Locke was in trouble in the second. He gave up back-to-back knocks to open the frame, but caught a break when Cutch tossed out Justin Turner trying to stretch his single into a double. A fly followed by a Snider rainbow toss to home brought in the run; a following walk and bloop single were left on base.
In the third, the Pirates got a two out walk to Snider and their first knock, a Cutch single, to put Buccos on the corners, but Gee got Jones to fly to center; the Mets stranded a two-out walk. The fourth went quietly as Inge bounced into an inning ending DP after a Pedro single and the Mets wasted a leadoff walk. In the fifth, a Clint Barmes single and sacrifice got him to second, but no further, and the Mets went down 1-2-3.
The sixth started with consecutive singles by Cutch and Jones, GI's on a hit-and-run, to put runners at first and third, then Gee plunked Russell Martin on a 3-2 delivery to load the sacks. Terry Collins came out to get him - Gee was at 102 pitches - and brought on Brandon Lyon, strangely enough a righty, to face Pedro. El Toro got enough of a heater on the outer half to lift a sac fly to center and tie the game. Inge popped out, and Barmes fell behind 0-2 before rolling an ankle-high curve softly to short.
Locke pitched a clean frame, his last. He went six innings, giving up a run on three hits and three walks with three strikeouts, tossing 97 pitches.
JT opened the seventh with a knock and was bunted over by Marte, as Clint Hurdle's book says to do (and Marte is having a terrible night, with two K). Collins brought on lefty Scott Rice. Hurdle pinch hit for Snider with Gaby, who flew out, and kept in Jones, who whiffed after a Cutch intention walk; we're not sure that he didn't hit for the wrong guy. Tony Watson took the ball, against all righties. He gave up a one out single to Andrew Brown and a two out double to Ike Davis on a shot that Cutch almost outran to make it 2-1 NY.
Hurdle is a paint-by-the-numbers guy, and apparently he doesn't trust Jose Contreras, Bryan Morris or Duke Welker in a tie game, at least not yet as they're all relative Bucco newbies. But for a skipper that likes his match ups and rote pitching roles, he better find some faith. Tony Watson has 16 appearances, second most on the staff, and a 5.40 ERA. Either give someone else a chance or tell Neal Huntington to find someone who can do it.
LaTroy Hawkins took the hill for New York, and Pedro tied the game by crushing a fastball for his sixth homer. And in a switcheroo, Mark Melacon took the bump for the Pirates, and without the lead! He took the Bucs through the eighth, giving up one knock on a liner that Inge couldn't reach quite climb the ladder for; maybe Jordy Mercer, who is a middle infielder by trade and 4" taller might have snagged it. Still, no diff as we head to the ninth; Melancon is due up, and we assume that's when we'll see Mercer.
Bobby Parnell took the mound for New York. JT led off with his second knock of the night. Marte wasn't bunting; instead he struck out for the third time, this one chasing a slider in the dirt. Mercer did grab a stick, and bounced into a bang-bang force on a ball into the hole; that coin-toss call sure changed the dynamics of the inning. Cutch hit a ball 400', but it was to the deepest part of Citi Park and he was denied extra bases thanks to a well-timed wall leap and grab by Juan Lagares.
Hurdle called on Jason Grilli to face the 6-7-8 hitters; we're not exactly sure what his little computer is showing tonight. He was greeted by an infield hit on a play Inge couldn't make on Marlon Byrd, who was bunted to second. Baxter bounced one up the middle, and that was the ballgame.
Pittsburgh didn't field well, Clint Hurdle had a bad day at the office, and the Pirates stranded 10 and went 0-for-7 with RISP. Wandy Rodriguez takes on Shaun Marcum tomorrow.
- Neil Walker went 1-for-4 at Altoona, and played six innings in the field.
- Gerritt Cole found his mojo tonight, going seven and giving up a run on four hits and two walks with five K in a 2-1 Indy win. Stolmy Pimentel finally had a stormy outing, as he gave up six runs in 4-1/3 frames, hurt by five walks and a homer, though the Curve did mash out a 9-8 win. Andrew Lambo and Adalberto Santos each had three knocks.
- 1B Matt Curry had hamate surgery yesterday on right hand.
- Jim Callis of Baseball America released his first mock draft, and has the Pirates in on a handful of guys, notably North Carolina corner infielder Colin Moran and Indiana State LHP Sean Manaea (a Scott Boras client), while offering some coin-toss options.