Tejada boasts to Turner about homer lead

SAN FRANCISCO -- After snapping a 628 at-bat homerless drought with a game-opening shot in what became a 2-1 win Wednesday, Ruben Tejada approached Justin Turner and playfully told the fellow infielder: “Hey, me 1-0.”

Sure enough, Turner now has the longest homerless drought on the Mets. It’s been 236 at-bats since Turner twice went deep last Aug. 6 against Atlanta’s Tommy Hanson.

“After like two years, it’s great,” Tejada said about his long ball against Matt Cain. “I was looking for a fastball. ... But I didn’t think homer. I’m thinking, ‘Make a good swing up there, good contact.’”

Kirk Nieuwenhuis was the last Met to produce a leadoff homer, on June 14 at Tampa Bay.

Terry Collins had engaged Tejada in a lighthearted exchange before the game. Tejada responded by going 3-for-4 with the homer and a walk.

“Look, I need you to step up tonight,” Collins told Tejada pregame, according to the manager.

“I’ll try,” Tejada replied.

Said Collins about the conversation: “I gave him the old, ‘Well, I can get a truck driver to try.’

"He just came in my office [afterward] and asked me if I can drive a truck.”

• Collins said, by right, the Mets ought to have scored “about nine” runs on Wednesday. The Mets had 20 baserunners, partly courtesy of nine walks, a hit batter and an error. The last team to have that many baserunners and produce only two runs in a win? That would be the Padres in 2008, against the Mets no less, according to Mark Simon of ESPN Stats & Information.

Jon Niese limited the Giants to one run on three hits and two walks in seven innings to improve to 8-5. He has shown a pattern this season of bouncing back from rocky outings with solid performances.

The start after allowing eight runs in Toronto, he limited Pittsburgh to one run in 7 2/3 innings on May 23. After allowing seven runs against the Cubs on July 8, he limited the Nationals to one run and three hits in seven innings, albeit with the All-Star break separating those appearances. Wednesday night’s start came off an outing in Arizona in which Niese allowed eight runs (six earned).

“He gets frustrated,” Collins said. “He knows he’s very good. And when he has a bad outing, he takes it as hard as anybody. He’s bound and determined to show it’s more on the side of an aberration than it is really the way he’s capable of pitching.”

• Collins said Josh Thole being ruled out of the baseline when he was struck with an eighth-inning throw from catcher Buster Posey trying to complete a double play technically was correct, but the manager wouldn’t mind the rule amended. After all, Collins reasoned, if first base is in fair territory, at some point the runner has to enter fair territory to touch it.

“That’s a bad rule,” Collins said. “Unless you put first base outside that white line, that’s a bad rule. Because sooner or later you’ve got to come inside that line. ... They ought to have a 20-foot line or a 15-foot line or something.”