Jonathon Niese was supposed to be the Opening Day pitcher for the Mets. Instead, spring setbacks that included two MRIs pushed his first start back to game six, which was Sunday against the Reds. Niese pitched well before faltering and the Mets failed to sweep the Reds.
Ike Davis picked up where he left off Saturday, doubling to the left side in the second inning. By the way, Davis was scheduled to start this game even before his game winning grand slam. Juan Lagares followed with a single to bring home Davis to give the Mets the early 1-0 lead.
Jonathon Niese cruised through five innings but found trouble in the sixth. Three straight singles gave the Reds the bases loaded with no outs. Joey Votto launched a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Ryan Ludwick followed with a single to give the Reds the 2-1 lead. Niese got a ground ball out and was removed from the game. Gonzalez Germen inherited runners in second and third with two outs. He pitched around Todd Frazier, walking him on four pitches (the fourth ball was a wild pitch that went to the backstop and bounced back, holding Phillips at third). He then got Zack Cozart to ground out to end the inning.
Niese went 5.2 innings, allowing two runs on six hits, with four strikeouts and two walks. Jonathon Niese continued the trend of strong early innings by Mets starters, only to stumble in the final inning.
Except for Davis. who had two hits, the Mets could barely reach Reds starter Alfredo Simon. Simon has been a reliever for most of his career but has been thrust into the rotation. All he did was throw seven strong innings, allowing one run on four hits. He struck out six Mets and walked just one.
Just like Saturday, the bullpen did a great job of keeping the Reds off the board, giving the Mets a chance to win the game. But unlike Saturday, the Mets offense could not rise to the occasion, and the Mets go down 2-1.