The Mets gambled and lost with Jon Niese, but somehow managed to win a game that easily could have gone the other way.
GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins knew Niese had a sore left knee, but started him anyway in hope of getting as much as they could.
They got one-third of an inning.
Niese worked to four hitters – with three reaching base and eventually scoring – before leaving the game.
“After [Niese] walked the first hitter, you could tell something was wrong with him,” Collins said.
Collins said he doesn’t expect Niese to make his next start and will likely end up on the disabled list. That start could end up going to Robert Gsellman, who came up from Triple-A Las Vegas and pitched 3.2 innings in long relief in his major league debut and got the win in the Mets’ 7-4 victory over the Cardinals.
With the victory the Mets moved to within 3.5 games of St. Louis for second wild card. The victory gave the Mets their first three-game winning streak since the first week
The other two storylines were the bullpen and production from unexpected sources.
BULLPEN STELLAR: The Mets got 8.2 innings from the pen, which means deGrom needs to go deep Wednesday night.
“They told me to be ready and I was,” Gsellman told reporters.
In addition to Gsellman’s 3.2 scoreless innings, the Met got two innings from Josh Smoker; one-third of an inning from Jerry Blevins; two-thirds of an inning from Jim Henderson; and an inning each from Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia.
Henderson entered the game with two on and one out in the seventh, he got the final two outs, including striking out Jedd Gyorko to end the inning.
Reed also had two runners on against him in the eighth, but got Matt Carpenter on a fly to center.
THE UNEXPECTED: If the Mets are going to sneak in, they’ll need production from the unexpected, and that’s what they got.
The Mets also got a run-saving play from Cabrera to end the fourth, and a homer-robbing catch from Cespedes off Stephen Piscotty’s long fly in the sixth.