Jon Niese was the image of defeat as he slowly walked off the mound with his face buried in his jersey.
The crowd took to its feet in appreciation for a job well done anyway.
Niese (11-9) was the hard luck loser, 3-2, Thursday against the Padres. On a day in which the bullpen was depleted, Niese was strong. He limited San Diego to three runs — two earned — in 7 2/3 innings. Niese scattered seven hits and two walks while striking out seven. He tied a career high with 122 pitches.
“Ronny [Paulino] and I mixed it up pretty well. We threw all of our pitches. He made me throw my change-up a little bit more and got some early outs with that,” Niese said.
“Johnny pitched an absolutely outstanding ballgame,” manager Terry Collins said. denis gorman