Fernando continues to shoulder load

Fernando Nieve made his 20th relief appearance Sunday. He’s on pace for 105 appearances this season, which would shatter the franchise records Pedro Feliciano has set in consecutive seasons, with 86 in 2008 and then 88 last season.

No Mets pitcher had ever appeared in 20 of the team’s first 31 games, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The highest previous total had been 18, done four times, most recently by Feliciano in ’09. The last major league pitcher to appear in 20 of his team’s first 31 games: Brian Fuentes with the Colorado Rockies in 2005.

MAN OF STEAL: Jose Reyes had two steals and has swiped a base in three straight games, his first time doing so since May 8-10, 2009 -- in his final games before getting shut down. He also has seven straight successful attempts.

RIGHT APPROACH: Despite the Mets leaving two runners in scoring position in the first inning when Jason Bay and David Wright consecutively struck out on sliders from Tim Lincecum, the Mets felt like they did well against the reigning National League Cy Young winner.

Lincecum lasted only six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out eight and walking two. It matched his shortest outing this season.

Lincecum threw 19.3 pitches per inning Sunday. He was averaging 15.3 pitches per inning this season, according to ESPN Sports & Information.

The Mets are the only team against which Lincecum has at least three starts and remains winless.

“Usually when you watch Lincecum pitch, he throws seven, eight innings,” right fielder Jeff Francoeur said. “We were able to have him 115 or 114 (actually 116) through six. We were excited about that. We got to their bullpen, which we wanted to do. And we gave ourselves a shot.”

PELF ON TRACK: Mike Pelfrey said his shoulder tightness is no longer a needed topic for discussion. He threw his standard between-starts bullpen session Sunday. … The Mets walked 11 batters, four shy of matching the franchise record, set in 1972. … The Mets’ home winning streak ended at nine games. It was the longest since winning 11 straight at Shea Stadium to match a franchise record in August 2006. … The Mets blew a save for the third straight day.