Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bucs, Mets Play Hot Potato In NY 3-2 Victory

Well, guess J-Mick is feelin' it early. Three Mets up, three Mets down, all swinging. The Pirates got a one-out double from Josh Harrison, but the knuckleballin' RA Dickey induced grounders from Cutch and Pedro to escape.

Daniel Murphy drew a one-away walk on five pitches, as McDonald stayed away from the lefty and couldn't nick the black. Ronny Cedeno also kept the bat on his shoulders following another K and drew a four pitch walk as J-Mick lost the battle with the ump on a couple of calls. On a 1-2 pitch, Mike Nickeas, who was in an 0-for-17 slump, dropped a slider that caught too much plate up the left field line. A run scored while Nickeas was tossed on a strong throw by JT out trying to stretch his hit into a double.

Walker, who opted to bat righty against the RHP Dickey, nubbed an infield single to open the second, but died on the bases. Both sides went down in order in the third and ditto in the fourth. Dickey has five strikeouts, J-Mick has seven.

Cedeno battled during an eight pitch at-bat to open the fifth, finally lining a heater into center and running J-Mick's pitch count up to 70. Nickeas hit into a force and Dickey moved him to second. Mike Baxter got ahead 2-1 and roped a fastball, but Barmes made the grab to finish the frame. With one down in the Bucco half, Rod Barajas lined a two-bagger to left, but was left there after breaking Dickey's streak of ten consecutive outs.

The Mets went down 1-2-3 in the sixth. Harrison had no problem with the knuckler; with one away, he tripled thanks to Nieuwenhuis' misplay in center. Cutch knocked a dancer into fairly deep right, and the sac fly tied the game. Pedro followed with a single the opposite way. Walker ended the frame as Dickey's ninth strikeout victim of the night.

Cedeno again proved a pest, fouling off three pitches and then legging out an infield knock to the left side with two away before McDonald could tuck NY away. The seventh would be J-Mick's curtain call. He went seven, giving up a run on four hits with two walks and eight K after 104 offerings. Dickey kept on, striking out a pair - he's got 11 now, which is his career high, and this is his 10th year in the show - and getting a pop to the catcher.

Juan Cruz took the bump for Pittsburgh. With one out, Baxter blasted a double to straightaway center on a liner that froze Cutch and then clanked off his mitt. For the second time this inning, Cruz got ahead 0-2 only to run the count full. he K'ed Torres the first time, but walked Nieuwenhuis this time around. That brought up David Wright, who went down swinging.

Cruz fell behind Lucas Duda 2-0, and he singled hard to right off Garrett Jone's glove to give the Mets the lead. That was it for Cruz; Resop came on to face the lefty Daniel Murphy. McLouth came in to man left, Tabata went to right, Harrison to short and Barmes to the pine. Murphy took a pitch the opposite way; El Toro booted it, and it was 3-1 Mets before Resop cleaned up the inning. Giving a team five outs is usually a bad thing, and it sure was this inning.

Jon Rauch climbed the hill for the Mets with the Bucs needing a bloop and a blast. They fell short by a blast. JT fell behind, fouled off a couple to stay alive, and then dropped a double to right with one away. Harrison tapped out on a curve. Cutch made amends when his playable pop into right glanced off second baseman Murphy's mitt to bring home Tabata. Tim Byrdak came in to face Pedro, lefty-on-lefty. McCutch stole second, but Pedro went down swinging.

Resop put the Mets down in order in the ninth. Frank Francisco took the hill to close for NY. Walker grounded out to second. Jones fouled off five straight pitches before K'ing on a ball in the dirt. Barajas hit a can of corn to center to ice the Mets a 3-2 victory.

It's a broken record. 13 K's and an inning in the field where they treated the ball like a ticking WMD (as did the Mets, handing Pittsburgh both its runs). It was pretty much a mirror image of the series-closer they lost in Detroit on Sunday.

Well, they'll strap 'em on again tomorrow afternoon, when Charlie Morton takes on Jon Niese in the get away game.

  • Alvarez's error ended the team's flawless fielding streak at 72 innings, the Bucs' longest since a 72-inning stretch from July 17-25, 2009. 
  • Rod Barajas and Josh Harrison both extended their hitting streaks to eight games.
  • Jason Grilli is expected back for tomorrow's game, so Jeff Locke looks to be headed back to Indy.

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