The Mets went down in order in the third, and the Bucs made their first noise. With an out, Clint Barmes rolled an infield knock on a ball that SS Omar Quintanilla couldn't handle cleanly in the hole. AJ dropped a single into to center to put Bucs at first and second, but Starling Marte K'ed and JT bounced out to short.
The first blood was drawn in the fourth, when a four pitch walk to Byrd was cashed in by Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who doubled him home on an 0-2 sinker. The Pirates went down 1-2-3. The Mets stirred in the fifth. Consecutive knocks to open the frame put Mets at first and third. Pedro nailed Young at the plate on a grounder; it was a bang bang play that could have gone either way. Martin made the difference as he blocked the dish, buying an extra tick. Ike Davis K'ed as the runners moved up a station on a double steal, and Byrd's hustling infield single on a Barmes double-pump brought home another run to make it 2-0.
Garrett Jones started the Bucs in the fifth by banging a slider to The Notch for a two-bagger. Torres left a cutter at belt to Jordy Mercer, and he lined it into right to bring home Jones. Barmes singled to put Pirates at first and second, and at 71 pitches the reliever-turned-starter Torres may be running out of steam. AJ bunted them up for the top of the order. Torres worked Marte inside, getting ahead of him 1-2 before plunking him to juice the bases. But no big rally was in store; JT rolled over on a slider and bounced into a 6-4-3 DP; the Pirates can't do anything easy.
Burnett is at 82 pitches, and even facing the bottom of the order, the sixth should be his last frame. He lost the first batter, John Buck, on five pitches. Quintanilla got ahead 3-0, but AJ came back to get him on a fly to Marte. Jordany Valdespin batted for Torres and K'ed on three pitches. Young singled to put runners on the corners, and that was it for AJ, who went 5-2/3 giving up two runs on seven hits with four walks and eight K, tossing 96 pitches. Justin Wilson came in to face lefty Daniel Murphy, and blew a heater past him to keep the zero on the board.
David Aardsma climbed the hill. Cutch greeted him with a long fly to center on a fastball up to tie the game in a hurry. Pedro lined another heater into right for a knock. The next three Bucs went down, with Mercer taking a high fastball just short of the wall in center. At 2-2, it's a battle of the bullpens again.
Wilson faced the middle of the NY order in the seventh, and tossed a quiet frame, allowing a two out single to Byrd. Greg Burke took the bump for New York. With an out, pinch hitter Travis Snider bounced one to 1B Davis, who couldn't make a tough play and it went as a knock. Marte hit an at 'em liner to Wright. But the third out would be a little harder to find for the Mets.
JT singled to keep the inning alive for Cutch. Burke worked him at the knees, running the count to 2-2, then Cutch pulled a slider into left that went off Wright's mitt to plate Snider and send JT to third. LHP Josh Edgin took the ball to face Pedro, who wouldn't fish and drew a five pitch walk to load the bases. Martin followed with a four pitch walk and the easiest RBI he'll ever plate. Gaby grabbed a stick to bat for Jones, which brought on RH Gonzalez Germen, last night's loser. He retired Sanchez easily on a foul pop behind the plate. But it's now 4-2 with the Backend Boys open for business.
Mark Melancon took over in the eighth, with Gaby and Travis staying in the game. He faced the bottom of the order, and used nine pitches to get three ground outs. Terry Collins, with a short pen, sent out closer Bobby Parnell. Good thing they didn't use him earlier; he struck out side swinging. Jason Grilli came on to polish the New Yorkers off. He got a swinging K, a fisted pop to left, and a bouncer to short to tuck away the top of the Mets lineup and earn his 29th save, icing Justin Wilson's sixth win.
All we can say is that the Pittsburgh pitching is insanely good. Gerrit Cole will try to keep it going tomorrow afternoon as he goes for the sweep against Dillon Gee.
- Tonight's attendance was 39,173 the largest crowd of 2013 and eighth sellout of PNC Park this year.
- Pedro keeps rollin' - his hitting streak is at 10 games.
- The Bucs had scouts at the Cub's game, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. He speculates that the Pirates could be focusing on Cubs relievers such as (James) Russell and (Kevin) Gregg. Our question is who would they replace in the current pen? And they still have Jared Hughes, Ryan Reid, Vic Black and Duke Welker in reserve.
- Jameson Taillon got rocked tonight. His line: 3-1/3 IP, 10 runs on 13 hits with a walk and two strikeouts.