As a precursor to Friday night’s Citi Field fireworks, Travis d’Arnaud lowered the boom.
With the Mets stuck in familiar territory, having scored a few runs early and then failing to add on, d’Arnaud delivered a go-ahead, two-run double in the eighth inning that sparked a 6-5 victory over the Rangers to snap his team’s four-game losing streak.
The rookie d’Arnaud’s mostly disappointing season needed a highlight, and he got it on his shot to the right-center gap against Jason Frasor.
Since his recall from Triple-A Las Vegas on June 24, d’Arnaud is 10-for-33 (.303) at the plate.
“I hit a ball hard,” d’Arnaud said. “I’m very happy I hit a ball hard and I’m happier we got the win tonight.”
Jon Niese’s night lasted only 12 pitches. The left-hander was drilled in the lower back by Alex Rios’ line drive in the first inning and removed from the game, against his will. Visibly upset, Niese departed the mound and was later diagnosed with a lower-back contusion — X-rays were negative.
Niese is expected to make his next start and indicated he may lobby to pitch Monday or Tuesday, ahead of schedule, so he can make two more appearances before the All-Star break. If the Mets go that route, they potentially can skip Daisuke Matsuzaka in the rotation and move him to the bullpen, with Dillon Gee a possibility to return later in the week.
“I’m fine,” Niese said. “I didn’t want to be taken out and I just felt like I was cheated there just a little bit. I knew it was just a bruise.”
But Niese wasn’t going to win an argument against trainer Ray Ramirez, who insisted he be removed so not to pitch with a more serious ailment, such as a potential broken rib.
Jenrry Mejia pitched 1 ¹/₃ innings, allowing an unearned run in the ninth, and received the victory. The game was mercifully declared over after 4 hours, 8 minutes.
Carlos Torres kept the Mets in the game after Niese’s exit by allowing two earned runs in 4 ²/₃ innings, over which he threw 81 pitches. The veteran right-hander departed with the Mets leading 4-3.
Jeurys Familia allowed an unearned run in the seventh, when the Rangers tied it 4-4. Daniel Murphy’s low throw to Lucas Duda on Elvis Andrus’ grounder leading off the inning — a Murphy error — started the rally.
With runners on the corners and one out, the Mets brought in the infield and got Chris Gimenez to hit a hard grounder that deflected off third baseman Eric Campbell’s body, allowing Andrus to score. Campbell recovered to get the out at first base.