Xavier Paul showed why he was batting leadoff today for Clint Hurdle; he pushed a bunt past the mound to start the game with a sixty foot knock, picking up from last night. Josh Harrison shot a single into center, and it was first and third before your beer lost its head.
McCutch dropped one into right for a run, chased Harrison to the hot corner, and then stole second. Neil Walker did his job; he bounced out to the right side, plating Harrison and moving McCutch up a station.
Lyle Overbay didn't do his part, as he grounded out to first and McCutch had to hold. Matt Diaz bailed him out with a knock to right to make it 3-0 Pittsburgh. Cedeno dropped a knock into right on a pop that Ruben Tejada couldn't quite glove. Mike Pelfrey got Dusty Brown swinging, but the Bucs bought Paul Maholm some room to work.
He liked it; a strikeout, pop out, and ground out took care of the Mets.
It didn't get much better for Pelfrey. Paul had a one out knock, and stole second with two down. The swipe paid off when McCutch lased one into center to chase the X-Man home. He trotted home himself after Walker crushed a ball into right center for his seventh dinger.
The Mets had a one-out double rapped by Angel Pagan, but he got no closer than third. The Bucs kept a' comin'. After two outs, Dusty Brown walked, Maholm singled, and Paul - who now has five consecutive hits against the Mets - singled Brown in. Pelfrey escaped only after Harrison's liner was hit right at Tejada to end the frame.
The Mets had an answer this time. With two away, Jose Reyes and Justin Turner lined back-to-back singles. Carlos Beltran mashed a 1-2 heater that was a little up and right down the gut into the left center field seats for his ninth of the year, and it was 7-3.
The Bucs finally went in order in the fourth, as did the Mets. The Bucs went 1-2-3 in the fifth, too. It would be Pelfrey's last frame; he was yanked for a pinch hitter in the bottom half of the inning. Scott Hairston, who batted for Pelfrey, singled for NY's only runner of the frame.
The Bucs' Maholm rapped his second single. He was forced by Paul, whose hit streak ended, and the X-Man was picked off first. Harrison bounced out to end it. Beltran continued to haunt Maholm; he led off the sixth with a double. Jay Bay followed with a walk. With two away, Nick Evans drew a walk to load them.
It was a key moment in the game, and Clint Hurdle let Maholm face righty Tejada. It was not a good decision by the ol' skipper; Tejada singled in a pair to make it 7-5. PM faced lefty pinch hitter Daniel Murphy. He singled to right for a score; runners ended up at second and third on a throwing error by Diaz.
Hurdle called on Chris Resop, a couple of batters too late. Maholm went 5-2/3 innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits, walking two and K'ing two while throwing 91 pitches. Can't blame the attack today.
Resop threw a changeup in the dirt; it scooted through Brown for a passed ball and tied the game. He K'ed Reyes, but the Mets had come back from a touchdown behind to tie the game.
Bobby Parnell took the ball for the Mets. The hard thrower got through the frame, issuing just a two-out walk (though he did wild-pitch him to second). Resop also allowed a two away runner when he hit Jay Bay with a curve. At the end of seven, tied at seven.
Jason Isringhausen took over in the eighth; he struck out Cedeno and Brown. Garrett Jones grabbed a stick and singled with two away. He didn't last long; he became the second Buc picked off first base today.
Jose Veras toed the rubber for Pittsburgh. Ronny Paulino greeted him with a single up the middle, and Willie Harris came in to run. Terry Collins sent up pitcher Chris Capuano to pinch hit for Isringhausen; we'd suspect a bunt is coming. But it got interesting.
Josh Thole pinch hit for the pinch hitter after Capuano fouled off a couple of bunt tries. Then a balk and wild pitch later, a walk to Tholes put runners at the corners with no outs. Tejada hit a sac fly to center, and the Metropolitans had come back from a seven run hole. Thole tagged and got to second; Veras walked Murphy intentionally. Reyes walked on four pitches, unintentionally.
With the bases loaded, Turner popped out. But JV walked Beltran to bring home another run. Daniel McCutchen climbed the hill and whiffed Bay. But it was 9-7 Mets with three outs to go.
Francisco Rodriguez come on to close for New York. Paul started things off in a big way, tripling to right center. Harrison flew out to medium center; Paul held; his run isn't the important one. McCutch whiffed swinging. Walker singled up the middle to bring the Pirates to within one.
Overbay went after a first-pitch heater pretty much down the middle, but he was a little late on it and popped it foul to third, and that sealed a come-from-ahead 9-8 defeat.
Clint Hurdle waited too long to pull Maholm, the Pirates walked six and only K'ed four, two guys were picked off, two fielding blunders padded the Met total...but hey, the pitching wasn't going to last forever like it was the sixties Dodger arms.
Still, a solid game behind the pitchers might have helped carry them through on a rare day when they struggled. Oh well, back to the 'Burgh where Jeff Karstens matches pitches with Cole Hamels and the Phils tomorrow night.
-- This is the second time this year the Mets have gotten Pelfrey off the hook after he's fallen behind 7-0. And it's the first time they've come back from being down 7-0 since 2000, according to ESPN's Adam Rubin.
-- The Bucs' starting pitchers streak of 13 straight games giving up 2 runs or fewer ended today (and how!); it was the longest such streak since 1968.
-- Bradenton Marauders IF Jarek Cunningham, C Ramon Cabrera, 1B Aaron Baker, RHP Kyle McPherson and RHP Brett Lorin were named to the Florida State (Class High A) mid-season All-Star team today.