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MIA@NYM: Mets walk off on Nieuwenhuis' single

NEW YORK -- For years, the Mets diligently kept track of their record with and without Jose Reyes in the lineup. Now, they can proudly document how they do when they play against him.

The Mets used a late comeback to take a 3-2 win and a series sweep Thursday, and they even kept Reyes from being a factor. Reyes went 0-for-4 and hit into a double play in the eighth inning Thursday, and he went 1-for-12 in his first series against the team that signed and developed him.

New York, meanwhile, was quiet for most of the day and patient when it mattered most. The Mets drew four walks in the ninth inning against Miami closer Heath Bell, and rookie leadoff man Kirk Nieuwhenhuis drove home the winning run on a single over right fielder Giancarlo Stanton's head.

"Closers don't usually throw 50 pitches. I thought that might've worn him down," said manager Terry Collins. "You just don't see guys at this level get walked that much. I've never seen anything like it."

David Wright, the first batter of the final frame, took two called strikes and walked on six pitches. He wound up moving to second base on a Lucas Duda grounder, giving the Mets their first runner in scoring position since the third inning.

Ike Davis walked on four pitches, and Bell walked catcher Josh Thole on six to load the bases. That brought up pinch-hitter Justin Turner, who engaged the veteran closer in an epic 13-pitch at-bat. Turner fouled off eight pitches -- including four in a row -- before walking on an errant fastball.

"I was feeling pretty comfortable," said Turner. "He was making some pretty good pitches and I was able to foul them off. When you're up there for that long, you kind of get that locked in feeling. He ended up yanking a fastball a little ... just off the plate. I still missed a lot of decent pitches I should've hit."

That may be the case, but it hardly mattered. Turner's walk brought home the tying run, and after Scott Hairston grounded into a fielder's choice, Nieuwenhuis drilled the game-winning hit to right.

That single gave the Mets their second one-run victory of the series and their sixth comeback victory of the year. New York scored in the first inning Thursday but didn't push a runner to scoring position in between the fourth and eighth before taking advantage of Bell's wild streak in the ninth.

"This guy, I believe in him," said Miami manager Ozzie Guillen of Bell. "I don't know about tomorrow. He threw more pitches than [Ricky] Nolasco. But he's the guy right now. He's my closer. I'm not going to change my mind until I change my mind. We have confidence in him. I think he will be fine."

Collins said he was pleased with his team's patience, especially against a pitcher as good as Bell.

"As a position player, I always thought the onus is on [the pitcher]," said Collins. "He's the one that's got the bases loaded. He's the one that's got to make the pitches. You've just got to relax and still hunt the strike zone. It's a really tough situation for the pitcher, especially in that kind of weather."

Jon Niese pitched well for the Mets, going seven innings and allowing just four hits. Niese struck out six batters and didn't walk any, and he was charged with isolated runs in the third and fifth. Miami's go-ahead score was set up by a leadoff double and crossed the plate on a double play in the fifth.

The Marlins (7-10) got a strong start from Nolasco, who matched Niese for most of the day. Nolasco held the Mets to five hits and a walk and left after the seventh. Nieuwenhuis, the game's hero, led off the first inning with a triple and later scored on a sacrifice fly.

His later hit sent the stadium into histrionics, but it never would've happened without Turner's resilience. That larger point wasn't lost on Niese, who spent the final inning inside the clubhouse.

"Turner's at-bat was phenomenal. That was so fun to watch," said Niese of the payoff. "I was in here watching on the TV, but it was nerve-wracking. My hands are numb from clapping so hard."

The Mets (10-8) were held to fewer than three runs in each end of their doubleheader loss to the Giants on Monday, and they followed that up by earning 2-1 and 5-1 wins over Miami, ruining Reyes' return to Flushing.

Collins said that Reyes, the recipient of a few scattered catcalls during the series, may have been feeling the pressure.

"Jose Reyes is a human being. He's one of the nicest people I've ever been around," said Collins. "If it didn't bother him, I'd be shocked. He gave his heart and soul to the people here."

The Mets got some bad news after the game regarding starter Mike Pelfrey, who estimated that he is 99 percent certain that he'll undergo a season-ending surgery on his pitching elbow. The Mets will recall rookie Chris Schwinden from Triple-A Buffalo to start Friday's opener against the Rockies.

That's a concern for the next series, though, and not part of the thought process on Thursday. For one day, at least, Collins could be thrilled with the way his starting rotation has performed.

"Obviously, it starts on the hill," said Collins of the Miami series. "We got great pitching -- tremendous pitching -- this series. So did they. Jon pitched really well today and deserved better fortune. He did what the starter's supposed to do, and that's kept you in the game and give you a chance to win." Comments