|Juan Nicasio recovered his April form (photo Pittsburgh Pirates)|
It was another easy sailing frame in the third for Nicasio, who picked up his fifth K and took a helping hand from Gregory, who ran down a liner. deGrom did better, striking out the top of the order, all swinging. Nicasio continued to cruise in the fourth with two more K; the Bucs went down quietly. The Kid opened the fifth with a single up the middle; he didn't last long, erased on a 4-6-3 DP. That proved a good thing after Michael Conforto's double, a wild pitch and a walk; Juan's hitting 96 and may be trying to overthrow his way out of the inning. Didn't work; a single by the eight hole hitter made it 2-1 before Nicasio retired deGrom.
Stew singled with one gone - and that was a nice play by Neil Walker to run down a flare - then Juan singled after fouling off a bunt, swinging away and banging a ball off deGrom's mitt that deflected into left to put Bucs on the corners. JJ ran the count full, got a center cut heater and doubled of the RC wall to bring home a run. Cutch went down swinging at a nasty 92 MPH slider (off the plate, but tough to read at that speed) and Gregory rolled over on a change; he hit it hard even so, and it took a nice snag by James Loney at first to save two runs.
|JJ got back into the swing of things with a pair of knocks (photo Joe Guzzy/Pittsburgh Pirates)|
Jared Hughes took the ball in the sixth after Juan walked the leadoff man and got a quick 3-6-3 DP. Another bouncer closed the frame. Nicasio was at 89 pitches and usually doesn't fare so well after the first go-round, but did a very nice job tonight. The Mets booted one, but the Bucs couldn't take advantage. Interesting; Tony Watson came on in the seventh; we thought Clint would try to get another frame out of Hughes. Watson tossed a clean inning, though he still went deep in the count for two of the hitters. Jim Henderson took his turn for the Mets. JHK walked as a pinch hitter with one gone and JJ singled. Didn't help; Cutch smoked one inside the third base line, which Wilmer Flores was guarding, and that started an easy 5-3 DP.
Neftali Feliz made his second eighth inning appearance of the day. He struck out the first two Mets, then tried to blow a 97 MPH, 3-2 heater to Alejandro De Aza, who drilled it for a double off the Clemente Wall. Neftali regrouped quickly; Ganderson K'ed to keep it at 3-1. Lefty Jerry Blevens climbed the hill, and Gregory came off the bench to lead off with a knock. Matt Joyce K'ed, and in came righty Hansel Robles, who Jordy & S-Rod touched for knocks. With the bases juiced, he got Figgy to pop out and Stew was robbed by Flores; the Mets have made a couple of nice corner plays to deny the Pirates.
Mark Melancon joined Feliz as two-time performers on the bump today, and he faced the Big Apple's 2-3-4 hitters. Struck 'em all out, too. So raise the Roger again as the Bucs take two from the Mets.
Don't know if the arrival of Jameson Taillon or the skipped start by Frankie lit Juan's fire, but he enjoyed his first nice outing since April. Still, the strong start and the early hook makes us think he's earmarked for the pen. The Pirates had just enough offense to support some strong pitching, and it was a good day to take two; both the Cubs and Cardinals lost. So let the hype begin for tomorrow's game, when Jameson Taillon has the unenviable task of making his big league bow against Noah Syndergaard.
- JJ, Jordy, S-Rod and Stew each had a pair of hits tonight.
- Mark the Shark picked up saves #18 and #19. He's the first Pirate to save both ends of a doubleheader since Matt Capps did it on August 28th, 2007 against the Reds. A little more arcane note added by Elias Sports: Mark Melancon is the first Pirates pitcher with a 1-2-3 inning save in both games of a doubleheader since Juan Pizarro on Sept 4th, 1967 v the Cards.
- The Pirates have now won nine straight games against the Mets.
- Pittsburgh's line score after each game was three runs on 10 hits; the Mets were one run on four hits and one run on five hits.
- The twin bill drew 26,605 fans.