Originally written on MetsZilla  |  Last updated 10/18/14
The New York Mets improved to 34-18 on opening day, with an 11-2 victory over the San Diego Padres, lifting their Major League best opening day winning percentage to .654 in the process.  The Mets scored 11-runs on 13 hits, sending Padres starter Edison Volquez to the showers with no-outs in the bottom half of the fourth inning.  Ruben Tejada, who had a rough spring, got NY started with an RBI single in second (finishing the game 2-for-4 with 2 RS, 1 RBI) and Collin Cowgill capped off the 9-run victory with a grand slam in the seventh: Jon Niese became the franchises 22nd opening day starter on Monday afternoon, placing his name next to some iconic figure such as Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Pedro Martinez and Johan Santana.  The south-paw allowed just two runs on four hits, an RBI single to Carlos Quentin in the third and a solo-homer to Yonder Alsonso to open up the sixth.  After the Quentin single, Niese retired the next seven in-a-row before allowing the Alonso homer.  Quentin followed with a ground out to third before rookie Jedd Gyorko doubled to left with one-out.  However, Niese retired the next two batters to end the San Diego threat.  Manager Terry Collins decided to send Jonathon out to start the seventh, but pulled the 26-year-old starter after recording two-outs on seven pitches.  Niese needed just 101-pitches to navigate his way through 6 2/3 innings of work, picking up his first victory of the 2013 season:   Photo taken by Michael Baron Niese spoke with reporters after the game and had the following to say about his first victory of the season: “I’m not going to lie. The adrenaline was pumping. But I prepared as if it was any other game. Before the game, I had my pregame routine that I followed. …I think last year was kind of a year where I kind of hit that sixth inning and had 95 pitches and they kind of shut me down. I think this year I want to be that guy who goes back out and finishes my starts.  As far as leading the staff, I really don’t want to fulfill that role. Everybody, all the guys in the rotation, have something different to offer. So I’m willing to learn from them, and I’m sure they’re willing to learn from me. We all have a job to do. Each one of us has a different way of going about it.” Of Niese, manager Terry Collins added:  “Probably three weeks before we named him the Opening Day starter, I went to him and said, ‘Hey, look, there’s a real good chance Johan [Santana] is not going to be ready. And if he’s not, it’s going to be you.’ And he said, ‘All right!’ That means he wanted it bad. He got himself ready for it, for sure. He pitched a great game.” Photo taken by Michael Baron WEAK OUTFIELD, NOT TODAY: Marlon Byrd delivered a pair of RBI singles and Collin Cowgill became the first Mets player to hit a grand-slam in his debut, as the two newest members of the Mets outfield combined for six of New Yorks 11-runs on Monday afternoon.  The duo combined to go 4-for-10, with 6 RBI and 2 runs scored. NEW ADDITIONS: #bbpBox_318838156143230977 a { text-decoration:none; color:#0084B4; }#bbpBox_318838156143230977 a:hover { text-decoration:underline; } The three #Mets who debuted in lineup (Collin Cowgill, Marlon Byrd and John Buck) went a combined 6-for-14 with five runs and seven RBIs. about 2 hours ago via TweetDeckReplyRetweetFavorite @AdamRubinESPN Adam Rubin On the hill, Brandon Lyon, Scott Atchinson, and Scott Rice combined to pitch 2 2/3 perfect  innings of relief: Photo taken by Michael Baron #MORECOWGILL: Starting in center field and leading off, Cowgill went 2-for-5 with 2 runs scored and a career high 4 RBI;  all of which came with one swing of the bat, a 2-out grand slam in the seventh off Brian Bach. Cowgill joins Todd Hundley as the only Mets to hit a grand slam on opening day. “It’s a special day,” Cowgill told reporters after the game. “My first time being in an Opening Day lineup. A lot of jitters but it’s exciting. The fans were unbelievable. Beautiful day for that. It was an exciting day and Jon Niese, what a game for him. Just an outstanding day for us and we’re looking forward to keeping this going.” As for the Citi Faithful chanting his name, Cowgill added: “It’s really humbling. I tried to give them some acknowledgement, but at the same time, I got to concentrate on the game too. Just a humbling experience today. Very grateful for it, and I’m looking forward to what we can do in the future.” CAPTIAN5: David Wright extended his opening day hit streak to nine with a third-inning single.  Wright finished the day 1-for-4 with a RBI and two stolen bases. LETS MAKE IT TWO-IN-A-ROW:  Matt Harvey will take the mound Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. to square off against San Diego Padres starter, Clayton Richard as the Mets look to take their first series of the season.
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