New York Mets breeze past Texas Rangers 8-4

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New York Mets defeated the Texas Rangers Sunday afternoon by a final score of 8-4. The Rangers battled back from a six run deficit in the top of the eighth scoring three runs on two home runs, but ultimately came up short. Zack Wheeler earned his fourth win of the year improving to 4-8 on the year.

It was Wheeler’s first win at home this season. Wheeler pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowed just one run on six hits, walking two batters and striking out four. Nick Tepesch took the loss for the Rangers, dropping to 3-4 on the year. Tepesch went six innings, allowing six runs on five hits, walking four and striking out four batters. Mets catcher Anthony Recker was the star of the game with a three run homer in the bottom of the first.

Before the game the Mets officially placed lefty ace Jonathon Niese on the 15 day disabled list with a left shoulder strain and journeyman reliever Buddy Carlyle was recalled from AAA Las Vegas. In his post-game comment Mets manager Terry Collins said that the decision to place Niese on the disabled list is simply to rest him. Niese will still throw a bullpen session later this week. Collins also confirmed rumors that starter Dillon Gee will make his first appearance for New York in two months taking Niese’s spot in the rotation for Wednesday’s game against the Atlanta Braves.

It was also announced later in the evening that second baseman Daniel Murphy had been selected as a reserve for the MLB All-Star Game next week. It is Murphy’s first All-Star selection. Murphy is the lone Mets representative.

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Early on

After the Rangers failed to score in the top of the first, right fielder Curtis Granderson led off the bottom of the first with a walk. Both Daniel Murphy and third baseman David Wright flied out to center for the first two outs. First baseman Lucas Duda then scorched a ball to left field. Rangers left fielder Shin-Soo Choo failed to cut the ball off and it rolled all the way to the wall. Granderson raced his way all the way to home as Duda landed safely with an RBI double giving the Mets an early 1-0 lead.

Left fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed with a walk, and centerfielder Juan Lagares blooped a single to center. Duda scored to make it 2-0 New York and Nieuwenhuis advanced to third on the play. After a visit to the mound from Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux, Lagares stole second, his second stolen base of the year. Anthony Recker then hooked a shot into the left field corner for a three run homer extending the lead to 5-0 Mets. Ruben Tejada walked, but Zack Wheeler struck out swinging to end the inning. Neither team scored for the next two innings.

Both third baseman Adrien Beltre and centerfielder Leonis Martin grounded out to third leading off the top of the fourth. Catcher Robinson Chirinos then lined a shot down the left field line that just nicked the wall above the fence for a solo home run, putting Texas on the board 5-1. First baseman Carlos Peña walked, but second baseman Rougened Odor grounded out weakly to third to retire the side. Both teams failed to score for the next two innings.

On the first pitch of the bottom of the sixth, Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a bomb into the bullpen in right center stretching the Mets lead to 6-1. Juan Lagares lined out to center, and both Anthony Recker & Ruben Tejada popped out to second to end the inning.

Pena dominates

Carlos Peña started the top of the seventh with a double. Rougened Odor flied out to center for the first out. Outfielder Michael Choice pinch-hit for Nick Tepesch and lined a single to left, moving Peña to third. That was it for Zack Wheeler as manager Terry Collins pulled the young starter and in came lefty reliever Dana Eveland. Eveland struck out Shin-Soo Choo swinging, but Eveland was pulled for right-handed flamethrower Vic Black. Elvis Andrus lined a shot to the gap in left center, but Juan Lagares raced it down to retire the side.\

In the bottom of the seventh, outfielder Eric Young Jr. pinch-hit for Black and grounded out to second. Curtis Granderson walked and was driven in on a double by Daniel Murphy increasing the Mets lead to 7-1. David Wright reached on a fielder’s choice and Murphy was forced out at third. Lucas Duda lined out to right to end the inning.

Late on

Alex Rios led off the top of the eight with a blast off reliever Gonzalez Germen and into the left field seats, making it 7-2 New York. Adrien Beltre lined a single to right and Leonys Martin lined a shot into the stands in right field cutting the Mets lead to 7-4. Robinson Chirinos struck out swinging for the first out, but that would end Germen’s day. In came setup man Jeurys Familia to get the final two outs. Carlos Peña grounded out to third for the second out. Rougened Odor then lined a double down the left field line. Catcher Chris Giminez pinch-hit for reliever Jason Frasor, who pitched the seventh inning for Texas, and struck out swinging to retire the side.

Giminez stayed in the game to play first, replacing Carlos Peña, as part of a double switch with lefty specialist Aaron Poreda. Kirk Nieuwenhuis walked to lead off the bottom of the eighth. Poreda was pulled and in came reliever Neftali Feliz. Nieuwenhuis stole second base his first swiped bag of the year and moved to third on a sacrifice fly by Juan Lagares. Anthony Recker hit a soft liner that was caught by Leonis Martin in center. Ruben Tejada then lined a single to center scoring Nieuwenhuis to stretch the lead to 8-4. Outfielder Bobby Abreu pinch-hit for Jeurys Familia and grounded out to second to retire the side. Mets closer Jenrry Mejia pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to end the game.

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