The New York Mets (31-23) had a Hall of Fame Day in their 6-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals (27-27) in MLB action on Sunday. With the victory New York now stands in a three-way tie in the National League East standings with Washington and Miami.
On the day that closer John Franco was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame, the Mets starters continued to shine as the hurlers have won their last seven decisions dating back to May 25.
“He (Franco) has been a good friend of mine for many years and it is certainly a well-deserved honor,” said Mets manager Terry Collins of the latest inductee into the franchises Hall of Fame. “I am very happy and proud of him and proud to know that he is a friend of mine and he is deserving of this honor.”
Starter Jon Niese (4-2) struck out a career-high 10 batters before exiting due to a rapid heartbeat; it is the second time that the lefty has had this sensation-as the hurler felt this during the 2011 season.
“I think this is as good as he’s thrown the ball in a while,” said Collins on Niese’s start. “The fastball had some life, he used his curveball very effectively; he used his changeup-I thought he did very well.”
Collins had this to say on the rapid heartbeat, “We are going to have him checked out tomorrow, he had it last year in Texas, and he had it tonight. There has not been an issue in the past but we do want to get things checked as a precaution.”
The Mets staff recorded their 18th double-digit strikeout game, which is tied for second-most in the majors with the Phillies and the Yankees.
“That is what you want is when guys are pitching well to compete against each other,” Collins said of how his pitching staff has performed as of late. “Tomorrow I want Dillon to stand up and say-I am going to do that same thing. When you can do that, you will have a pretty dynamic staff, especially with the staff that we have because they can all pitch.”
Leading the way offensively for the Mets was Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Andres Torres, who both finished the game with three hits each. Nieuwenhuis set a career-high three RBIs and continues to make life interesting for Terry Collins with the return of Jason Bay imminent.
“We are going to have to figure out something,” Collins said on what Nieuwenhuis’ role will be once Bay returns. “We are very happy with the way Kirk is playing, but we’ve got to get Jason back here and in the line-up.”
Torres was a homer shy of the cycle, and will get a chance to show the Orange and Blue faithful what he can do with the recent injury to hero Mike Baxter, who sacrificed his shoulder for Johan Santana’s perfect game on Friday.
“He has got to get on for us, because whenever Andres is on base he scores,” said Collins on what has to be done to get his outfielder going. “He can score on just about any situation, he can steal bases and tonight I thought the hit off Cleto will help get him going. We just need for him to continue what he is doing right now.”
Making his MLB Debut for New York was Elvin Ramirez, who allowed the lone St. Louis run in the eighth inning. The young reliever was also beaned by a baseball during the course of his stint, also recorded his first strikeout in the frame.
“I think he is okay,” Collins said of the hit that Ramirez took. “I wanted to get his feet wet and told him after I took him out to relax and be himself and pitch like he did in Buffalo. The hitters are a little bit better here, but his stuff is really good so I am glad that we were able to get him in there.”
The series with the Mets and the Cardinals will conclude on Monday as Dillon Gee (4-3, 4.69 ERA) takes on Kyle Lohse (5-1, 3.66 ERA). The finale is set to air on the SNY Network with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 p.m.
Injuries News and Notes: Jason Bay went 2-for-3 with an RBI for St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League versus the Tampa Yankees. Ruben Tejada will join Buffalo (AAA) of the International League tomorrow at Toledo.
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