With captain David Wright on the shelf, Michael Cuddyer is the closest thing the Mets have to a reliable veteran leader. Cuddyer was up to the responsibility last night, delivering a two-out, walk-off RBI single to give the Mets a 5-4 victory over the Giants at Citi Field.
Giants reliever Sergio Como hit Curtis Granderson with a pitch with one out, and Granderson advanced to second on a passed ball and reached third on a groundout. Righthander Romo walked lefthanded-hitting Lucas Duda intentionally to face Cuddyer, who drilled the first pitch up the middle for his first walk-off hit as a Met and salvage the final game of the series.
Jeurys Familia (2-0), who pitched the ninth, got the win.
Mets starter Jon Niese came into the game with an 0-4 record in his previous five starts since his last win on May 9, and he had given up 23 earned runs in that span. Manager Terry Collins said, "We need Jon Niese to step up. There's a lot of hype on this young pitching, but he's a veteran guy with a track record. We need somebody to give us some great innings."
The first inning was anything but great for Niese, who gave up singles to Nori Aoki and Joe Panik and walked Angel Pagan to load the bases with no outs before Buster Posey singled to right. Justin Maxwell grounded into a double play as Panik scored for a 2-0 lead before Niese got out of the jam.
Meanwhile, the other side of the Mets' equation wasn't working very well, either. Two nights after being no-hit by unheralded rookie Chris Heston, the warning flags were flying again as former Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum no-hit the Mets through three innings, allowing just one runner on a walk.
In the bottom of the fourth, Duda drew a one-out walk, and Cuddyer reached base on an error by third baseman Matt Duffy. Lincecum got Wilmer Flores to foul out, but his no-hit spell was broken when Travis d'Arnaud blooped a single down the rightfield line to score Duda. Lincecum walked Dilson Herrera to load the bases but escaped with a 2-1 lead when Eric Campbell lined out to left.
A mounting pitch count caught up with Lincecum in the fifth when he gave up a leadoff double to Niese that went to the wall in center and then allowed a single to Granderson that moved Niese to third. The Mets pitcher scored the tying run on a one-out sacrifice fly by Duda before Cuddyer delivered a double that scored Granderson from first base for a 3-2 Mets lead and forced the Giants to lift Lincecum.
Suddenly, it was Niese who was in the driver's seat as he recorded 12 straight outs. But with two outs in the top of the sixth, Maxwell reached base on an error by Campbell at third. Unable to shake it off, Niese proceeded to give up a two-run homer to Brandon Crawford on an 89-mph fastball to restore a 4-3 Giants lead.
Niese left trailing after a 1-2-3 seventh, and the Mets took him off the hook when pinch hitter Darrell Ceciliani doubled off Giants reliever Hunter Strickland to start the bottom of the seventh and scored on Granderson's single to tie it at 4. Juan Lagares singled to drive Strickland from the game, and Javier Lopez came on to face Duda and induced a double-play ball that moved Granderson to third. Giants reliever George Kontos then came in to face Cuddyer, who flied out to right.
Notes & quotes: The Mets activated reliever Bobby Parnell and called up Herrera to play second . . . Catcher Kevin Plawecki remained on the roster but unavailable while the cause of his dizziness is being diagnosed . . . General manager Sandy Alderson expects Daniel Murphy to return when he's eligible to come off the DL on June 20 . . . Alderson said Long Island's Steven Matz's innings pitched are being "managed" in Las Vegas to preserve his availability later.