Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/23/12

PITTSBURGH -- New York Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese found the perfect antidote to get back on track -- the Pittsburgh Pirates' anemic offense.

The left-hander pitched 7 2/3 strong innings and the Mets beat the Pirates, 3-1, Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park.

New York took two of three games in the series and have won three of their last four overall. The Pirates lost for the sixth time in nine games and scored two or fewer runs for the 21st time in 44 games this season.

Niese (3-2) had little problem cutting through a Pirates' offense that is last in the major leagues in runs scored and on-base percentage. He allowed one run and five hits with two walks and five strikeouts.

That was quite a contrast to Niese's previous outing May 18 in Toronto when he tied a career high by allowing eight runs in three innings.

Frank Francisco notched his major-league best 12th save in 14 chances with a perfect ninth inning.

The Mets built a 3-0 lead against Charlie Morton (2-5) by scoring once in the first inning and twice in the fifth.

Morton has lost all four of his May starts and has allowed a first-inning run in each of them. On Wednesday, he gave up three runs on eight hits in seven innings with no walks and one strikeout.

The Mets' Kirk Nieuwenhuis and the Pirates' Clint Barmes each had two hits.

Nieuwenhuis singled with one in the first, took second on a wild pitch, moved to third on David Wright's fly out and scored on Lucas Duda's ground single to right.

In the fifth, Rob Johnson led off with a single, was bunted to second by Niese, advanced to third on Mike Baxter's single and scored a sacrifice fly by Nieuwenhuis. Wright followed with an RBI double off the right-field fence.

Down 3-0, Pittsburgh got its run in the sixth when Josh Harrison hit a leadoff double to extend his hitting streak to nine games then scored on Andrew McCutchen's single.

NOTES: Mets CF Andres Torres wasn't in the starting lineup for a second straight day. He is mired in a 1-for-34 slump that has dropped his batting average to .187. ... The Pirates activated RHP Jason Grilli from the bereavement list and optioned LHP Jeff Locke to Triple-A Indianapolis. Grilli pitched one inning of relief, striking out the side in the eighth. ... The Mets open an 11-game home stand Thursday night, their longest of the season, when they meet San Diego in the first game of a four-game series. RHP Jeremy Hefner (0-1, 2.25) is scheduled to start for New York against LHP Eric Stults (0-0, 2.70). Philadelphia and St. Louis also visit Citi Field. ... Pittsburgh is off Thursday then hosts the Chicago Cubs for a three-game series beginning Friday night with RHP A.J. Burnett (2-2, 4.78) facing Ryan Dempster (0-2, 2.28).

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