as well as quality. If the Mets go the trade route, the pressure to pick the right chip can be cause for hesitation.

• Stephen Haynes in Newsday recaps Wheeler’s outing Sunday.

From the bloggers ... Faith and Fear offers an appreciation of Murphy as the perfect All-Star selection from an inherently imperfect Mets team.

BIRTHDAYS: Third base coach and '86 Met Tim Teufel turns 56. ... Andy Green, now managing Double-A Mobile in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, is 37. ... Minor-league left-hander Alex Panteliodis, a ninth-round pick in 2011 out of the University of Florida, is 24.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Will the Mets be represented by the correct All-Star selection in Minnesota on July 15?
NEW YORK -- Jonathon Niese feels fine after getting struck with a first-inning line drive in the love handle on his left side Friday. So the southpaw wants to come back early and get two more starts before the All-Star break. And that appears to be bad news for Daisuke Matsuzaka, who could now end up in the bullpen without making another start.

Niese was pulled after 12 pitches from an eventual 6-5 win against the Texas Rangers, after getting struck in the lower back by a line drive off the bat of Alex Rios.

Niese insisted to Terry Collins and trainer Ray Ramirez that he was fine and wanted to remain in the game. But Ramirez would not even permit Niese to throw a warm-up pitch, concerned that if Niese had suffered a fractured rib, he could end up puncturing a lung.

X-rays ended up being negative and Niese ultimately was diagnosed with a bruise.

Ramirez, in denying Niese’s plea, even brought up a five-year-old incident that predated Collins. During Niese’s rookie season, he was allowed to throw a warm-up with the trainer visiting on Aug. 5, 2009. Niese crumpled to the ground in pain with a complete tear of a hamstring tendon.

That incident contributed to assistant trainer Mike Herbst getting reassigned from the major league staff to rehab duty at the Mets’ Port St. Lucie, Fla., complex.

“There’s not much to say other than I’m fine. I didn’t want to be taken out,” Niese said postgame Friday. “I just felt like I was cheated there a little bit.”

Niese said he was “100 percent” confident during Ramirez’s visit that he was fine.

“I knew it was just a bruise. It kind of went away there,” he said. “I wanted to stay in there.”

Niese continued, referring to Ramirez: “He’s doing his job. He really didn’t know the extent of the injury. In my past, with the hamstring, he just didn’t want to take a chance of it tightening up and pulling something.”

The one positive byproduct: Although Collins said it had not yet been discussed, Niese wants his next start to come Monday or Tuesday, rather than wait for his official next rotation turn Wednesday.

Since Niese threw only 12 pitches, that seems more than feasible.

And that would mean the Mets could immediately reassign Matsuzaka to the bullpen without making another start. Dillon Gee should be ready to return from the disabled list Wednesday, which is when Niese’s official next turn would be. So Niese can merely jump into Matsuzaka’s slot a day or two earlier.

If that materialized, the rotation leading into the All-Star break could be:

Saturday: Bartolo Colon

Sunday: Zack Wheeler

Monday: Niese/Jacob deGrom

Tuesday: deGrom/Niese

Wednesday: Gee

Thursday: Colon

July 11: Wheeler

July 12: Niese/deGrom

July 13: deGrom/Niese

“I’m going to try to talk them into going out earlier,” Niese said. “I only threw 12 pitches.”

Rapid Reaction: Mets 6, Rangers 5

July, 4, 2014
Jul 4
11:18
PM ET
NEW YORK -- And now, some fireworks!

Travis d'Arnaud delivered a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth against Jason Frasor and the Mets snapped a four-game losing streak with a 6-5 win against the Texas Rangers on Friday night at Citi Field.

Eric Campbell had greeted Frasor with a one-out single after the right-hander inherited Bobby Abreu on first base from left-hander Aaron Poreda. Both scored on d’Arnaud’s double. Campbell finished 3-for-3 with a walk and RBI.

The Rangers, who scored a run in the ninth against Jenrry Mejia, have lost 14 of their past 16.

The game was the 11th in the majors this season to take at least four hours without extra innings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. It lasted 4 hours, 8 minutes -- falling one minute shy of the longest nine-inning game in Mets history.

The Mets are now 11-20 in one-run games this season.

Texas had plated an unearned run in the seventh against Jeurys Familia to even the score at 4. Elvis Andrus hit a sharp grounder that Daniel Murphy fielded on the backhand. However, Murphy bounced the throw to Lucas Duda, who could not scoop it. Murphy was charged with an error. Andrus eventually scored when Chris Gimenez sent a grounder to Campbell at third base. He could not field the ball cleanly and had to settle for the out at first base rather than pursue Andrus at the plate.

Yu who? Originally scheduled to pitch Thursday at Camden Yards, Yu Darvish was held back until Friday because of the threat that the series finale against at Baltimore would be interrupted by rain. What looked like bad news for the Mets turned out to be OK.

Darvish surrendered three first-inning runs, including a two-run, opposite-field homer by Duda. In his previous 15 starts this season, Darvish had allowed only three first-inning runs (two earned).

Darvish entered the night with the third-ranked ERA in the American League. He allowed four runs on five hits and two walks in five innings and had his ERA rise from 2.42 to 2.63. The four earned runs matched his season high.

Ouch! Jonathon Niese departed with one out in the first inning after throwing only 12 pitches. Niese was struck in the lower back by a line drive from Alex Rios. X-rays were negative, and Niese was diagnosed with a bruise.

What a relief: Carlos Torres entered for Niese and managed to pitch through the fifth inning. Torres threw a season-high 81 pitches in his 4 2/3 innings of work and departed with the Mets leading 4-3.

Torres’ workload marked the most pitches thrown by a Met in relief since Shaun Marcum handled the final eight innings of a 20-inning game against the Miami Marlins on June 8, 2013. Marcum tossed 105 pitches in that game.

Odds and ends: Adrian Beltre had a solo homer against Torres in the fifth to pull the Rangers within 4-3. Beltre has now homered in 40 major league ballparks, the most of any active player, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Former All-Star closer Neftali Feliz made his season debut with the Rangers. He walked the first two batters he faced. However, d’Arnaud bunted, the lead runner was forced out and Feliz ultimately tossed a scoreless sixth. Feliz then also logged a scoreless seventh.

What’s next: Bartolo Colon (8-6, 3.88 ERA) opposes right-hander Colby Lewis (5-5, 5.71) on Saturday at 7:15 p.m.

Morning Briefing: Byrd migration to Texas?

July, 25, 2013
7/25/13
7:17
AM ET
NEW YORK

FIRST PITCH: Zack Wheeler, who tossed six scoreless innings in his major league debut at Turner Field in Atlanta, albeit with five walks, gets another crack at the Braves in an early start this afternoon.

Wheeler (3-1, 3.58 ERA) opposes rookie left-hander Alex Wood (0-2, 2.45) as the Mets look to salvage a split of the four-game series. First pitch: 12:10 p.m.


Tom Lynn/Getty ImagesZack Wheeler pitches on turn, despite recently dealing with a blister issue.


The Mets earlier this week debated delaying Wheeler’s start a day to allow a blister to further heal, but ultimately decided it was a nonissue and kept him on regular rest. Wheeler has dealt with blister issues throughout his pro career -- both as a San Francisco Giants farmhand and with the Mets.

Wood steps in for fellow southpaw Paul Maholm, who landed on the disabled list on the eve of the series with a bruised wrist.

With the Mets facing a left-hander, Josh Satin should start at first base and Juan Lagares in center field. Justin Turner also is due for his first start since returning from the disabled list.

Terry Collins planned for Turner to be used at a middle-infield position, but Turner might start at third base if David Wright needs a day for a sore back/neck. Wright inadvertently hit himself with the shattered bat during his own swing in the fourth inning Wednesday night.

Thursday’s news reports:

• The Texas Rangers are scouting Marlon Byrd among a bevy of outfield options, writes CBSSports.com. Alex Rios of the Chicago White Sox appears Texas’ primary target, according to the report. Writes Jon Heyman:

Ideally, Texas would have loved to make a run at young Marlins superstar Giancarlo Stanton, Hunter Pence (a local, being a U-T Arlington product) or perhaps Michael Cuddyer, but with those three apparently unavailable at the moment, the Rangers are surveying a market that's heavy on far lesser talents. Pence would seem to have the best chance to be traded of those three, and Texas would target him if he becomes free. Nolan Ryan is said to be a fan.

Seattle, which has Raul Ibanez, Kendrys Morales and Michael Morse, isn't ready to trade anybody yet. And most believe they'll ultimately keep at least Ibanez and Morales now that they are showing decent signs of life. …

The Rangers reportedly have looked at Norichika Aoki, as well, and Danny Knobler reported they are scouting Marlon Byrd, their former player. Other outfielders who could go in trades include Justin Ruggiano, Chris Denorfia, Nate Schierholtz and Alejandro De Aza.

• Tim Hudson suffered a gruesome fracture of his right ankle when he was stepped on while covering first base by runner Eric Young Jr. on Wednesday night. Hudson had taken a scoreless effort into the eighth inning when the injury occurred.

“I saw them get tangled up,” Dan Uggla told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I was just hoping he Charley-horsed him or something. I didn’t see the extent of it. Once I saw Huddy’s reaction, I was like, ‘Oh, no. This isn’t good.’ …

“He was kind of in disbelief, obviously in a lot of pain. You could see just the thoughts going through his head, ‘This can’t be happening. … This is unbelievable.’ That sort of thing. I know he was in a lot of pain.”

Young expressed remorse for what happened.

"I'm hustling down the line like I always do, going for the base," Young said. "I saw his foot, as I'm going for the base, right there in the middle, as I came down, I knew I didn't get any of the base. I know I got all of his foot. I pretty much knew it was probably broke right as I did it, and that's why I sprinted right back to him and tried to console him as much as I could and apologize.

"I was able to see Tim before they took him to the hospital. He told me it wasn't my fault, just one of those freak plays that happened."

Read more on the injury and reaction in the Post and Daily News.

Evan Gattis, Uggla and Andrelton Simmons all homered against Jeremy Hefner as the Braves beat the Mets, 8-2 at Citi Field. Hefner surrendered six runs (five earned) in 4 1/3 innings. He became the first Mets pitcher to allow three homers in a home game this season. Hefner has allowed 13 earned runs in 6 1/3 innings over his past two starts. Daniel Murphy had two doubles, but also committed two errors.

Columnist John Harper in the Daily News summarizes the night.

Read game recaps in the Post, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times and MLB.com.

• Read more on Wright’s status after getting struck with his own bat in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.

Lucas Duda and Travis d’Arnaud returned to game action for the first time Wednesday, in the same Gulf Coast League game. D’Arnaud went 1-for-3 and caught five innings in his first official action since fracturing the first metatarsal in his left foot on April 17 with Triple-A Las Vegas.

Duda, who landed on the DL with an intercostal muscle strain on his left side after a June 21 game, went 0-for-2 with a walk. He played five innings in left field. It would have been far more noteworthy because of the implications for Ike Davis if Duda had played first base, but that was not the case. Read more in the Post.

Jonathon Niese, on the DL with a shoulder issue, is ready to pitch in a Gulf Coast League game this weekend or shortly thereafter. He likely will need multiple rehab starts before returning, so rejoining the Mets in mid-August is most likely. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

Jenrry Mejia joined the Mets in advance of Friday’s start opposite Jordan Zimmermann in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Nationals Park. Matt Harvey opposes Ross Ohlendorf in the nightcap that day. The other matchups that series: Dillon Gee versus Dan Haren on Saturday and Carlos Torres versus Taylor Jordan on Sunday.


Adam RubinThe San Francisco Giants annually host a sleepover for fans on the night of a day game at AT&T Park.


Mejia told Jorge Castillo in the Star-Ledger that he has bone spurs in his right elbow that will need to be surgically removed during the offseason. Doctors proposed removing them during spring training when the issue first flared up, but Mejia preferred taking anti-inflammatory medication to get through the discomfort and to deal with it after the season. Read more in the Journal and Record.

• Matching an event annually staged at San Francisco’s A&T Park, the Mets will host a sleepover for fans at Citi Field on Aug. 10. Unlike with the Giants, it will not occur the night of a home day game. Tickets, which range $175-$200 per person and include admission to the Sept. 28 game against the Milwaukee Brewers, go on sale at 10 a.m. today at Mets.com/sleepover. The Mets also announced PR man Jay Horwitz bobblehead day will be held Aug. 23. There’s also a Third Eye Blind concert after that game against the Detroit Tigers.

• Columnist Larry Brooks in the Post suggests the Mets are laying the groundwork for a brighter future.

• Mark Cohoon became the all-time innings-pitched leader in Binghamton history and closer Jeff Walters matched Jerrod Riggan’s B-Mets single-season record with save No. 28 in a 6-3 win against Reading. Read the minor league recap here.

BIRTHDAYS: Billy Wagner, now spending time with his alpacas, turns 42. … Where’s Mota? Guillermo Mota is celebrating his 40th birthday.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Should the Mets hold onto Marlon Byrd unless overwhelmed by a trade offer?

Market watch: Three Mets trade scenarios

July, 18, 2013
7/18/13
2:30
PM ET
Bobby Parnell, Alex Rios and Marlon ByrdGetty Images, USA TODAY SportsThe Mets have finally found an affordable closer in Bobby Parnell, so don't look for him to get moved. Alex Rios is a potential acquisition, but they'd have to get overwhelmed to trade Marlon Byrd.
Sandy Alderson wants the Mets to remain competitive for the remainder of the reason. So the GM will not be trading off pieces to clear room for prospects to play unless the organization receives a noteworthy return.

"What we've been trying to do for the last several years is stockpile talent, clear payroll with significant complications, and then be as competitive as we can possibly be without sacrificing Nos. 1 and 2,” Alderson said. “In order for us to sacrifice No. 3 [competitiveness], it has to be a material advantage in talent for us to do that. Is that going to happen? I don't know."

Here’s the case for the three July 31 trade-deadline scenarios:

1. Sell. Marlon Byrd would figure to be an attractive piece for a contender because of his production (.271, 15 HR, 51 RBIs) and because he is making only $700,000 this season. Of course, the low salary -- less than $280,000 remains owed -- means the Mets will not feel compelled to trade him unless they get a hefty return. Remember, the Mets did not trade Scott Hairston last July, then let him walk.

In a dream scenario, Frank Francisco returns before the end of the month and the Mets can find a taker. Francisco has started a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League and is owed $2.6 million for the remainder of the season on his original two-year, $12 million deal.

Francisco should be able to get traded in August, too, because no one would dare put in a claim on his contract. If someone were to put in a claim to block an August trade, the Mets could just dump the remaining contract on that team.

With Travis d’Arnaud no better than a September call-up, the Mets figure to hold onto John Buck. His production has dipped so drastically anyway it is unclear there would actually be a market.

One relatively productive Met in the final year of a contract: 40-year-old LaTroy Hawkins.

The Dodgers were scouting the Mets in Pittsburgh, for whatever that’s worth.

2. Buy. The Mets would not be buyers in the traditional sense, in that a team rents a player for a run at the postseason. After all, despite better play of late, the Mets are double digits off the division and wild-card leads.

The Mets would look for an outfielder with power who remains under control beyond this season. While the names Carlos Gonzalez, Giancarlo Stanton and Andre Ethier often get mentioned, the odds are none of those players gets dealt this month.

Alderson has acknowledged speaking with one team about a player under control for 2014, although he did not specify which team.

One potential target: Chicago White Sox right fielder Alex Rios, who is owed $12.5 million in 2014 and also has a club option for 2015.

3. Stand pat. This is not exactly glamorous, but it would be consistent with the Mets' recent history -- with the exception of shipping off Carlos Beltran two years ago to the San Francisco Giants in the final year of his deal for Zack Wheeler.

Fans seem to be captivated by the potential of trading Bobby Parnell or Daniel Murphy, but unless the Mets are approached and overwhelmed, neither getting dealt seems likely.

In Parnell’s case, he has been solid in the closer’s role and is making only $1.7 million this season. Parnell is under the Mets’ control through the 2015 season, although his salary should start to dramatically rise because he is eligible for arbitration both years.

As for Murphy, is he the long-term answer at second base? Who knows? But the Mets need non-marquee pieces to build around, too. And Murphy’s bat, despite lulls, contributes enough to warrant holding onto unless there is some dramatic offer.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 1, White Sox 0 (10)

May, 7, 2013
5/07/13
9:44
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: Matt Harvey pitched nearly perfectly against Robin Ventura’s club -- retiring 27 of 28 batters. He received the cruelest of no-decisions.

Pitching for the first time since being named NL Pitcher of the Month for April, and with three extra days of rest thanks to a rainout in Atlanta, Harvey retired the first 20 Chicago White Sox batters he faced.


Adam Rubin
Robin Ventura, Fred Wilpon and John Franco chat during batting practice.


The perfect-game bid ended in the narrowest of fashions. With two outs in the seventh, Alex Rios sent a grounder deep into the hole at shortstop. Ruben Tejada fielded it and went airborne for a throw as his momentum carried him toward left field. First-base ump Mark Carlson properly called Rios safe by a hair and the perfect-game and no-hit bids ended.

That was the only batter who reached in nine innings against Harvey, but the Mets also failed to score. So when Bobby Parnell entered for the 10th, Harvey was saddled with a no-decision despite shaving his ERA to 1.28.

The Mets ultimately won in walk-off fashion, 1-0 in the 10th, when pinch-hitter Mike Baxter singled against Nate Jones to score Ike Davis. Davis had walked to open the inning and advanced to second on a sac bunt by Juan Lagares. It was Baxter's first career walk-off hit.

The last MLB pitchers to log nine or more innings, allow no runs and one or fewer hits and get a no-decision: Travis Wood (Cincinnati, 2010), Ben Sheets (Milwaukee, 2004), Miguel Batista (Arizona, 2002), Ryan Rupe (Tampa Bay, 1999), Francisco Cordova (Pittsburgh, 1997) and Alan Benes (St. Louis, 1997).

Harvey's 6 2/3 perfect innings marked the longest perfect stretch by a Met since Rick Reed against Tampa Bay at Shea Stadium on June 8, 1998. Reed also was perfect for 6 2/3 innings, until Wade Boggs doubled.

Harvey -- who pitched the first inning with blood running from his nose -- finished with a career-high 12 strikeouts. It was his second double-digit strikeout performance of the season (also April 3 against San Diego) and fourth of his career. His previous career high had been 11 strikeouts in his major league debut last July 26 at Arizona.

He required only 105 pitches to complete nine innings. He had been annoyed with his most recent outing in Miami, when he tossed a career-high 121 pitches in 5 1/3 innings against the Marlins.

Newark’s Hector Santiago matched the zeroes Harvey was putting up before departing with his pitch count at 111 for the bottom of the eighth in a 0-0 game. The Mets left four runners on base over the first two innings and mustered only four hits against Santiago.

WHAT’S NEXT: The two-game series comes to a close Wednesday as Jeremy Hefner (0-3, 4.34 ERA) opposes right-hander Jake Peavy (3-1, 3.38) at 7:10 p.m.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Daniel Murphy
BA HR RBI R
.289 9 57 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
WB. Colon 15
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187