Everyone knew it would be low scoring, at least for the Bucs. No difference if it was Johan or Carlos Santana on the hill, the Pirates don't score for Duke. But a solo home run by Jason Jaramillo - does anyone miss Ronny Paulino yet? - and RBI doubles by Nate McLouth and Adam LaRoche gave the Zachster all the support he'd need.
He scattered eight singles, pitching out of first and seventh inning jams, and amped his record up to 6-4 with a 2.62 ERA, seventh best in the NL.
He had help. The Mets again fielded their B team lineup due to injuries and illness, making the job a little easier. The defense behind him caught everything hit their way (and they had to; three Pittsburgh pitchers combined for zero strikeouts). McLouth threw out a guy at the plate after misfiring on an earlier chance.
John Grabow and Matt Capps tucked the Mets away in the eighth and ninth on fifteen pitches without an ounce of drama. Good stuff and a well-earned team win.
-- The usually sweet-natured Nyjer Morgan was ejected in the fifth inning when he bounced his helmet and took a loony on first base ump Tim McClelland. He was sent packing on a bang-bang DP and apparently wasn't very pleased with the call. McClelland rang up a couple of Bucs that looked like they beat they play. Win some, lose some.
-- Geez, everyone loves jack. Jack Wilson, that is. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports writes:
The Royals are kicking around the idea of adding a shortstop, but what are their options? The Astros' Miguel Tejada is no longer adequate defensively. The A's Orlando Cabrera and Bobby Crosby have been terrible offensively. The Mariners' Yuniesky Betancourt is hardly an upgrade. Best fit: The Pirates' Jack Wilson, but only if the Red Sox don't grab Wilson first . . .