Duda's 3-run homer in the 7th helped make Jon Niese's last start of the season stand up as the Mets knocked off the playoff-bound Braves, 3-1.
The Good Stuff:
- Down 1-0 in the 7th, the Mets offense had been silenced all night by Tim Hudson. But Hudson's Nyquil was about to run out: Daniel Murphy led off with his 39th double. David Wright lined out, and Ike Davis was walked intentionally to get to Scott Hairston, who struck out. That brought up Lucas Duda, who battled off two foul balls after going down in the count early. He fouled the 8th pitch off after getting a couple more balls, and on a 3-2 sinker, the 9th pitch of the at-bat, Bid Dude launched a no-doubter to right center. 3-1 Good Guys.
- Those runs were all Jon Niese needed in his Solid Seven outing. He finished allowing just a solo home run and 3 other hits, with 3 walks and 3 strikeouts.
- His final stats of 2012: 30 starts, 190.1 innings pitched, 13-9 record, 3.40 ERA, 155 strikeouts, 1.17 WHIP. His 22 home runs against is a concern, but overall a very nice season by a man who gives the Mets a strong #3 starter, something every team needs.
- Manny Acosta, Justin Hampson, and Bobby Parnell combined for 2 hitless innings after Niese made his exit, with Parnell picking up his 6th save and 2nd in as many nights.
- New York had the chance to add more runs in the 8th, loading the bases with one out, but David Wright grounded into a 5/5-3 double play to end the threat. He finished 0-4 on the day, dropping his average to .306.
And the wins just keep on coming! Niese capped a very encouraging season, Duda had one of the best battles at the plate he's had in a while, and the Mets spoiled a special night for a man who has spoiled many a night in Flushing through the years.
The Mets are still on track to do technically better than last season: at 73-84, they can win the rest of their games and finish with one more win than they had last season. Small victories, but victories nonetheless.