Jonathon Niese’s One-Hit Gem Helps Mets Split Doubleheader

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NEW YORK — Jonathon Niese pitched a
one-hitter for his first career complete game and the New York Mets
overcame a triple play to beat the San Diego Padres 3-0 on Thursday
night for a doubleheader split.

Niese allowed only Chris Denorfia's
leadoff double in the third inning, his second stellar start since
coming off the disabled list Saturday. He faced 28 batters, one more
than the minimum, in New York's first complete game this season.

Mat Latos outpitched Johan Santana in
the opener, and San Diego stopped New York's nine-game home winning
streak with a 4-2 victory.

Adrian Gonzalez had three hits for the
Padres, including a go-ahead single. David Eckstein and Chase Headley
added RBI doubles.

Latos and three relievers combined to
retire the final 22 Mets after Henry Blanco's two-run homer in the
second inning, one of New York's season-low two hits. Jose Reyes opened
the game with an infield single.

Niese (3-2) topped that, however,
striking out six and walking none in his fifth career win. He retired
his last 21 in a game that took only 2 hours, 18 minutes.

The last Mets pitcher to throw a
complete-game, one-hitter that lasted the full nine innings was Aaron
Heilman
on April 15, 2005, against Florida.

Niese received a warm ovation when he
came out for the ninth. The 23-year-old lefty took a cream pie in the
face from teammate Angel Pagan during a postgame interview.

Chris Carter hit a leadoff double in
the second off Jon Garland (6-4) and scored on Jeff Francoeur's bloop
single.

With runners on first and second,
rookie Ruben Tejada hit a one-hopper at Headley. He stepped on third and
threw to second baseman Lance Zawadzki, whose relay beat Tejada by at
least a step.

It was the eighth triple play in
Padres history and first since May 19, 1997, when pitcher Andy Ashby,
shortstop Chris Gomez and first baseman Archi Cianfrocco did it against
Cincinnati's Ed Taubensee.

The Mets hit into their 10th triple
play. Francoeur lined into an unassisted one to end a game against
Philadelphia last Aug. 23.

Niese drew a leadoff walk in the
third and went to third base when catcher Yorvit Torrealba threw wildly
past first for an error on Reyes' bunt single. David Wright had a
run-scoring groundout and Ike Davis followed with a two-out RBI single.

The Mets took two of three from
surprising San Diego for their eighth win in the past nine series at
home. New York is 24-10 at Citi Field.

The nightcap was a makeup of
Wednesday night's rainout.

The lack of run support in the opener
was nothing new for Santana (4-3), who pitched 15 shutout innings over
his previous two starts without getting a decision. This time, he
squandered a two-run lead and took the loss.

"There's not much I can do," Santana
said. "I just have to pitch my game. I know that sooner or later the
offense is going to pick up."

The 22-year-old Latos (6-4) allowed
only two hits in six innings and struck out eight. The right-hander set
down his last 13 batters, improving to 5-1 with a 1.96 ERA and 47
strikeouts in his last seven starts.

"He's got great stuff. He's got just
as good stuff as anybody in the league," Gonzalez said. "When you
execute your pitches with that kind of stuff, you're going to have
success."

Then, the Padres turned to their
dominant bullpen. Luke Gregerson fanned all three batters in the
seventh, Mike Adams worked a perfect eighth and ex-Met Heath Bell
pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 20 chances.

"We have a great TEAM," Bell said.
"You put us individually, we might not be the best guys out there. But
you put us together, and we're solid."

Notes
Santana's scoreless streak
ended at 18 2-3 innings in the opener. … Mets bullpen coach Randy
Niemann
left the club to attend his mother's funeral in California. Rick
Waits
, the team's minor league pitching coordinator, will fill in
through Saturday.

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