OK, Paul Maholm vs Jenrry Mejia. For two innings, it was a usual Bucco-Met affair, scoreless and boring. In the third, the Mets tried to jumpstart Pittsburgh; an error put Ronny Cedeno aboard, and Maholm walked with one out.
Mejia injured his shoulder to boot; Raul Valdes had to come in cold to face the top of the order. He walked McCutch to juice the sacks. Valdes went 2-0 on Jose Tabata, and hung a changeup. JT didn't catch much of it, but enough to send a sac fly into medium right.
Neil Walker continued the saga of the hapless Bucco hitters; he drilled a curve on a rope, but right at David Wright. The Pirates were up 1-0 and have more runs than hits. NY went down in order; two of the three batters tried to bunt their way on; that tells us something either about Maholm's stuff or Pedro's rep.
Garrett Jones rolled a single into right, and in an eight pitch at-bat, Pedro saw seven heaters and send the last one screaming into the Mets right field notch for a three-bagger. John Bowker doubled into straightaway center, and the Bucs were finally out of their funk.
Well, not entirely. Ronny Cedeno tried to bunt the first offering (please tell us for a hit, not a sac!) and ended up popping out to the mound. Chris Snyder walked, and Maholm did his job, moving them both up a station. Valdes tried to work McCutch inside; he fought off a heater and softly dumped it into right to bring home two more. 5-0 Pittsburgh; praise the Lord and pass the ammunition.
The Mets lined back-to-back one out singles. Ike Davis hit a hard grounder to second; it ticked off Walker's glove as he tried to backhand it and died in short right, scoring one and putting runners at second and third. Nick Evans walked to load them. Pinch hitter Mike Hessman (batting for C Henry Blanco; the Mets are still trying to win games) lined a single to bring put up another tally.
Ruben Tejada hit one to El Toro; he came home and Snyder missed the catch, allowing two runs to score. It's becoming routine with him, and the Pirate horror show continued unabated when Cedeno misplayed the next ball to make it 5-5. But not for long; Angel Pagan lined a single to center, and it was 7-5 Mets. Carlos Beltran kept it going with another single, and that brought on Chan Ho Park.
Hey, Maholm wasn't sharp; that's a given. But when you give the other team five, six, seven outs an inning, bad things will happen, even if Bob Gibson's pitching.
If Maholm and Duke had a team that could catch the ball behind them that their seasons wouldn't be such nightmares; their peripheral stats (walks, K's, ground balls, line drives) aren't much out of line with their career norms.
Anyway, Park walked the bases loaded, but he got Davis on a long fly to the track in right to end the frame. Seven runs in: two were earned.
Pat Misch came on for the Mets; he got Pittsburgh 1-2-3 in the fifth; Park returned the favor. The Bucs got the first two runners on in the sixth, bringing on Elmer Dessens, but a botched bunt (Snyder, who Adam LaRoche would lap around the bases, looked like he tried to bunt for a base hit!) and a couple of quick outs took that threat off the board. D-Mac took the hill, and gave up a Reyes dinger.
Pedro Feliciano retired them in order in the seventh, McCutchen did likewise.
With two outs in the eighth, Cedeno singled, bring on Bobby Parnell. JR brought Dewey in to hit for Snyder. He cracked a double, scoring RC to make it 8-6.
Chris Leroux worked the eighth, giving up a walk. Hisanori Takahashi climbed the hill; McCutch greeted him with a bomb, his fourteenth. It was the last hurrah; JT and Jones struck out swinging around Walker's fly out. Met's win, 8-7, riding five unearned runs to the victory.
Charlie Morton takes on Ian Kennedy tomorrow night in the series finale.
-- With Chris Leroux's appearance in Tuesday's game, the Pirates have now used 51 different players this season. His appearance also broke the team record for most pitchers used with 27.
-- Here's a suggestion if the Bucs yank the Zachster from the rotation. There aren't many candidates left standing with Charlie Morton and Brian Burres already working every five days and Brad Lincoln ironing out some issues; give Chris Resop a couple of starts.
-- Altoona evened its series against Trenton tonight, winning 6-4 behind Jordy Mercer's pair of homers. Jeff Locke pitched well (7IP, 1 ER, 6H, 2W, 8K), and Daniel Moskos got the save.
The Curve dropped the first game of the best-of-five Eastern League Championship Series on Monday, 3-2, in 10 innings. The series will finish in Trenton.