MIAMI (AP) — Eager to give himself some run support, New York Mets pitcher Jonathon Niese stepped to the plate with a runner at third and dropped down a perfect suicide squeeze bunt.
His teammates, meanwhile, swung away — and connected.
Daniel Murphy hit a three-run homer and the Mets matched a season high with 17 hits Sunday to beat the slumping Miami Marlins 11-5.
Niese (4-4), who has been plagued by a lack of offensive help this year, won for the first time since May 22 and enjoyed pitching with a big lead.
"It was a good feeling," he said. "We hit them hard and hit them early. It's a lot more comfortable going out there, and you're able to pound the zone."
Niese allowed less than four earned runs for the 19th consecutive start, giving up three in six innings.
"The offense really busted out, and Jonathon did another great job," teammate David Wright said. "Every time he takes the ball, you think he's going to go nine innings, and offensively we haven't done a lot to pick him up. I'm glad we were able to do that today."
Niese — batting eighth — drove in a run with a bunt in the second inning. Manager Terry Collins joked that he hadn't called for a suicide squeeze since 2006, and Niese said it might have been the first of his career.
"Luckily was able to get a pitch I could put down," Niese said.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis scored without a play for a 2-0 lead.
"The squeeze was huge," Collins said. "We don't do that much, but I wanted to see if we could get something started, so we tried something different."
The bulk of the offense, however, came from higher in the order. Wright drove in a run for the sixth game in a row. Curtis Granderson thrived again in the leadoff spot, reaching base four consecutive times. He and Lucas Duda each had three hits.
Murphy had two hits, including his sixth homer. Nieuwenhuis, making his first start since being recalled from Triple-A, doubled twice.
"We've been waiting a long time to break one open," Collins said. "People think we play ugly game. We're getting beat 4-3 and 3-2. We're hanging in there. We get a lot of guys on, we just haven't been able to get big hits. When you have big hits, you look great."
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