If Sunday in Arizona was merely Jon Niese’s welcome-back celebration last night’s game reaffirmed the Mets lefty still can dominate an opponent.

The Padres came out flailing — and failing — against Niese and never made it interesting. With Niese delivering six strong innings and Marlon Byrd Ike Davis and Daniel Murphy providing home runs the Mets cruised to a 5-2 victory at Petco Park.

Niese (5-6 4.25 ERA) was rusty in his return from the disabled list against the Diamondbacks last Sunday allowing four earned runs over six innings but was never in danger last night. He allowed one run and gave up six hits with nine strikeouts and one walk. The nine strikeouts were one short of the career-high he set last season against the Cardinals.

“I felt like I was able to locate my pitches where I wanted to early” Niese said. “And then late I kind of got away with a few things but overall I felt good.”

The Mets (56-64) won their second straight and seem to have recovered from getting swept three games in Los Angeles earlier in the week.

Anthony Recker who could be a roster casualty next week if the Mets decide to stick with Travis d’Arnaud finished 3-for-3 with a walk as part of the Mets’ 12-hit attack.

The rookie d’Arnaud will be called up from Triple-A Las Vegas today with John Buck placed on the paternity list. Buck left the team yesterday to join his expectant wife Brooke in New York.

Before the game general manager Sandy Alderson said d’Arnaud might have a shot at staying with the team once Buck’s paternity leave ends following Monday. Regardless the Mets likely will have all three catchers in September when rosters can expand.

Niese who threw 111 pitches had six strikeouts in the first two innings — all of them swinging — an emphatic sign his left shoulder is healthy. Niese was placed on the disabled list on June 21 with a partially torn rotator cuff.

“He built up a lot of pitches but it’s all about trying to get him back” manager Terry Collins said. “And the only way he’s going to get back is to pitch. We got to the fifth inning I just thought if he could go out there one more time it would help him down the road.”

In the sixth Niese allowed a leadoff single to Jedd Gyorko but retired the next three batters two of them by strikeout.

“They did a good job of making me throw a lot of pitches so I was fortunate enough that I was able to escape freak innings” Niese said.