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Niese On Mound For New York Mets Tonight vs. Cleveland Indians

(Sports Network) - Like a lot of the Mets this year, Jon Niese has had his struggles on the road. A duplication of his last home start would go a long way to ending those issues.

Niese will hope to build off his first career shutout this evening in the second contest of a three-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field.

Making his second start since returning from a disabled list-stint caused by a hamstring injury, the 23-year-old Niese held the Padres to just one hit -- a third-inning double -- and no walks on Thursday while going the distance for the first time in his career. Niese retired the final 21 batters he faced and threw the 26th complete-game one-hitter in Mets' history.

"Outstanding performance," said Mets manager Jerry Manuel. "A lot of first- pitch strikes, a lot of balls in on guy's hands. A good tempo to the game; quick, clean."

The southpaw improved to 3-2 on the season with a 3.61 earned run average this year, but is just 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four road starts.

Niese has never before faced the Indians and will aim to extend what the Mets hope is a turnaround in their road game. New York notched a 7-6 triumph over Cleveland last night for its fourth straight victory as the guest, though the club is still just 12-18 on the road this year.

David Wright had three hits and drove in three runs in last night's win. He is hitting .453 (24-for-53) over his last 14 games with four homers and 17 RBI, upping his season average to .293.

Rookie Ike Davis added the eighth homer of his career in New York's fifth straight win overall and ninth in its last 10 games.

"It always appears that his home runs are big home runs. He has a good feel for the game," Mets manager Jerry Manuel said of Davis.

Johan Santana struggled early, but blanked the Indians over his final three frames to finish with four runs allowed over a seven-inning start. The performance also helped the Mets get within a half-game of the Braves for first place in the National League East.

Trevor Crowe drove in a pair of runs and Travis Hafner homered for the fourth time in six games for the Indians, who have dropped two in a row following four straight wins and are now 4-4 on a 10-game homestand. Shelley Duncan hit a two-run homer off New York closer Francisco Rodriguez with two outs in the ninth inning, but Rodriguez got Crowe to fly out to earn his 14th save of the season.

Fresh off a shutout of Boston last week, Justin Masterson was drilled for seven runs -- six earned -- over seven innings to take the loss.

"I felt like I threw the ball pretty well," said Masterson. "We just had the one hiccup in the fifth inning [when the Mets scored five runs]."

Mitch Talbot will try to rebound from the shortest outing of his career when he takes the hill tonight for Cleveland.

Talbot received a no-decision versus Boston on Thursday after lasting just four innings. He had only allowed six earned runs in his previous three starts but gave up five runs -- two earned -- on six hits and four walks against the Red Sox.

"I just felt myself rushing in that first inning," said Talbot on Cleveland's website. "I was getting a little too excited."

The 26-year-old righty is still a solid 7-4 on the season with a 3.59 ERA and starts against the Mets for the first time.

These two clubs haven't met since the Mets took two of three at home over the Indians on June 15-17, 2004. They haven't battled in Cleveland since 2002, when New York also won two of three meetings.