Ruben Tejada greeted Wandy with a single to right. Justin Turner waged a nine pitch battle with Rodriguez and won hands down when he clocked a fastball down Broadway over the fence in left. Two pitches later, David Wright knocked a changeup over the centerfield stockade. Sheesh. It was the first time this year that the Mets have banged back-to-back homers. With an out (at last), Ike Davis walked on a 3-2 heater that missed the mark down and away. Kelly Shoppach went down hacking at a curve, and Andres Torres popped out. Not only is it 4-3, but Wandy has served up 38 pitches; it was a 32 minute inning that took 65 pitches to complete.
Hot Rod opened the second with a full count walk as a slow hook stayed outside. Wandy tried to bunt him over, but Barajas was forced at second. Presley yanked a 2-1 heater to right for a double, with Wandy moving to third. The botched bunt didn't hurt as J-Hay ripped a fastball served on a tee to center for a stand up triple. With first open, Cutch not too surprisingly drew a five pitch walk. Justin Hampson took the ball from the rookie. He got Jones to bounce to second; Turner booted it as Josh scored. Gaby grounded one up the third base line; Wright grabbed it, stepped on third and threw across for the DP. But it's 7-3 Buccos after Wandy worked a clean frame.
Pedro opened the third with a full count walk, taking a fastball down and away. Barmes hit the next pitch to short for a 6-4-3 DP; three batters, two DPs. Hot Rod flew out to close the Bucco half. Turner again worked Wandy for eight pitches. This time he bopped a ball to J-Hay and he muffed the throw. It worked out OK; Turner was caught when Clint Hurdle talked the umps into reversing a safe call; Hot Rod had tagged him on the back-up after Turner had made a turn toward second. Wandy got the next two guys on a liner and K.
Wandy opened the fourth with a single on a 3-1 pitch, followed by a Presley force out. J-Hay flew out and The King was caught stealing; the Bucs aren't exactly putting on a base running clinic today. Davis ripped a Wandy heater to deep center, but Cutch ran the ball down. With two down, Torres walked, but a grounder cleaned up the frame. That brought on Elvin Ramirez for the Mets in the fifth.
He walked Cutch on five pitches and GI singled him to second. The bases were juiced with no outs for Pedro after Gaby watched a 3-2 heater stay outside. E-Ram walked El Toro on four pitches to force a run home; guess he wanted to face Barmes. Good idea; he fouled out to first on a 2-1 fastball. Hot Rod whiffed looking at a heater pretty much poured down the middle; sure not very strong at bats from the 7-8 holes. Wandy fanned, and the Bucs lost a great opp to pile up a couple of more runs.
With an out in the Met half, Tejada worked a nine pitch at bat into an infield single, colliding with Rodriguez at first. Wandy stayed in and got the next two guys to fly out, with Jones making a tumbling grab to finish the frame, to get his five innings in the book.
The Bucs went down in order in the sixth, and Wandy came out for another round. He put Houston away quietly; Wandy's been a rock since Wright's homer with nobody away in the first, giving up just an infield single the rest of the way. He surrendered three runs on four hits and two walks with three K in six innings, tossing 106 balls.
Robert Carson took the bump in the seventh and tucked the Bucs in; that's nine in row gone since Pedro's walk in the fifth. Chris Resop got the call from the pen. Torres greeted him with a double. After an out, Jordany Valdespin singled to right off a slider that caught the middle of the plate, and Torres scored when Jones mishandled the ball. The Mets have put together several long at bats tonight, and Tejada added another, plenty long enough for Valdespin to swipe second. Tejada eventually walked after a dozen pitches. After that battle, Jared Hughes was summoned from the bullpen. Daniel Murphy grounded out to third, advancing the runners a station when Pedro opted for a tag and missed it instead of going around the horn. It cost big time when Wright got a 3-2 heater and spanked it into right to bring home a pair and make it 8-6. A grounder ended the frame, but now it's a ballgame.
Bobby Parnell took the ball in the eighth and didn't break a sweat in a 1-2-3 inning. Jason Grilli toed the rubber for Pittsburgh and put away the Mets just as easily. Jon Rauch climbed the hill in the ninth for NY. The King opened with a single. After two outs, GI smacked a first pitch fastball on the outside half over the left center fence to give the Bucs a four run pad. It's good news when both he and Pedro go the opposite way.
Hanny answered the phone for the ninth, and was greeted with another long at bat by Fred Lewis. This one worked out well, as he K'ed after eight pitches. It only took five pitches and a nasty slider to fan Valdespin. Tejada was a spoilsport, grounding out on a full count. It wasn't a save, but it was a win, and those have been hard to come by in September.
The Bucs scored a lot; they left a lot on the bases, too - a pair of DP, caught stealing, a force out on an outfield single, not scoring with the bases jammed and no outs...It wasn't pretty and it wasn't easy, but it was a win.
Jeff Locke goes against Jeremy Hafner tomorrow.
- The whiff of Scott Hairston by Wandy in the third was the Pirates’ 1,124th K of the season, tying 1969 club’s total for most in franchise history. Jason Grilli's strikeout of Ike Davis, swinging through high heat in the eighth inning, set the new mark of 1,125. The '69 team was led by Bob Veale, who had 203 K, Dock Ellis with 173 and Bob Moose with 165.
- For the second time in team history, the Pirates have three players with at least 25 HR in a year (Cutch-30, Pedro-30, GI-25), joining 1966's gang of Captain Willie (33), the Great One (29) and Donn Clendenon (28).
- Pedro became the first Bucco third sacker to hit 30 bombs since Aramis Ramirez hit 34 in 2001. Frank Thomas is the only other 3B to do it for the Bucs, with 30 in 1953 and 35 in 1958.
- The Pirates now have 2 players (Cutch and Pedro) with 30 HR for the 1st time since 2001 (Brian Giles and Aramis Ramirez - 37 & 34). The only other Pirate 30 HR duo was Barry Bonds and Bobby Bo in 1990 (33 & 32).
- The Braves clinched a playoff spot tonight, so both they and the Reds are guaranteed to be in the post season before they visit Pittsburgh to close the season.