Jonathon Niese was nice on the mound and at the plate. So were the rest of the Mets.
The Opening Day starter allowed just two runs and four hits over 6 ½ innings and went 2 for 2 with a four-pitch walk as the Mets trounced the Padres 11-2 Monday in front of a sellout crowd of 41,053, running their record in Citi Field home openers to 4-0.
“I’m not gonna lie, the adrenaline was pumping (before the game),” Niese (1-0) said of making his first Opening Day start, “but I prepared as if it was any other game.”
The Mets could have come away with an easy win without Niese’s hitting contributions. They already had built a 7-2 lead entering their half of the seventh when center fielder Collin Cowgill lined his first career grand slam over the left field fence.
“It’s a special day,” Cowgill said. “It’s my first time being in an Opening Day lineup, so a lot of jitters.”
The ball bounced just above the orange home run line, and at first all the hitters on base treated the ricochet as a live ball. Cowgill who, went 2 for 5 and also added a double in the fourth, got all the way to third on a sprint before he realized it was a home run.
“I just saw [Carlos] Quentin going after it and, as soon as I saw it kick — I didn’t see where it hit off the wall — he was running after it hit the wall. I was just trying to get a triple ... I got to enjoy it for about 90 feet.”
The Mets victimized San Diego starter Edinson Volquez (0-1) for six earned runs in three innings.
No fooling Mets on April 1 opener
Baseball players are notorious practical jokers, so perhaps the biggest joke of all was that, on April Fools’ Day, there weren’t any to speak of Monday.
“We were halfway through the game when I realized it was April Fools’ Day, and nothing had happened,” reserve catcher Anthony Recker said. “I was surprised.”
Center fielder Collin Cowgill chalked it up to staying focused on Opening Day.
“I’m sure the April Fools’ stuff will have to wait for a couple of days,” said Cowgill of the absent jokes.
Although Cowgill said he’s waiting for the top prankster to emerge on this team, both he and Recker named David Wright and Ike Davis as the two most likely candidates.
“I think most of the veteran guys because they know they can get away with a lot of stuff,” Recker said.