Dillon Gee carried the Mets staff's scoreless streak to 29 innings, best in the majors this season, before surrendering an eighth-inning homer to Wilson Betemit. And despite a rocky ninth inning from Frank Francisco, which included a walk to force in a run, the closer left the bases loaded and the Mets swept the Orioles with a 4-3 win Wednesday at Citi Field.
Next up: an off-day, then a Subway Series renewal against the Yankees this weekend at Citi Field.
Jon Niese (4-3, 3.82 ERA) opposes left-hander Andy Pettitte (3-2, 2.77) on Friday, followed by Chris Young (1-1, 3.06) against right-hander Ivan Nova (9-2, 4.32) on Saturday. The marquee matchup will be televised at 8:05 p.m. Sunday on ESPN, when R.A. Dickey (11-1, 2.00) opposes left-hander CC Sabathia (9-3, 3.55).
Considering the Yankees slugged eight homers in their three-game series sweep of the Mets at the Stadium, Terry Collins said he is looking forward to getting the Bombers out of their Bronx bandbox and into more spacious Citi Field.
"Our ballpark plays a little different than theirs," Collins said. "... Yankee Stadium is a great place for their team, and for the fans. There's a lot of home runs hit. They can hit them out of here, too, but it's not quite as easy as it is over there. But they can hit them. Make no mistake. They've got enough power to hit them out of any ballpark in the country."
Thursday's news reports:
• Lucas Duda was held out of Wednesday's game with a tight hamstring. Collins said Duda could have played, but caution was the right call, especially with Thursday's off-day affording a two-day break. Read more in the Post and Newsday.
• Ruben Tejada's rehab tour has moved to Triple-A Buffalo. Tejada, returning from a quadriceps injury, went 0-for-4 and played a full game at shortstop Wednesday night after logging two games with Class A St. Lucie. Ronny Cedeño (calf), after five games at shortstop with Buffalo, moved to second base and went 1-for-4. Collins suggested Cedeño likely would be activated from the DL first -- very likely Friday. Ramon Ramirez (hamstring), meanwhile, is due to move to Buffalo after a pair of relief appearances on a rehab assignment with St. Lucie.
• Brian Costa in the Journal notes the Mets are selling everything related to Johan Santana's no-hitter that's not nailed down. Costa reports Santana and the Mets are in a profit-sharing partnership in exchange for Santana only autographing no-hitter items for the team. Mets executive VP Dave Howard said 3,000 reprinted tickets from Santana's no-hitter have been sold. Cost: $50 apiece. Writes Costa:
Want a chunk of dirt from the mound that night? That'll cost you between $25 and $35, depending on whether you want a dirt keychain, a dirt box or a dirt coin. Want home plate itself? That'll cost a bit more. As of Wednesday afternoon, the top bid for it was $8,114. The fact that the Mets are selling all this -- and the fact that fans are buying or bidding on even the most trivial items -- underscores the number of ways a team can turn an iconic moment into added revenue. "Some of the prices for some of those items surprise even me," said Dave Howard, the Mets' executive vice president for business operations. "But maybe we shouldn't be surprised, because there's a 50-year-plus pent-up demand for the Mets' first no-hitter."
• Missed this recently: Juan Gonzalez in the Daily News is not a fan of the deal to revitalize the area near Citi Field, because it allegedly gives cost-free land to Fred Wilpon and his business. Writes Gonzalez:
When City Hall originally got Council’s approval for Willets Point, there was no mention of giveaways or of the Wilpons as a possible developer. Just the opposite. Back then, Bloomberg’s aides assured the Council that any taxpayer money spent on Willets Point would be recouped when the city sold the land to a developer that would be chosen later. Council was understandably skeptical. For one thing, all previous development projects always had a developer’s name attached to them when they came up for vote. This one didn’t.
• Professor emeritus Alan Nathan of the University of Illinois explains the physics behind Dickey's knuckleball.
• Jason Bay has yet to be cleared to even return to Citi Field following a concussion suffered last Friday, teammates said.
• Mike Piazza discussed that Hall of Fame debate -- should he represent the Mets or Dodgers? -- in an ESPYs interview. "The only reason I laugh about it is because I think it's funny people make the hat such a big deal," Piazza said. "I don't know -- it's hard to explain. I have a special affinity for the Mets fans, because that's where I spent a bulk of my time, and if I were to go in as a Met I don't think it would be something that people would have any disagreement with. I will always appreciate my years with the Dodgers coming up in that organization. Getting traded to the Mets, going to the World Series and having some amazing moments like the one you mentioned after 9/11, the Hall would probably relate those things, and I don't think that would be much of a surprise. How is that for a non-answer?" Watch video here.
• Wilmer Flores headlined a flurry of promotions Wednesday, at the midpoint of minor league seasons. Flores, a third baseman, will move from St. Lucie to Binghamton along with shortstop Wilfredo Tovar and catcher Francisco Peña (son of former All-Star Tony Peña). The trickle-up includes outfielder Travis Taijeron, infielder T.J. Rivera and right-handers Rafael Montero and Jeffrey Walters moving from low-A Savannah to St. Lucie.
• Zack Wheeler suffered his first defeat since April 18 -- a hard-luck loss at Akron in which he allowed two runs (one earned). However, former second-round pick Cory Mazzoni tossed a seven-inning complete game in the nightcap of the doubleheader in his Double-A debut as the B-Mets earned a split. Meanwhile, left-hander Steven Matz, the Mets' top pick in 2009, finally made his first official professional appearance after two seasons dealing with elbow issues as Kingsport lost to Princeton, 10-7. Read Wednesday's full minor league recap here.
• Columnist Filip Bondy in the Daily News looks ahead to the Subway Series. “Losing to the Yankees is no different than losing to Colorado,” Ike Davis told Bondy. “What stings is losing to the Marlins. They’re in our division.”
• 2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo has landed in Brooklyn after participating in extended spring training.
• D.J. Carrasco has signed with the Braves and been assigned to Triple-A Gwinnett.
• Michael Salfino in the Journal links Dickey's rise to the Knicks' Jeremy Lin and Giants' Victor Cruz.
TRIVIA: Which current Yankee has the most homers at Citi Field?
Wednesday's answer: The most recent player born in Louisiana to appear for the Mets is right-hander Josh Stinson, who was lost off waivers to the Milwaukee Brewers at the end of spring training. Stinson is pitching at Double-A Huntsville, where he is 7-4 with a 3.94 ERA and one save in 15 appearances (10 starts).