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Niese's nice outing fuels Mets

The SportsXchange

SAN DIEGO -- In his second start since coming off the disabled list, Jonathon Niese delivered in impressive fashion against the San Diego Padres.

Niese struck out nine -- six of those coming in the first two innings -- and allowed a run and six hits in six innings, leading the New York Mets to a 5-2 decision over the Padres on Friday night before an announced crowd of 25,604 at Petco Park.

"All game, the arm felt great," said Niese, who missed 52 days after going on the disabled list on June 22 with a partially torn rotator cuff before returning Aug. 11 and posting a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. "I didn't feel anything in the shoulder. It felt good. The offense giving me an early lead like that felt pretty comfortable."

Marlon Byrd, Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy homered for the Mets (56-64), who defeated San Diego for the fourth time in five meetings. The Padres (54-68) have lost three in a row and six of their last eight.

Niese (5-6), who threw 111 pitches (68 strikes), walked one and also hit a batter. He beat the Padres for the second time this season. The other win occurred on April 1.

"He obviously started off really good (with) two hits and six strikeouts in his first two innings," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "It's all about getting him back. The only way he's going to get back is to just pitch. Certainly, he did a good job. But he had to work hard."

LaTroy Hawkins worked the ninth, giving up a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Jaff Decker before picking up his fourth save.

The Mets tagged Padres starter Ian Kennedy for five runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. Kennedy (4-9) struck out seven and walked four. He lost to the Mets for the first time in his career after winning four of his five previous starts against them.

"His stuff was good as evidenced by the seven strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings, so it wasn't that his stuff wasn't crisp," Padres manager Bud Black said. "The fastball location wasn't where it was in Cincinnati five days ago. And that came back to bite him.

"He left the ball out over the plate to Davis. The back breaker was the homer to Murphy."

Murphy's two-run shot into the bleachers in right gave the Mets a 5-1 cushion, which was too much for the Padres to overcome.

"I wasn't as sharp as I wanted to be command-wise all night, which explains why there were so many home runs," said Kennedy, who has a 4-1 mark with a 4.25 ERA in six starts against the Mets. "They talk about pitching (in Petco) well. It doesn't matter if you make mistakes anywhere, they go out. They really got me."

Reserve catcher Anthony Recker had a career-high three hits and a walk for the Mets. Recker, who entered the game batting .170, led off the second inning with a double and scored on a groundout by Eric Young Jr. for a 1-0 Mets lead.

Byrd and Davis drilled consecutive pitches off Kennedy into the seats to open the third. Byrd, who went 2-for-4, drove a 0-1 pitch an estimated 413 feet over the wall in center. Davis followed by hitting the first pitch he saw an estimated 414 feet into the Jack Daniels pavilion in right for a 3-0 Mets lead.

Byrd's homer -- his 19th of the season -- allowed him to record extra base hits in three consecutive games. He has homered 13 times since June 1.

In the bottom of the fourth, Will Venable hit his career-high 16th home run an estimated 418 feet to right to cut the gap to 3-1. Eleven of Venable homers have come at Petco. He also extended his hitting streak to 13 games, another career best.

Yonder Alonso went 1-for-4 and drove in a run for the Padres. Teammate Jedd Gyorko went 3-for-4 with a double.

NOTES: Mets C John Buck, who initially was in the starting lineup, was put on the paternity list. Recker replaced him. ... New York 3B Wilmer Flores performed some running drills before the game and could be available before the end of the series. Flores hasn't started since twisting his right ankle in Monday's loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... Mets OF Juan Lagares, who has been struggling at the plate, didn't start but appeared late in the game as a pinch hitter. Lagares is hitless in his last 14 at-bats.
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