Niese gets win, wants one more start

CINCINNATI -- If Jonathon Niese gets his way, he'll start the New York Mets' regular-season finale on Sunday against the Milwaukee Brewers at Citi Field.

And if the left-hander feels as good as he felt Tuesday night, there's virtually no reason he shouldn't. Despite giving up hits to the first two batters and three of the first six he faced, Niese ended up allowing just two runs in seven innings in a 4-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Juan Lagares helped Niese wiggle out of the first inning by throwing out Shin-Soo Choo at the plate -- Lagares' 13th outfield assist of the season, a record for Mets rookie outfielders. And then Niese retired the final eight batters he faced while evening his record at 8-8.

"Two pitches, two hits -- it was kind of crazy," said Niese, who mixed in a season-high 81 strikes among his 113 pitches, matching his second-highest total of the season. "Juan did a great job, and I was able to get out of the inning. It was all-around good defense."

Niese showed no signs of the partially torn rotator cuff that cost him seven weeks of the season from June into August.

"Ever since he came back, he's thrown as well as I've seen him since I've been here," manager Terry Collins said.

Well enough for him to take his regular turn on Sunday, or would Collins prefer to have Niese finish on Tuesday's high note?

"I don't know," Collins said. "He's got a chance to go 9-8. I'll talk to Jon in a couple of days and see how he feels."

Niese had no qualms about going out there one more time.

"I want to pitch," he said. "It's my turn, and I don't want to put another guy in an awkward position."