Niese struck by line drive, suffers bruised back

MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Sports Writer Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- It certainly appears that trip to Las Vegas turned Travis d'Arnaud into a much more confident hitter.

The rookie catcher snapped an eighth-inning tie with a two-run double, and the New York Mets overcame an early injury to starter Jonathon Niese, beating the skidding Texas Rangers 6-5 Friday night to stop a four-game slide.

"Felt really good," d'Arnaud said. "It's a big win for us to start the homestand."

Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer off Yu Darvish, and the Mets opened a 10-game homestand with their second victory in nine games. An angry Niese left in the first with a bruised lower back after he was hit by Alex Rios' line drive. X-rays were negative, the team said.

Star third baseman David Wright missed his seventh straight game with a sore left shoulder, but fill-in Eric Campbell had three hits and an RBI for New York. Carlos Torres, pressed into long relief when Niese was injured, gave up two runs in 42⁄3 valuable innings.

"Nobody expects stuff like that to happen. It does. This is baseball," Torres said. "Whoever they call down for, they step up and go out there and go do their job."

Bobby Abreu drew a leadoff walk from Aaron Poreda (2-1) in the eighth and Campbell singled off Jason Frasor with one out before d'Arnaud sent a drive up the alley in right-center.

Jenrry Mejia (5-3) retired Rios with two runners in scoring position to end the eighth. Mejia allowed an RBI single by Adam Rosales in the ninth before retiring pinch-hitter Robinson Chirinos on a tricky popup to finish a plodding game on Fireworks Night that took 4 hours, 8 minutes.

Choo hit his 13th career leadoff homer, second this season, on Niese's third pitch.

Moments later, Rios' drive nailed Niese on the left side of his lower back. He recovered in time to get Rios at first base -- the only out he got -- before manager Terry Collins, pitching coach Dan Warthen and trainer Ray Ramirez came out to check on the left-hander.

Niese, a Defiance product, repeatedly told Collins he was fine, but was removed without trying a warmup pitch. Torres was given all the time he needed to get loose.

"It was precaution more than anything," Collins said.

Niese fired his glove against the dugout wall and knocked over a bucket of bubble gum before disappearing down the tunnel.

The team's most reliable starter this season, Niese was done after 12 pitches. He has gone 21 straight starts without allowing more than three earned runs -- the longest active streak in the majors.

"There's not much to say other than I'm fine. I didn't want to be taken out. I just felt like I was cheated there a little bit," Niese said.

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