Niese rocked in Mets' 14-5 loss to Blue Jays
TORONTO -- The surprising Mets, who have made an early threat to tilt the balance of power in New York, can consider themselves equals to the Yankees in at least one respect. Both teams are perfectly capable of getting bulldozed by the Blue Jays, who continued their rude treatment of visiting New Yorkers on Friday night.
Jonathon Niese threw what amounted to batting practice Friday in a 14-5 loss to Toronto. Niese (2-2) matched a career high by allowing eight runs, in just three innings, and also served up four homers for the first time as his ERA ballooned to 4.85 from 3.40.
"It seemed like every pitch I threw, that they hit, they just barreled it up, got it up and it flew out," said Niese, who also struck out six.
J.P. Arencibia went deep twice off Niese, including a three-run shot in the first. Yan Gomes added another in the second and Rajai Davis hit the first of his pair with a two-run shot off Niese in the third.
In the first inning, with two on, Niese struck out Jose Bautista looking with a backdoor cutter, then whiffed Edwin Encarnacion with another good cutter. But then he got careless with Arencibia, falling behind 2-and-0 before trying a cutter again -- only this time it wound up over the wall. That was pretty much game over as the Blue Jays kept piling on.
"There's way too much plate," Terry Collins said. "They're squaring him up way too easily. Just because you get through Bautista and Encarnacion doesn't mean the rest of the guys can't do damage. It's a matter of staying focused and not letting the bottom of the order hurt you."
How bad did things get? Rob Johnson -- the backup catcher -- was called in to pitch the eighth inning. Johnson became the first position player to pitch for the Mets since 2004, when Todd Zeile took the mound in a 19-10 loss to the Expos at Montreal. Johnson supplied a perfect eighth, even striking out Eric Thames to end it.
The Mets entered 14-4 against the Blue Jays. It was their first game back at Rogers Centre since 2006. Since his last victory, on April 14 in Philadelphia, Niese is 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in six starts. Not exactly what the Mets were expecting when they signed Niese to a five-year, $25.5-million extension only six weeks ago.
The blowout enabled Collins to lift a sick David Wright in the sixth. He went 1-for-3 with a double that left Wright at .409 heading into a scheduled day off for him Saturday. Scott Hairston hit a three-run homer in the eighth.
Wright sounded terrible before the game. His skin pale, and voice raspy, Wright appeared to be in no condition to play baseball. But Wright figured he could guzzle some grape Pedialyte and make it though one more game.
"I'm all right," Wright said, looking anything but. "Just a little bit under the weather. I think it's just one of those things that takes a couple days to get rid of. After that, I should be good to go."
Remarkably, Wright picked up where he left off Thursday, by punching a ground-rule double that bounced into the rightfield stands. The double was the 1,300th hit of his career, tying him with Jose Reyes for second place on the Mets' all-time list. Ed Kranepool is the leader at 1,418.
Collins opted to use Lucas Duda as the DH, even against the lefthanded Romero, and that strategy backfired badly. Duda struck out three times slotted behind Wright.