- Last Updated: 12:00 PM, August 2, 2012
- Posted: 3:18 AM, August 2, 2012
SAN FRANCISCO —- Terry Collins peered into his crystal ball and saw this one coming from Jon Niese last night.
“The one thing I’ve seen out of him after he’s had a bad outing, he steps it up and gives you a pretty good one,” the manager said before Niese’s gem led the Mets to a 2-1 victory over the Giants at AT&T Park.
After bombing in his previous start at Arizona on Friday, the lefty pitched a three-hitter over seven innings, allowing only a run, to help the Mets win for the fourth time in seven games on this road trip. The Mets (51-54) will have a chance for the series victory this afternoon, when Chris Young faces Barry Zito.
The good news for the Mets is they continue to receive solid starting pitching, as Niese’s performance piggybacked strong outings by R.A. Dickey, Jeremy Hefner and Matt Harvey.
“That’s the beauty of this game, when you have outings like [Friday], the next five days you start all over again,” Niese said. “You start with a clean slate.”
It could have been easier for the Mets, but they hit into a double play in each of the last three innings. Collins said the Mets probably should have scored nine runs in the game.
In the ninth, Jason Bay hit a line drive that pitcher Brad Penny snagged, turning it into an inning-ending double play.
Josh Thole was called out as part of a double play in the eighth, after catcher Buster Posey’s throw to first hit Thole — who was running in the base line — in the left shoulder.
With the bases loaded and nobody out, Thole hit a chopper to first. Brett Pill threw home for the force before Posey’s return throw nailed Thole. The Mets ended up not scoring, as Ryan Theriot made a diving stop to rob Ruben Tejada, ending the inning.
The Mets had a chance to build a cushion in the seventh, loading the bases with one out before Ike Davis hit into an inning-ending double play against lefty reliever Javier Lopez.
“We had lots of chances,” Collins said.
Niese took a shutout into the sixth, when Posey slammed an 87-mph cutter for a solo homer that sliced the Mets’ lead to 2-1. Niese to that point had been working on a one-hitter — Marco Scutaro’s single leading off the second was the only hit.
Against the Diamondbacks in his previous start, Niese allowed eight runs — six of which were earned — over six innings, and pitching coach Dan Warthen later voiced displeasure that the lefty didn’t use his change-up enough.
“Josh [Thole] did a good job calling offspeed pitches and having the fastball command made the offspeed pitches better,” Niese said
Niese (8-5) struck out five and walked two over the seven innings to get his first victory since beating the Phillies on July 3. Last night also marked the sixth time in his last seven starts that Niese lasted at least seven innings.
The Mets rallied with three straight singles in the second inning — including one by Niese — to load the bases before Jordany Valdespin hit into a fielder’s choice, giving the Mets a 2-0 lead. Thole and Tejada had the other hits in the inning. But Matt Cain (10-4) struck out David Wright with the bases loaded to escape serious trouble.
A night after making a big throwing error in Harvey’s first major league loss, Tejada homered on the second pitch of the game. It snapped a string of 629 at-bats without a homer for Tejada, who just missed clearing the fence in left-center on Tuesday.Follow @NYPostsports