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Mets find ninth inning magic in 3-2 victory over Marlins

Kirk Nieuwenhuis. Photo by: Stacy Podelski

The number nine has been very good to anyone who is a fan of the New York Mets (11-8), as the number on the back of center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis-has also been an inning where the team has recorded five victories thus far in the 2012 season.

New York’s latest comeback victory was especially sweet in a three-game sweep of National League East Rivals the Miami Marlins (7-11) by a final of 3-2 in MLB action on Thursday.  It was the second time in club history the team accomplished this feat, the last time was in 1986, with sweeps of the Phillies (at Shea) and at St. Louis.

Nieuwenhuis, who has not only been doing it with his glove, but with clutch hits-was the center of attention this series. The latest feat for the outfielder included driving in the game-ending single to right field for the victory.

“We played very well-to be honest it starts on the hill. We had tremendous pitching this series and so did they,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “Jon (Niese) pitched very well today and deserved a better fortune-he did what a starter was supposed to and that was keep us in the game and gave us a chance to win.”

Helping to set up the game-winner was extremely patient at-bats by the guys in the ninth inning, as David WrightIke DavisJosh Thole all worked out walks to set the stage for what is the at-bat of the season thus far for New York.

It was Justin Turner who worked that epic at-bat, leaving fans on the edge of their seats for 13 pitches before working out the bases-loaded walk, which forced home the game-tying run at the time.

“Tremendous at-bat to fight all of those pitches off, to take that breaking ball,” Collins said of the at-bat. “I mean it was a terrific at-bat-I thought usually closers don’t throw 50 pitches and I think that might have worn him (the reliever) down a bit.”

Nieuwenhuis finished the game driving the ball to right and collecting his first game-ending RBI. ‘Kirk’ now has at least one hit in 11-of-13 games dating to April 13 in Philadelphia, with an average of .354 (17-for-48) with five extra-base hits during this stretch.

“He is going to be a good player, he has done a great job he is a grinds it out every game,” Collins said of his center fielder. “He plays the game hard and he plays the game right-right now he is playing terrific and I hope it continues.”

Also continuing to swing a red-hot stick was Thole, who extended his hitting streak to a career-high nine games with a single in the fourth inning. The backstop is now batting .370 (10-for-27) and is driving the ball to all parts of the field.

There are many things to be proud about if you are a fan of the New York Mets, including the fact that the day’s starting line-up featured nine home-grown players. This is the third time in team history that has happened.

“Ran into Jeff Wilpon just now and I told him you should be very proud today, to see nine homegrown players-technically 10 with Jose Reyes in the box-there were 10 homegrown players on the field when the game started and that is a tribute to the scouts and the player development,” Collins said of the young-stars on the field.

Now the next step for the pitching rotation is to see how they will respond to the absence of Mike Pelfrey. It was announced after the game that the starter is likely to have Tommy John surgery. Chris Schwinden is expected to take the mound for the Mets starting a three-game series with the Colorado Rockies on Friday.

On what he told Pelfrey, Collins had this to say, “I told him what was going to happen and I said that I feel terrible for you, especially with what you had to endure last summer-coming off the big year-the year before .” The Mets skipper continued by saying, “Right now with you pitching as well as you are right now-to have his center back and the command of his curve ball-I mean everything was working and to have this happen is a true shame not only for him but for us.”

Schwinden struck out 17 batters in the four games he pitched while with the Mets in 2011, making his MLB Debut on September 8 vs. Atlanta in Game One of a doubleheader.  The righty has won a ton of accolades while with the Buffalo Bisons, including the Sterling Award recipient, which is for the organization’s Most Valuable Player and the Warren Spahn Most Valuable Pitcher award.

Schwinden is set to take on Colorado lefty Drew Pomeranz (0-1, 6.75 ERA) with Game One between the Mets and the Rockies set to air on the SNY network-with first pitch scheduled for 8:40 p.m.

Tuesday’s Children at Citi Field: The Mets hosted two children, ages 14 and 17 as a part of Take Our Children to Work Day, which is a program organized by Tuesday’s Children. The teens spent the day shadowing the Mets Media Relations Department.

New York was one of 50 businesses from the area opening their doors to Tuesday’s Children.

Daughtry in the Citi: Grammy-nominated Daughtry will headline the Mets Concert Series presented by Duane Read on Friday, July 20, 2012 at Citi Field. Daughtry has recorded four number one hits, while selling over seven million albums. With hits like “No Surprise” and “It’s Not Over” the band has played to sold out concerts around the world.

Written on April 26, 2012 seen originally on the Examiner.com site below:


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