Davis' two homers help Mets beat Pirates

The SportsXchange

NEW YORK -- Unlike most of his teammates, Ike Davis will look back fondly on the second half of the 2012 season.

Davis hit two homers -- including his 30th of the season -- and had a career-high five RBIs, and Jenrry Mejia earned his first big-league win with five shutout innings as the Mets beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-2 in front of an announced crowd of 22,072 at Citi Field Monday.

The Mets (70-83) won their fourth in a row, marking only their second four-game winning streak since the All-Star Break. The Pirates (75-78) fell to 5-17 in September and moved another defeat closer to their record 20th straight losing season.

Davis has been one of the few bright spots for the Mets in the otherwise bleak second half. He's hitting .257 with 18 homers (second most in the NL) and 39 RBIs since the All-Star Break. That follows a first half in which Davis, who missed the final 126 games of last season with an ankle injury and was felled by Valley Fever during the spring, struggled badly (.201 with 12 homers and 49 RBIs) while the Mets went 46-40 and surged into playoff contention.

"The difference is I'm just not awful like the first two-and-a-half months," Davis said. "I was terrible. I felt like I had never played baseball before. I kept saying that I'm not going to play this bad forever. I don't think it's possible for anyone to do that. You guys could pick up a stick and do better than I did."

With his second homer of the night -- a three-run shot in the fifth that provided the Mets' final runs -- Davis became the first Met to hit 30 homers in a season since the Mets moved into Citi Field in 2009. The two-homer game was the third multi-homer game of the year for Davis, who hit three homers against Arizona on July 28 and two against Houston on Aug. 26.

"Ike told me 'You won't see that again.' Told me many times 'You will not see that first half again from me,'" Mets manager Terry Collins said. "And if that's the case, tack up another five or six or seven home runs on that list because of what he would normally do in the first half. You've got huge numbers coming."

David Wright, whose 29 homers in 2010 stood as the single-season best for the Mets during the Citi Field era prior to Monday, scored on both Davis homers and added an RBI single just before Davis' second shot. The single was the 1,416th hit of Wright's career, leaving him two shy of tying Ed Kranepool for the most in Mets history.

Mejia (1-1), making his fifth big-league start, allowed four hits and two walks while striking out four in five shutout innings. Mejia, who lasted five innings for the first time since his first career start Sept. 4, 2010, threw 72 pitches in the first three innings but battled out of trouble by stranding runners at third in the first and second. Pirates shortstop Josh Harrison ended the third when he was caught in a rundown between third and home on a grounder to second.

Mejia threw just 24 pitches in his final two innings, which Collins hopes provides him the confidence to attack the strike zone instead of nibbling.

"I think he realizes he got something out of tonight, that, 'Hey, look, if I throw my pitches in the strike zone, I can get outs,'" Collins said. "When he threw strikes, he got them out. He got in trouble when he fell behind in the count and had to go toward the middle of the plate more."

The Pirates broke up the shutout in the eighth, when Andrew McCutchen tripled with one out and scored on Garrett Jones' single. Jose Tabata added an RBI single with two outs in the ninth. Neil Walker had two hits for the Pirates.

"We definitely had opportunities earlier in the game to get things started, but it just didn't click for us," McCutchen said.

Davis gave the Mets a 2-0 lead in the fourth with a two-run homer to left-center field just beyond the reach of a leaping McCutchen.

Pirates starter Kyle McPherson (0-2) was chased after 4 1/3 innings. McPherson allowed four runs on four hits and three walks while striking out three in his second career start.

NOTES: Mets closer Frank Francisco remains day-to-day with tendinitis in his right elbow. Both Francisco and Collins are hopeful he'll pitch again this season. ... The Mets are 34-44 at Citi Field, assuring themselves a second straight sub-.500 mark at home. The Mets were 34-47 at home last year. This will be just the third time in the last 20 years the Mets have finished with a losing record at home in consecutive seasons. ... The Pirates must win at least six of their final 10 games to avoid two bits of unwanted history. The Pirates have already suffered 19 straight losing seasons, the longest streak in the history of the four American professional sports. And ESPN and Elias Sports Bureau reported Monday the Pirates are in danger of becoming the first team ever to finish under .500 after being at least 16 games over after 108 games (two-thirds of the schedule). Through Aug. 8, the Pirates were 62-46, but they are 13-32 in their last 45 games.
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