Pirates hold on for 7-3 win over Mets

Jerry Beach, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


NEW YORK -- Running out of rallies in two different innings, sending only the minimum number of batters to the plate five times and watching a six-run lead turn into a save situation in the ninth inning is no manager's idea of a blueprint for victory.
But Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle wasn't complaining after the Pirates' quirky 7-3 win on Friday night over the New York Mets in front of 25,123 at Citi Field.
"I don't always draw 'em up," Hurdle said. "But we're in a position to put it away (in the ninth inning) and we needed to win the game. So we worry about tomorrow, tomorrow."
Garrett Jones went 3 for 5 with three extra-base hits, two of which fueled the Pirates' two three-run innings. He doubled to start the second and hit a three-run, replay-aided homer that capped an outburst in the fifth.
Starling Marte had three singles and an RBI, Pedro Alvarez had two hits and an RBI and Jordy Mercer had two singles and a run scored as Pittsburgh (19-16) won for the second time in six games and scored more than four runs in a game for the first time since May 1.
"It feels good," Jones said. "Takes some pressure off the pitching. To get our offense (to) break out like that is always good for the confidence."
For a brief time in the ninth, it appeared as if the Pirates might be haunted by their inability to tack on runs in the sixth when Marte was picked off first and in the eighth when John McDonald was thrown out after he overran first base.
Jose Contreras, the Pirates' third pitcher, allowed two runs, which forced Hurdle to call on closer Jason Grilli. With the tying run on deck, Grilli retired Ruben Tejada on a liner to center for his National League-leading 14th save.
"The game challenges us sometimes," Hurdle said. "We had to work. Eventually, we got some things done."
The Pirates' three-run second was more than enough for Wandy Rodriguez, who improved to 3-2 by allowing one run, six hits and no walks in six solid innings. Rodriguez struck out two in a 92-pitch performance -- 25 fewer pitchers than he needed in six innings against Washington in his previous start on Sunday.
"After the 117 pitches (Sunday), to get through six at 92, that was plenty for me," Hurdle said, "He gave us what we needed today."
The Mets (14-18) scored less than four runs for the fourth time in as many games on this homestand and for the seventh time in their last 10 games overall.
Anthony Recker had two hits, including his first homer as a Met. Jordany Valdespin homered in the ninth and Andrew Brown added an RBI single. David Wright and Ike Davis each had two hits.
"We've (got to) start putting some (runs) on the board," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "We got a couple late, but we aren't giving (starting pitchers) much room to wiggle on the mound, either."
Marcum (0-3) retired the side in order in the first, third and fourth but failed to get out of the fifth for the third time in as many starts this season. He gave up all six runs and nine hits and no walks while striking out two in 4 2/3 innings.
Pittsburgh collected six hits and batted around in a second inning extended by some bad luck and questionable fielding by the Mets. Marcum almost escaped being down just 1-0, but a potential double play comebacker off the bat of Rodriguez knocked off Marcum's glove and slowed down enough so that the Mets could only get the out at second as Alvarez scored.
Marte followed with an apparent inning-ending grounder to shortstop, but Tejada double-clutched and Michael McKenry scored as Marte beat the throw to first.
"That inning was sketchy for everybody because there was a situation there (Marcum's) probably looking to get out of it with one run," Hurdle said. "Wandy ends up doing something you're not expecting, so we get three."
Marcum retired seven in a row before plunking Marte to start the fifth. Mercer followed with a single and, one out later, Jones crushed a three-run homer to right. Jones was originally awarded a triple, but replays showed the ball clearly landed above the orange home-run line.
"It looked like it hit the top of the fence a little bit and kind of ricocheted off the fence," Jones said. "I couldn't really tell, so I just kept running. Glad Clint wanted to get it reviewed and got a homer."
NOTES: Wright fouled a pitch off his leg in the first inning and left the game after his at-bat in the ninth. With a day game scheduled for Saturday, Collins said he lifted Wright so that he could rest and ice the leg. ... Mets reliever Jeurys Familia was unavailable on Friday due to tenderness in his right biceps. Familia last pitched Wednesday against the Chicago White Sox, when Collins was alarmed to see Familia's fastball clocked at 92 mph, 4 mph slower than usual. Collins said Familia's condition would impact the Mets' decision on injured right-hander Frank Francisco, who has struck out six in five scoreless innings at Class A St. Lucie as he recovers from right elbow inflammation. General manager Sandy Alderson said Thursday that the Mets wanted Francisco to continue rehabbing at a higher level of the minors. ... Pirates second baseman Neil Walker was scheduled to play in his second rehab game at Double-A Altoona, but it was rained out. Walker has been out since April 27 with a lacerated right hand. ... Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton threw a side session at Citi Field on Friday. Morton had Tommy John surgery last June and left a rehab start last week with a stiff right shoulder.