Jonathon Niese and Edwin Jackson engaged in an old fashioned pitchers duel Saturday night in Washington, but in the end Niese was better as the Mets walked away with a win.
Both teams threatened in their respective halves of the first inning. Mike Baxter reached on a triple with one out but was stranded at third. The Nationals had runners on second and third with two outs but they could not score.
Then the pitchers took over. Ruben Tejada reached on an error in the third, but that was all the offense the Mets could manage against Jackson. Until the seventh inning, that is, when Jackson walked David Wright to lead off the inning. Ike Davis followed by drilling a pitch over the wall in left to give the Mets a 2-0 lead.
Those were the only hits Jackson allowed over seven innings as well as the only walk. He struck out 11 Mets.
As good as Jackson was, Niese was masterful. He scattered five hits over 7.1 innings, striking out seven and walking no one. Terry Collins lifted him with one out in the eighth after throwing 109 pitches, turning the game over to the dreaded Mets bullpen. It looked like Niese had more in the tank, but Collins made his decision.
Jon Rauch got the final two outs of the eighth inning, and the embattled Frank Francisco came on for the ninth. The inning started with a scare — Ryan Zimmerman hit a shot into the corner in right that Mike Baxter chased down and made a very similar shoulder-into-the-wall catch that he made to save Johan Santana’s no-hitter. This wall was apparently softer because Baxter’s shoulder remained in one piece. Francisco struck out Michael Morse for the second out and got Adam LaRoche on a grounder to first for the save.
Mets win 2-0 as Niese gets his 10th win of the season.