Jonathon Niese recovered after a rough start. It was just too much for the New York Mets to overcome.
Niese gave up five runs in the first inning, and the Mets went on to a 9-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night.
"I just wish I had that first inning back," said Niese, who lost for the first time in six starts since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 11.
Michael Bourn started Cleveland's offensive outburst with a leadoff single. He stole second and scored on Nick Swisher's double into the left-field corner.
Jason Kipnis then put down a sacrifice and Niese's throw to first appeared to be in time for the out. Umpire Paul Emmel ruled the throw pulled Lucas Duda off the bag and Kipnis was safe. Mets manager Terry Collins argued the call and Niese was charged with an error.
"That's why I went out there, because I thought he was out," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Paul said (Duda) never touched the bag. If you don't touch the bag.... I haven't looked at the replay so I don't know what happened."
Carlos Santana singled for a 2-0 lead and Yan Gomes' single loaded the bases. After Cabrera flied out, Ryan Raburn sent a liner into the gap in right-center for a big three-run double.
"Everything was kind of flat," Niese said. "My fastball, I couldn't locate much. It's a good thing I was able to throw my cutter and curveball more. Then I found my fastball."
Niese gave up Swisher's solo homer in the second, and then shut down the Indians until he left after six innings. He allowed nine hits, struck out five and walked two.
"The only other bad pitch he threw was the ball to Swisher in the second inning," Collins said. "He settled down and used the breaking ball better and threw his off-speed pitches much more effectively than he did in the first inning."
New York responded with Matt den Dekker's two-out RBI single in the second, and then added three more runs in the sixth. Justin Turner had a two-run double and Juan Lagares singled in a run against Vinnie Pestano.
Any chance of completing the comeback ended when Scott Atchison gave up a three-run homer to Asdrubal Cabrera in the seventh.
"It was a tough first inning but our offense did a good job of battling to keep us in the game," Niese said.
Corey Kluber (8-5), the first of seven Cleveland pitchers, allowed two runs in five-plus innings. Kluber, pitching for the first time since Aug. 5 after being sidelined by a sprained right middle finger, was pulled after walking the leadoff hitter in the sixth.
Niese has pitched well since coming off the DL, where he spent nearly two months with a partially torn rotator cuff. He was 3-0 with a 2.14 ERA in his first five starts after being sidelined.
"The shoulder feels great," he said. "The body feels great. It's one of those things where I'm taking it easy between starts, shutting down bullpens some to keep the shoulder fresh."
Cleveland used four pitchers in the sixth, which finally ended when Nick Hagadone struck out den Dekker. Thanks to the expanded September rosters, Indians manager Terry Francona has 15 relievers at his disposal, and he used six against New York.
Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy was hitless in four at-bats, ending his 10-game hitting streak. Lagares extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games.
Cleveland has won four in a row for the first time since it captured eight straight from July 24-Aug. 1. Swisher finished with two hits and two RBIs as the Indians stayed in the hunt for the AL's second wild-card slot.
"This is the push," Swisher said. "It's been a while since this team's been in this opportunity. This is where it really counts."
NOTES: Mets 3B David Wright (strained right hamstring) will rejoin the team next week in New York to continue his rehab. Wright, who has been working out in Florida, hopes to play again this season. The seven-time All-Star hasn't played since Aug. 2. ... RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (0-3, 10.95 ERA) will start for the Mets in Sunday's series finale. He pitched most of the season at the Indians' Triple-A team in Columbus, but was released at his request last month. RHP Danny Salazar (1-2, 3.00 ERA) starts for the Indians. ... New York called up RHP Frank Francisco from Triple-A Las Vegas. The veteran hasn't pitched for the Mets this season. RHP Greg Burke will also join the team from Las Vegas.