New York Mets starting pitcher Jonathon Niese. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK -- Exiting a game after receiving little run support is nothing new for New York Mets left-hander Jonathon Niese. He could get used to watching from the bench as his teammates turn a loss or a no-decision into a win.
Second baseman Daniel Murphy's two-out, two-run single in the seventh inning Monday night broke a tie and capped a three-run rally by the Mets, who went on to beat the Colorado Rockies 4-2 at Citi Field.
The outburst made a winner out of Niese (7-9), who allowed two runs on six hits and no walks while striking out five over seven innings. He was in line for a tough-luck loss or no-decision when he was pinch-hit for by Juan Uribe in the bottom of the seventh inning with the Mets down 2-1.
"It's a lot of fun," Niese said. "I'm rooting for those guys. It was really good to see those guys grind out at-bats and get on base."
The Mets loaded the bases against Rockies right-hander Justin Miller via a one-out single by catcher Travis d'Arnaud, a walk by left fielder Michael Conforto and a two-out walk by shortstop Ruben Tejada.
D'Arnaud trotted home when left-hander Boone Logan plunked right fielder Curtis Granderson with a 3-2 pitch. Murphy singled just past ex-Mets shortstop Jose Reyes on the next pitch and pumped his right arm as Conforto and Tejada scored.
It was the second consecutive start in which Niese earned the win after the Mets produced the victorious rally in the inning in which he was lifted for a pinch hitter. On Aug. 4, the Mets snapped a tie with the Miami Marlins by scoring four runs in the eighth inning of a 5-1 triumph.
"Our lineup is unbelievable one through nine," Niese said, "so at any given point, we know that we can bust out for three or four runs."
Until recently, that was rarely the case for Niese and the Mets, who scored three runs or fewer in 77 of the southpaw's 170 career starts.
The Mets appeared headed for another quiet night offensively when Rockies right-hander Jon Gray, who was making his second big league start, allowed just one hit -- a second-inning homer by d'Arnaud -- through six innings before he was lifted after throwing 75 pitches.
"It was one of those games -- probably a year ago, we don't win that game," Mets manager Terry Collins said.
However, New York revamped its lineup in late July, when it acquired Uribe, utility man Kelly Johnson and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. The Mets are 11-4 and have scored 82 runs since July 25. They scored 84 runs in 33 games from June 15 through July 24.
"With what they're doing right now, the confidence that they have, tonight we win those kind of games," Collins said.
Right-hander Tyler Clippard and Jeurys Familia (31st save) each threw a perfect inning as the Mets (60-52) snapped a two-game losing streak and ensured they would remain at least 1 1/2 games ahead of the Washington Nationals in the National League East. The Nationals played the Dodgers in Los Angeles late Monday.
Gray, the Rockies' first-round pick in 2013, showed off a mid-90s fastball and a high-80s slider during an impressive performance in which he walked two and struck out five.
"Big stage for him -- second major league start, making it in New York against a first-place club," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said. "I think he passed the test tonight."
Right fielder Carlos Gonzalez accounted for the Rockies' runs with a two-run, opposite-field homer in the fourth that gave Colorado a 2-1 lead. He is hitting .363 with 13 homers and 29 RBIs in 80 at-bats since the All-Star break.
"That ball was scorched," Weiss said. "We know what he's capable of, and he's locked in right now."
Catcher Nick Hundley had two hits for the Rockies (47-63), who lost for the eighth time in 12 games.
NOTES: The Mets activated LF Michael Cuddyer from the 15-day disabled list and optioned INF/OF Eric Campbell to Triple-A Las Vegas. Cuddyer missed 17 games with soreness in his left knee. ... Mets 3B David Wright (spinal stenosis) began a rehab assignment with Class A St. Lucie on Monday night, when he served as the designated hitter and went 1-for-3 with a run. Wright, the Mets' captain, hasn't played in the majors since April 14. ... Rockies CF Charlie Blackmon didn't start due to a minor ankle injury but entered in a double switch in the seventh inning. Manager Walt Weiss said Blackmon, who has played 109 of the Rockies' 110 games, is fine and that he just wanted to get him a little rest. ... The Rockies are in the midst of a 16-game stretch in which they play the Mets and Washington Nationals, the top two teams in the NL East, 13 times.