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Monday, May 26, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Pirates 5, Mets 3

By Adam Rubin

NEW YORK -- Mets fans mostly greeted Ike Davis with polite applause in his first game at Citi Field since the April 18 trade that sent him to Pittsburgh. His Pirates first-base platoon mate eventually deprived Jacob deGrom of his first major-league victory and sent the Mets to a demoralizing 5-3 defeat.

After Davis went 0-for-2 with a walk, he was replaced by righty-hitting Gaby Sanchez in the eighth when Terry Collins inserted southpaw Scott Rice to protect a two-run lead.

The bullpen surrendered five runs the rest of the way.

Sanchez homered against Rice and Jose Valverde allowed a game-tying RBI single to Jose Tabata later in the eighth.

The Pirates added three ninth-inning runs to take a 5-2 lead in the Memorial Day win at Citi Field, highlighted by Sanchez's tiebreaking single against Valverde. Two runs scored on the play, the latter courtesy of a throwing error by left fielder Curtis Granderson.

The loss dropped the Mets to 22-28. They are now 19-3 when leading after seven innings.

Valverde (1-1) was charged with four earned runs while recording only two outs. His ERA ballooned to 5.66.

Total package: Between pitching assignments, deGrom may be worthy of playing some shortstop, his original position at Stetson University.


Adam Hunger/USA TODAY SportsJacob deGrom tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings and went 2-for-2 at the plate in a no-decision.


Five of the first seven batters deGrom faced reached on Memorial Day. Yet deGrom wriggled free and ultimately dazzled in his third major-league start. He tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings and continued to swing a mean bat, too, going 2-for-2 to raise his career average to .800. DeGrom’s fifth-inning single initiated the two-out rally that resulted in two runs.

With Terry Collins being refreshingly liberal with pitch counts of late, even for his young starters, deGrom was permitted to toss 122 pitches.

DeGrom departed after issuing his fifth walk -- to Neil Walker in the seventh, which advanced Travis Snider to second base. Jeurys Familia, who had appeared in both games on Sunday’s doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks, then struck out reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen looking to strand both runners inherited from deGrom and preserve a 2-0 lead.

The Pirates had loaded the bases in the first inning, but deGrom coaxed Russell Martin into an inning-ending double play. An inning later, deGrom allowed a single and walk to open the frame but stranded both runners.

His pitch count was at 47 after two innings, but deGrom became efficient. His final line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 5 BB, 4 K. He threw 122 pitches (67 strikes) and departed leading 2-0.

The 122 pitches were the most by a Mets pitcher within his first three major-league appearances since Bill Pulsipher tossed 131 and then 122 in June 1995.

Collins has been less conservative of late with pitch counts. Zack Wheeler has thrown 118 in two of his past three starts. Rafael Montero threw 113 on Sunday.

As for his bat, deGrom’s two-out single in the fifth against Brandon Cumpton ignited the Mets to open the scoring. Juan Lagares followed with a walk. Daniel Murphy then laced a two-run single to right field.

Well, it was a two-run single after a replay review.

Lagares had attempted to score all the way from first on Murphy’s single after right fielder Josh Harrison’s throw eluded third baseman Pedro Alvarez.

Lagares initially was ruled out by plate umpire Laz Diaz. However, the umpires initiated a review of whether catcher Russell Martin illegally blocked the plate -- the Rule 7.13 adopted this year to prevent horrific collisions and injuries like the one that occurred with San Francisco’s Buster Posey.

The video review ultimately determined Martin had blocked the plate, Lagares was ruled safe, and the Mets took a 2-0 lead.

It was not the first time this year a runner had been awarded home because a catcher blocked the plate. On April 19, Colorado’s Nolan Arenado was ruled safe because, after a review, Carlos Ruiz was determined to have blocked the plate.

Meanwhile, with singles in each of his two at-bats against Cumpton, deGrom is now 4-for-5 this season. He became the first pitcher in franchise history with a hit in each of his first three career games. Include position players and deGrom still is the first Met since Victor Diaz in 2004 to hit safely in each of his first three major-league games.

DeGrom has four of the six hits by Mets pitchers this season. He had snapped the pitchers’ 0-for-64 drought to begin the season with a hit in his May 15 debut.

Snapped: Lucas Duda snapped the longest active streak in the majors of innings pitched without allowing a homer with his leadoff blast in the bottom of the ninth against Mark Melancon. Melancon had tossed 86 homer-free innings.

Debutant: Matt den Dekker entered on a double-switch in the ninth for his first major-league action in 2014. He struck out to end the game.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.70 ERA) opposes right-hander Edinson Volquez (2-4, 4.37) at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday.