Jonathon Niese finally won at Citi Field and David Wright even cleared the fence. Whenever they play at home these days, everything seems to go right for the New York Mets.
Niese pitched brilliantly in his return from the disabled list and Wright hit a rare long ball at home, sending the Mets to a 6-1 victory over the Florida Marlins on Saturday.
Wright drove in three runs and rookie Ike Davis went 4 for 4 to break out of a slump as New York improved to 21-9 at Citi Field with its seventh straight home win. Jeff Francoeur had an RBI single and Ruben Tejada a run-scoring double off Nate Robertson (4-5), who beat the Mets twice this season.
Setting a quick pace and throwing a sharp curveball, Niese (2-2) scattered six hits over seven innings for his first career win in nine starts at the spacious ballpark in Queens.
"It was more a relief than anything," Niese said.
The 23-year-old left-hander had been sidelined since straining his right hamstring early in a 10-8 loss at Florida on May 16. He entered 0-2 with a 5.63 ERA against the Marlins this year.
Jenrry Mejia and Fernando Nieve finished up for the Mets, who have won 17 of 21 at Citi Field. New York, which is 8-18 on the road, has taken the first two games of a three-game series after dropping six meetings in a row to the Marlins.
"If you watch us play at home, I expect us to win the division," Francoeur said. "We’ve accepted we’re going to play to our advantage with this field."
Back on a big league mound after one minor league rehab assignment, Niese struck out six, walked one and induced a pair of inning-ending double plays in a game that took just 2 hours, 15 minutes. He did not go to a three-ball count until facing Jorge Cantu leading off the seventh.
"It looked to me like he changed speeds and commanded all his pitches and didn’t give in," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He made some nice pitches when we had him on the ropes."
Davis doubled to start the second, ending a 5-for-38 skid (.132). Francoeur hit an RBI single and Tejada, who has provided a surprising offensive spark since coming up from the minors Friday, cracked a run-scoring double off the left-field fence.
Angel Pagan hit a leadoff double in the third and scored on Davis’ one-out single. Wright followed with a long drive onto a second-tier balcony in the left-field corner for his 10th home run this season – equaling last year’s total.
"It’s just a number. Home runs don’t really mean that much to me," Wright said. "It’s not that big of a deal. The important thing is when they come."
It was Wright’s first homer at Citi Field since connecting off Florida ace Josh Johnson on opening day, and seventh here since the ballpark opened last year.
"This really is a park that you have to be able to hit the ball down the lines," Wright said. "I don’t really consider myself that good of a pull hitter. I like to try to stay up the middle. It felt good to be able to pull the ball and then the next at-bat be able to stay on the ball and go up the middle. So hopefully that’s a good sign."
Davis doubled again with two outs in the fifth and scored on Wright’s single, making it 6-0. Davis also singled leading off the eighth.
"I just felt good today swinging the bat," Davis said. "Been working on some things, just slowing it down a little bit. Happened to find the barrel a couple times. It feels good to find some grass out there."
Dan Uggla doubled in the seventh and scored on Ronny Paulino’s single, spoiling Niese’s shutout bid.
Robertson yielded six runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings. He is 0-2 in four starts since beating the Mets on May 15.
"Not good," Robertson said. "Didn’t give the team much of a chance. Five runs after three, pretty deep hole."
NOTES: To make roster room for Niese, the Mets put struggling LHP Oliver Perez on the 15-day disabled list with patella tendinitis in his right knee. … The Mets have not allowed a home run at Citi Field in eight games. … Davis is slated to ring the NASDAQ Opening Bell on Monday, the morning of the first-year player draft, along with Hall of Famers Tommy Lasorda, Frank Robinson and Billy Williams. Davis was the 18th overall selection in the 2008 draft. … Mets CF Carlos Beltran, recovering from offseason knee surgery, went 1 for 5 with an RBI single and two walks as the DH in his second extended spring training game. … Davis’ four hits were a career best. … New York has won seven of its past eight series at home. … Mets starters are 10-2 with a 2.33 ERA in the last 18 games.