After helping the Mets rally for a victory, Beltran will try to help them win for the ninth time in 10 games on Wednesday when they close out a three-game series against the NL East-rival Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.
Beltran’s .374 batting average ties him for the National League lead, but he’s also produced six homers and a team-high 25 RBIs. The All-Star center fielder has driven in 11 of those runs, while hitting .333 (12 for 36) with four homers, in helping New York (18-14) win eight of its last nine.
That run has also come with Delgado struggling with an aching right hip that has caused the first baseman to miss six of the last 14 games, including each of the last two.
Delgado is batting .298 with four homers and 23 RBIs, but the Mets are expected to rest him for a few more days before deciding by Friday whether to put him on the disabled list.
With Delgado out again Tuesday, Beltran picked up the offensive slack by going 2 for 4 and drawing a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 10th to give New York a 4-3 victory over Atlanta (16-17), completing a comeback from a three-run, eighth-inning deficit. It was the first time in 12 tries the Mets rallied to win when trailing after seven innings, and came after Monday’s 8-3 loss in the series opener.
Beltran also scored the tying run after hitting a double and stealing third in the ninth.
“He can take over a game. That’s basically what he did (Tuesday),” Mets manager Jerry Manuel said.
Beltran has done his part in four games - three wins - against the Braves this season, going 7 for 15 with two homers and five RBIs.
Niese, one of New York’s top pitching prospects, was solid in his season debut Friday, yielding two runs and seven hits with five strikeouts in six innings while not getting a decision in a 7-3 win over Pittsburgh. That performance came a day after the left-hander was recalled from Triple-A Buffalo, where he was 0-2 with a 6.55 ERA in five starts.
“Can I pitch better? Probably,” Niese told the Mets’ official Web site. “I just pounded the zone and kept the ball down. Let them hit it, just don’t leave it over the middle of the plate.”
Niese got his first career win in his only meeting against Atlanta on Sept. 13, scattering six hits with seven strikeouts in eight innings of a 5-0 win.
The Braves, who saw their three-game winning streak end Tuesday, hope Jo-Jo Reyes(notes) (0-2, 5.48) can win for the first time since June 13. The left-hander is 0-9 with a 6.61 ERA in his last 18 games - 17 starts. Over that stretch, he’s started three games against the Mets and is 0-1 with an 8.74 ERA.
He’s allowed Beltran to go 3 for 6 against him.
Reyes lost again Friday, allowing eight runs and five hits - three homers - with six strikeouts in five innings of a 10-6 defeat to Philadelphia.