NEW YORK -- Over their first 18 games of the season, Mets starting pitchers ranked fourth in the Majors with a 3.12 ERA. Even during the team's 11-game winning streak, outfielder Michael Cuddyer noted that the offense could be better. It was starting pitching that was carrying the Mets.
A hiccup in that trend surfaced Sunday, courtesy of Jon Niese. Though his defense did not do much to help him, committing four errors that resulted in a pair of unearned runs, Niese bemoaned his own pitch selection and location in giving up four earned runs as well, resulting in a 6-4 loss to the Yankees.
"You can't look into it too deeply," Niese said. "It's a loss. It's a tough loss. Obviously we want to win, but we've just got to get through it, learn from it, move on and play better."
Staked to a two-run lead before he threw a pitch, Niese immediately gave one back when Alex Rodriguez homered off him in the first. But what sunk Niese was the second inning, which saw him give up consecutive RBI hits to Gregorio Petit, Brett Gardner and Chris Young. Though Cuddyer helped that rally along with a throwing error, Niese focused on his own mistakes throughout the inning.
"I felt good after that, I just wish I could have a couple pitches back," Niese said. "But I threw them. The results were what they were. I've just got to move on."
Before Sunday, Niese had enjoyed plenty of success against the Yankees, posting a 2.05 ERA in four starts. That number grew by 82 points in one night at Yankee Stadium.
"He didn't locate anything in that second inning," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "And they made him pay."
Anthony DiComo is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDicomo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.