The first went quietly, with both Jon Niese and Francisco Liriano pitching clean frames; Liriano whiffed a pair. The Bucs mad a lot of noise in the second, but came home with just a run.
Gaby Sanchez and JT led off the second with back-to-back knocks and Brandon Inge bunted them up a station. The Fort walked to load the bases, and Clint Barmes lined a single to left to bring home Gaby. Liriano swung away and bounced into a third-to-first DP; the Pirates have had amazingly poor results with the bases jammed against the Mets this series. Liriano continued to deal, adding another pair of K to his total.
Starling Marte opened the third with a rip to left, and a Jordy Mercer grounder moved him to second. Cutch was jammed and flared a ball into right that dropped to score Marte. With two down, JT caught all of a heater above the belt and went yard in left center to make it 4-0. NY was a little more patient at the dish the second time around. With one away, Juan Lagares punched a single to left and was bunted over. With two down, Ruben Tejada drew a four pitch walk, with Liriano being squeezed a bit by ump Joe West, but Daniel Murphy ended the frame with a soft fly to left.
The bottom of the Pirate order went down quietly in the fourth, with Liriano's liner to third the only hard hit ball. With two down, Justin Turner walked on five pitches and Marlon Byrd lined a single to left on a 2-2 pitch. Liriano bore down and punched out Andrew Brown on three pitches to collect his sixth K of the game, and at 61 pitches he's still good to go.
Mercer banged a homer with one out in the fifth, and Niese then walked Cutch and Gaby, each seeing five pitches. JT smoked one to the base of the wall in straight center to score Cutch; Gaby was held at third as Lagares made a nice play of the carom and got the ball in quickly. That was it for Niese; Scott Atchinson took the bump with the score 6-0. Inge was retired on a roller to the left side, freezing the runners.
But a hung curve to McKenry was spanked barely past a diving Wright into left to score the runners, with The Fort taking second on the play home. The Mets decided to work on Barmes rather than get to the pitcher, and he made them pay by banging a flat slider up the middle to plate McKenry and make it 9-0. Liriano had another bit of two-out damage when Tejada doubled inside third, but he whiffed Murphy for strikeout #8.
LaTroy Hawkins took the bump for NY. He faced three hitters, thanks to a Mercer DP, while Cutch took a seat to get a couple of innings off before tomorrow afternoon's match. Liriano gave up his first leadoff knock to Wright and an out later Justin Turner added another to put runners on the corners. Byrd rolled one weakly to third; Inge charged and fielded it cleanly but dropped the ball trying to make the throw, and it was ruled an infield hit. That was it for Liriano, who went 5-1/3, giving up a run on six hits with two walks and nine K, tossing 90 pitches, probably close to his limit for today.
Bryan Morris came on with runners at first and second. They stayed put as he got a K on a 90 MPH slider and a foul pop out. The Bucs added on next inning when JT and Inge singled after an out; Tabata came in on McKenry's two out flare into center. Bryan Morris got his first MLB at-bat, and bounced out to Wright.
But he's paid to pitch, and did a good job in the seventh. After retiring the first pair of hitters, he drilled Jordany Valdespin on the first pitch. Valdespin was the guy who homered last night off Jose Contreras and showed him up by admiring his drive before trotting around the bases; apparently Morris took notes. Then he K'ed Wright to close the frame.
Robert Carson came in for the Mets, and Mercer ran into another fastball that he crushed off the second level wall over the 357' mark to make it 11-1. Justin Wilson climbed the mound for the eighth and tossed a clean frame, adding another pair of whiffs to the total, now standing at 14.
The lightning flashed around Citi Field as the ninth opened; the Bucs stranded a couple of runners and then Je West waved everyone in as the downpour arrived. We assume the game will be called as the New York region is under a severe thunderstorm watch. In fact, the Met management had stadium security clear out the stands in the last frame and moved everyone under the roof.
After 47 minutes, they renewed action. Tony Watson took the soggy bump and gave up a homer to Andrew Brown off a 3-2 slider. He struck out the next pair and got a soft liner to right from Tejada to finish the match.
The Pirates were 6-for-12 with RISP; the last two games have been a complete turnaround in clutch hitting for the team.
Jeanmar Gomez has his work cut out for him tomorrow as he faces Matt Harvey.
- Every Pirate starting position player had a hit. Jose Tabata went 4-for-5; five other guys - Starling Marte, Jordy Mercer, Brandon Inge, Mike McKenry and Clint Barmes - added a pair. JT and The Fort had three RBI each while Tabata added three runs scored.
- Today's 11 runs are the season high for Pittsburgh as were the 16 hits. The pitchers also set a season high with 16 K, one off the team record for nine innings.
- Jose Tabata tied his career high with three RBI, set last year against the Brewers.
- Mercer is the first Pirate 2B to hit two homers on the road since Carlos Garcia did it in 1993.
- Tony Watson has been scored on in 6-of-7 appearances; today was the fifth straight outing that he surrendered a score.
- They keep stats on everything...The Cisco Kid and Wandy were the first LH Dominican pitchers to start back-to-back games for a team. That's some deep data mining!