Mets morning briefing 5.24.12

The Mets notched a series victory over the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon, courtesy of their 3-1 win in Pittsburgh. Starter Jonathon Niese was outstanding, collecting his first win since April 14, after some extra pregame work.

After playing 18 of their past 25 games on the road, the Mets will now begin an 11-game homestand on Thursday night against the San Diego Padres. It's their longest stretch of the season at Citi Field.

Thursday's news reports:

• After Niese went 7-2/3 innings on Wednesday, allowing just one run on five hits, the bullpen got the job done as well. Bobby Parnell came on with two outs in the eighth, and with runners on second and third and the Mets leading 3-1, he struck out the dangerous Andrew McCutchen to end the threat. Then Frank Francisco pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 12th save. Read game recaps in the Daily News, Post, Times, Journal, Newsday, Star-Ledger and Record.

• Parnell has been so good this season out of the pen, Mets manager Terry Collins made a comparison between Parnell and Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander after Wednesday's game.

Ike Davis went 1-for-4 on Wednesday, which actually improved his batting average from .156 to .159. But Davis is still in danger of being demoted to the minor leagues, although Collins said Wednesday that he's not sure who would replace Davis at first base. Read more in the Daily News.

Newsday's Anthony Rieber says Lucas Duda and Daniel Murphy are both options at first base.

• Wednesday's game was the fifth in a row in which the Mets did not hit a ball out of the park. The Mets have just 25 home runs on the season -- that places them second-to-last in the major leagues, behind only the Padres, who have 16.

Collins would like to see his players swing for the fences a little bit more. Read more about it in the Post.

• Reliever Tim Byrdak received a rare day off on Wednesday -- Byrdak leads the major leagues in appearances this season, with 26. But neither Byrdak nor Collins seem too concerned about the workload at this point -- read more in the Record.

Jeremy Hefner is slated to make his first major league start on Thursday for the Mets. It's a big opportunity for the 26-year-old, who left most of his belongings in a Ford F-150 parked outside Coca Cola Field in Buffalo.

Read more in the Star-Ledger, which reports in the piece that Chris Young actually went home for more than the birth of a child. He also is experiencing a lack of arm strength, which pitching coach Dan Warthen suggested was a standard spring-training "dead-arm" period. Young’s next start, originally expected for Friday, is now Saturday with Class A St. Lucie.

TRIVIA: In what year did the Mets draft Jeremy Hefner?

Wednesday's answer: The Mets own the 12th pick in next month's amateur draft.