Flushing, NY – Jon Niese allowed just two runs over 6 2/3 innings and helped his own cause with a pair of hits, an RBI and a run scored, as the New York Mets opened their 2013 campaign with an 11-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday at Citi Field.
Niese (1-0) scattered four hits and walked two with four strikeouts, while Collin Cowgill clubbed a grand slam and scored twice for the Mets, who have won 34 of their last 44 Opening Day games and own the best winning percentage (.654) on Opening Day in major league history.
"The adrenaline was pumping, I'm not going to lie," Niese said of his first Opening Day start. "As far as the anxiety, it really wasn't much."
Marlon Byrd finished 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, while John Buck and Ruben Tejada each added two hits, an RBI and two runs scored for New York, which finished 74-88 last season.
Yonder Alonso stroked a solo home run and Carlos Quentin knocked in the other run for the Padres, who struggled to a 76-86 mark a year ago and missed the playoffs for a sixth straight season.
San Diego starter Edinson Volquez (0-1) was tagged for six runs on six hits and three walks over three-plus innings in defeat.
"The ball-strike ratio wasn't great," San Diego manager Bud Black said of Volquez. "There were a lot of two-out hits. He just couldn't make pitches at critical times."
The Mets jumped on top in the second inning, as Buck kept the frame alive with a two-out walk before coming around to score on Tejada's double into the left- field corner.
Tejada alertly moved to third on the throw to the plate before Niese slapped a single the opposite way to score Tejada for a 2-0 lead.
San Diego cut the margin in half on Quentin's two-out RBI single in the top of the third, but the Mets answered with a pair in the bottom half to seize control.
David Wright got things started with a one-out single and promptly stole second before moving to third on a groundout. Byrd then delivered a two-out, two-strike single to left-center field and after Lucas Duda worked a walk, Buck scorched a line-drive single into center field to score Byrd and give the Mets a 4-1 cushion.
Volquez ran into more trouble in the fourth, as he issued a leadoff walk to his pitching counterpart before Cowgill followed with a double. Anthony Bass then replaced Volquez and Daniel Murphy smacked his first offering into right field to score Niese.
Murphy then moved to second on a wild pitch before Cowgill scored on Wright's groundout. Bass looked poised to escape the jam after striking out Ike Davis, but Byrd belted a two-out single to left field to score Murphy for a 7-1 lead.
San Diego got one back in the sixth on Alonso's leadoff blast, but Cowgill's grand slam in the bottom of the seventh put to rest any hopes of a San Diego comeback.
Cowgill is the second Met to hit a grand slam on Opening Day after Todd Hundley accomplished the feat in 1995 ... New York was 4-3 against the Padres last season ... Niese became the 22nd pitcher in team history to make an Opening Day start ... The Mets announced Saturday that pitcher Johan Santana will undergo season-ending shoulder surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder ... Volquez was making his third straight Opening Day start ... Wright finished with an RBI, a run scored and two stolen bases.