New York Mets: Andrew McCutchen

Rapid Reaction: Pirates 3, Mets 2 (11)

June, 27, 2014
Jun 27
10:51
PM ET
PITTSBURGH -- At least no one else in the division is winning, either.

After David Wright was scratched with a painful left shoulder Friday, the New York Mets proceeded to lose their third straight game.

Josh Harrison hit a walk-off RBI double against Vic Black in the 11th inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates won, 3-2, at PNC Park.

The Mets are in last place in the NL East at 36-44, but only 5½ games out of first.

No harm: The Mets faced two runners in scoring position with no one out after a hotly disputed call in the 10th inning, but Jenrry Mejia wriggled free of the jam to send the game to the 11th.

With Harrison on second base and no outs, Gregory Polanco hit a comebacker to Mejia. The closer trapped Harrison in a rundown, but Harrison flopped to the ground on the infield grass, evaded a tag from Ruben Tejada and reached third base as Polanco arrived at second.

Mets manager Terry Collins argued to no avail that Harrison left the baseline. As a result of the play, the Pirates had two in scoring position with none out. After a one-out intentional walk to Andrew McCutchen loaded the bases, Mejia struck out Neil Walker. Russell Martin then flied out to right field as Mejia preserved the 2-2 tie.

No-decision: Jacob deGrom followed up his first major league win with a no-decision, although he mostly performed well. The lone damage against the rookie came on a two-out, two-run single by No. 8 hitter Jordy Mercer in the fourth inning that evened the score at 2. DeGrom had lamented not covering first on a grounder knocked down by Lucas Duda earlier in the inning.

DeGrom retired seven straight batters at that point, until Pedro Alvarez’s leadoff single in the seventh. After a sac bunt advanced Alvarez into scoring position and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle inserted pinch runner Starling Marte at second base, deGrom struck out the pinch-hitting Harrison.

Collins then summoned Josh Edgin to face the lefty-hitting rookie phenom Polanco. Edgin retired Polanco on a foul fly ball down the right-field line. That stranded the potential go-ahead run at second base and closed the book on deGrom.

Edgin has now retired the first batter he has faced in all 20 appearances this season.

DeGrom’s line in a 90-pitch effort: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 1 HBP. His ERA stands at 3.62.

The Pirates are the first team deGrom has faced twice in his career. He tossed 6⅔ scoreless innings against Pittsburgh at Citi Field on May 26.

In the swing: Duda continues his surge at the plate. Duda produced a two-run single against Brandon Cumpton in the fourth inning that opened the scoring. Duda went 1-for-4 with a walk. He is now hitting .357 (15-for-42) with six doubles and four home runs in his past 12 games.

What’s next: Jonathon Niese (4-4, 2.78 ERA) opposes right-hander Gerrit Cole (6-3, 3.64) at 4:05 p.m. on Saturday. Cole is returning from the disabled list after dealing with shoulder fatigue.

Morning Briefing: deGrom day in Pitt

June, 27, 2014
Jun 27
5:45
AM ET
PITTSBURGH

FIRST PITCH: Now losers of two straight, the Mets continue their series at PNC Park on Friday at 7:05 p.m.

Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.75 ERA) opposes right-hander Brandon Cumpton (3-2, 4.93).

Friday’s news reports:

Daisuke Matsuzaka surrendered a three-run homer to Gregory Polanco after shaking off catcher Travis d'Arnaud and the Mets lost to the Pirates, 5-2, Thursday. Earlier, the Pirates purposely got Ike Davis into a rundown between first and second, allowing Andrew McCutchen to trot home from third base when the Mets got inattentive.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Times, Star-Ledger and at MLB.com.

Juan Lagares officially was activated from the disabled list Thursday. He went 1-for-4 with an infield single and two strikeouts.

• Terry Collins officially labeled Eric Campbell the backup shortstop, although the manager has no intention of using him there. That also means he has no intention of pinch-hitting for Ruben Tejada since there is no bona fide backup. The Mets demoted Wilmer Flores over Kirk Nieuwenhuis to keep the bench with as many capable bats as possible, even though it left them with an infield-outfield imbalance. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Newsday.

• Davis said facing the Mets for the second time is “totally different” and essentially devoid of emotion.

Dillon Gee likely will need two more rehab starts before being activated from the disabled list, beginning Sunday at Brooklyn.

• Noah Syndergaard allowed five runs in four innings and Kevin Plawecki made his Triple-A debut as his batterymate as Las Vegas faced Sacramento. Cory Mazzoni pitched in the Florida State League as he works back from a lat-muscle strain suffered in the Grapefruit League finale. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Tyler Kepner in the Times profiles the Pirates rookie Polanco.

• Critic Phil Mushnick in the Post tackles SNY’s Keith Hernandez.

BIRTHDAYS: Jeff Conine turns 48. ... Chris Woodward is 38. ... B-Mets outfielder Brian Burgamy is 33. ... Savannah RHP Tyler Vanderheiden is 24.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Are you concerned about Noah Syndergaard’s Triple-A production?

Rapid Reaction: Pirates 5, Mets 2

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
9:59
PM ET
PITTSBURGH -- Aaaargh!

The Mets were defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-2, Thursday in the opener of a four-game series at PNC Park.

The Pirates manufactured a pair of runs, scoring in the third inning without a hit, then plating a run the following inning when Ike Davis got caught in a two-out rundown between first and second and Andrew McCutchen scooted home from third.

The big blow against Daisuke Matsuzaka came in the fifth, when Pittsburgh grabbed a 5-1 lead on Gregory Polanco’s three-run homer.

Matsuzaka’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR.

Matsuzaka entered the start with a 2.21 ERA since Sept. 8 of last season.

Lucas Duda accounted for the opening Mets run when he tucked an opposite-field solo homer inside the left-field foul pole against Pirates starter Vance Worley in the fourth inning. It was Duda’s first career homer to the left-field corner.

Quiet night: Juan Lagares went 1-for-4 with an infield single and two strikeouts in his return from the disabled list.

Wright stuff: David Wright extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an eighth-inning RBI double. Wright has driven in a run in eight of his past nine games.

What’s next: Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.75 ERA), fresh off his first major league win, opposes right-hander Brandon Cumpton (3-2, 4.93) on Friday at 7:05 p.m.

Series preview: Mets at Pirates

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
9:00
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Vance Worley, Brandon Cumpton and Gerrit Cole in the opening three games of a series at PNC Park.
METS (36-42, fourth place/NL East) vs. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (39-39, fourth place/NL Central)

Thursday: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (3-1, 2.68) vs. RHP Vance Worley (1-0, 1.98), 7:05 p.m. ET

Friday: RHP Jacob deGrom (1-4, 3.75) vs. RHP Brandon Cumpton (3-2, 4.93), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: LHP Jonathon Niese (4-4, 2.78) vs. RHP Gerrit Cole (6-3, 3.64), 4:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Bartolo Colon (8-5, 3.67) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (5-6, 4.35), 1:35 p.m. ET

Pirates short hops

Gerrit Cole (shoulder fatigue) returns from the disabled list to take Saturday’s start, pushing Edinson Volquez to Sunday and Jeff Locke out of the series against the Mets. Cole, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, threw an 83-pitch simulated game spanning six innings Monday. Manager Clint Hurdle has not declared which starter will be dropped from the rotation with Cole reentering.

• Left fielder Starling Marte sat out Wednesday’s matinee against the Tampa Bay Rays. A day earlier, Marte departed the game with concussion-like symptoms after a headfirst slide into second baseman Sean Rodriguez’s knee in the fifth inning. Marte cleared a concussion test. He also suffered a swollen middle finger on his right hand and was unavailable Wednesday.


Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty ImagesIke Davis has a .360 on-base percentage since the trade.


• Ex-Met Ike Davis moved to the cleanup spot for Pittsburgh on May 23. The Pirates are 15-9 when Davis starts in the No. 4 slot. Davis is hitting .254 with four homers and 19 RBIs and has a .360 on-base percentage in 58 games since the trade.

• Second baseman Neil Walker returned from the disabled list Tuesday after recovering from an appendectomy. Outfielder Jose Tabata was outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear the roster spot, even though he is due roughly $9 million through 2016.

Tabata had lost his playing time to Josh Harrison in right field, and then to rookie Gregory Polanco once Harrison shifted to second base to cover for Walker.

Travis Snider (.234, 4 HR, 137 ABs) started the season as the regular right fielder, but has receded to the bench.

Polanco made his major league debut June 10. He is hitting .325 with one homer, six RBIs and three steals in 65 at-bats since his promotion and has settled into the leadoff spot. His 0-for-4, two-strikeout performance Wednesday at Tampa Bay snapped a streak of reaching base in 14 straight games to begin his major league career. His 11-game hitting streak to begin his career set a Pirates franchise record. It was the longest hitting streak in the majors to begin a career since Glenn Williams had a 13-game streak with the Minnesota Twins in 2006 and the longest in the National League since Juan Pierre had a 16-game hitting streak with the Colorado Rockies in 2000.

• Center fielder Andrew McCutchen’s .315 average ranks fourth in the National League. He is fifth in the league in RBIs (48). Eight of his 12 homers have come this month. McCutchen is slated to be an All-Star Game starter. He has 2,461,722 votes. The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig narrowly leads NL outfielders with 2,468,376 votes. The Brewers’ Carlos Gomez is third at 2,409,860.

• Reclamation project Vance Worley is a combined 1-0 with a 1.98 ERA in starts against the Chicago Cubs and Miami Marlins since making his Pirates debut on June 15. He was acquired from the Minnesota Twins on March 25 for cash and spent the first portion of the season in Triple-A. Worley went 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA last season with Minnesota.

Rapid Reaction: Pirates 5, Mets 3

May, 26, 2014
May 26
4:42
PM ET
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.

Series preview: Mets vs. Pirates

May, 26, 2014
May 26
10:38
AM ET

Getty ImagesThe Mets face Brandon Cumpton, Edinson Volquez and Charlie Morton at Citi Field.
METS (22-27, fourth place/NL East) vs. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (22-27, fourth place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Jacob deGrom (0-2, 2.77) vs. RHP Brandon Cumpton (0-1, 4.26), 1:10 p.m. ET

Tuesday: LHP Jonathon Niese (3-3, 2.70) vs. RHP Edinson Volquez (2-4, 4.37), 7:10 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP Bartolo Colon (3-5, 5.34) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (1-6, 3.29), 1:10 p.m. ET

Pirates short hops

• Right-hander Brandon Cumpton was selected to replace Wandy Rodriguez in the rotation and will start the series opener against the Mets. Cumpton, 25, received the nod over Jeff Locke.

Rodriguez was designated for assignment after surrendering six runs and failing to complete the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday. He had an 0-2 record and 6.75 ERA in six starts. Rodriguez is making $13 million this season, although $5.5 million of that amount is the responsibility of the Houston Astros.

Cumpton was 4-1 with a 1.35 ERA in six starts with Triple-A Indianapolis. He made two starts for the Pirates earlier this season.

Ike Davis is hitting .347 (25-for72) in 22 games in May. He has reached base in 20 of 22 games this month. Davis was acquired from the Mets on April 18 for reliever Zack Thornton and a player to be named. That other player is expected to be announced next month because he came from the 2013 draft.

Davis replaced third baseman Pedro Alvarez in the cleanup spot on Friday. Alvarez, dropped to No. 6 in the lineup, is hitting .209 with nine homers and 28 RBIs.

• 2013 National League MVP Andrew McCutchen is hitting .325 (26-for-80) in 21 games this month. McCutchen comfortably beat runner-up Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks for last year’s award.

Neil Walker leads NL second basemen with 10 homers and 26 RBIs. Walker’s 10th homer last season did not come until Sept. 2.

Edinson Volquez signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Pirates on Dec. 11. He began last season with the San Diego Padres and, after his Aug. 27 release, latched on with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Volquez surrendered four homers at Yankee Stadium two starts ago, but rebounded to limit the Washington Nationals to one run six innings on Thursday.

• Riding the hot hand, the Pirates have started Josh Harrison in right field for the past six games.

• Reliever Mark Melancon has not allowed a homer in 86 innings, the longest active streak in the majors. He last surrendered a long ball on April 14, 2013, against Cincinnati’s Joey Votto. Melancon has nine saves in 11 chances this season.

• Closer Jason Grilli returned from the disabled list on Friday. He had been sidelined since April 21 with a left-oblique strain.

Charlie Morton snapped a six-game losing streak over his first nine starts this season by limiting the Nationals to one run in 5 2/3 innings in an eventual 4-3 win Friday.

• Catcher Russell Martin returned from the disabled list Thursday. He had been sidelined since April 26 with a left-hamstring strain.

Farm report: Nimmo finds St. Lucie

April, 2, 2014
Apr 2
9:00
AM ET
2011 first-round pick Brandon Nimmo had no shortage of role models while training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., this winter. His workout partners included National League MVP Andrew McCutchen, All-Star Pedro Alvarez and Red Sox left-hander Felix Doubront.

NFL prospects trained alongside too, including Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier and Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

“Cutch doesn’t act like an NL MVP at all,” Nimmo said. “He’s a very down-to-earth guy. He’s very much like [Curtis] Granderson, where any questions that I had he would answer them, and anything that I needed he would come right to me and be honest with me. It was just awesome to be around that kind of guy and understand what kind of work ethic will get you there.”

The 21-year-old Nimmo arrived at IMG weighing 187 pounds. He departed at 207, which he believed translated into success while in big-league camp during spring training. Albeit in a small sample size, Nimmo hit .429 (3-for-7) with an RBI and two walks in Grapefruit League play.


Eliot J. Schechter/MLB PhotosBrandon Nimmo


“They put 20 pounds on me,” said Nimmo, a 6-foot-3 outfielder from Wyoming. “And it was really good muscle. None of it was bad weight. I had a nutritionist watching what I was eating. We just did it the right way. And I felt like that was what I needed. I felt like I needed to move on and train a little bit more like a professional. Obviously now you see the results of that physically.”

Nimmo hit .273 with two homers, 40 RBIs and 10 steals and had a .397 on-base percentage in 480 plate appearances with low-A Savannah in 2013. Yet it was an uneven, complicated season.

Nimmo was hitting .444 two weeks into last season, but all of a sudden went into a nosedive, including going hitless in 20 at-bats over five games before disappearing from the Gnats lineup for a month.

Nimmo suffered a hand injury that resulted in a dislocated joint and partial tear of a couple of ligaments. The problem: The injury went undetected by an MRI taken in Savannah. So Nimmo resumed playing in late May and the issue lingered the whole season. He eventually was checked out by Mets doctors in New York and the full extent of the injury was discovered.

“It was a situation where we got the MRI done in Savannah, and it happens where nothing showed up, so I played the rest of the season with it,” Nimmo said. “I let the people know afterward it still wasn’t all the way there. I went to New York and that’s when we found out everything that happened. And we went to Cleveland, too, and saw a pretty good hand doctor there, Dr. Thomas Graham. He said, ‘It isn’t going to change things. You don’t need surgery. They’ve already repaired themselves. You’re just going to have to get it stronger.’ And, actually, we took a couple of months off.”

Nimmo insisted he did not want to use the hand injury as an excuse for his season.

“I came back because I wanted to play,” he insisted. “And we felt like nothing was really wrong there. The one thing I noticed was I never fouled so many balls straight back. I didn’t quite have my top hand on top of it. It happens. You’ve got to learn how to play with injuries sometimes. It just was a learning experience for me.”

The Gnats won the South Atlantic League title, so Nimmo did participate in a championship. But his first-half teammates and friends, including Kevin Plawecki and Jayce Boyd, had received midseason promotions to high-A St. Lucie while Nimmo was snubbed.

“With how I started I felt like I should have left earlier,” said Nimmo, who opens this season in the Florida State League. “But I didn’t play the way that I was supposed to after that point. After April, I didn’t deserve a promotion. So it’s nothing against the Mets. I was mad at myself for not playing better. I feel like if I would have played at my best, maybe I could have got to St. Lucie. But I didn’t. I didn’t play my best. And so I needed to learn more in Savannah. And then I got to win a championship with them. It ended up working out well.

“Kevin is one of my best friends. Me and him compete. And Jayce is one of my best friends out here, too. We really thrived off of each other and really got a lot of information from each other. So obviously those two leaving, yeah, I was upset with myself about not being there. I just took it as I needed to get better. And I felt like I finished the season well.”

What’s on Nimmo’s agenda to learn? He spent spring training working on covering more ground in the outfield, including putting his head down when a ball is clearly over his head and taking the first three strides full throttle before trying to locate the baseball. Offensively, being able to hit the curveball with two strikes is one thing to hone.

Nimmo, by the way, is fully aware of who was taken with the pick immediately after him in 2011. After the Mets selected Nimmo 13th overall, the Marlins used the next pick on now-reigning NL Rookie of the Year Jose Fernandez out of high school in Tampa.

Nimmo said there was not extra pressure on him because of Fernandez’s achievements. He noted he has been facing Bryce Harper since the Nat was on a travel team for 9-year-olds out of Denver called the Rocky Mountain Steel.

“He was 6-2, 185 when we were 12 years old. I mean, he was a beast,” Nimmo said about Harper.

As for the Mets picking him over Fernandez, Nimmo opined: “If everybody knew how it was going to turn out, I think he probably would have went No. 1 overall. There were 12 other teams that passed on him, too. But I can’t put any pressure on me. I played against Harper since I was 9 years old. I played those guys. There’s nothing that I can do. I’m myself. I just have to control what I can control and just go out there and have fun.

“It’s the way it is. They’re very talented. Very talented. And they learned the game a little bit quicker than I did. I don’t feel like I’m going to be anywhere behind them. I think I’m going to be playing against them one day and on the same playing field, but it just took me a little bit longer. I hope to face [Fernandez] 1,000 more times, hopefully in the big leagues. We’ll see how it goes. But no more pressure. I’ll just be myself and play.”

2013 organization leaders

Average: Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, .330; Jeff McNeil, Kingsport, .329; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, .321; Eric Campbell, Vegas, .314; Kevin Plawecki, St. Lucie, .305; Yeixon Ruiz, Kingsport, .304; Dominic Smith, Kingsport, .301; Jhoan Urena, GCL Mets, .299; Jeyckol De Leon, Kingsport, .298; Zach Lutz, Vegas, .293.

Homers: Dustin Lawley, Vegas, 26; Travis Taijeron, Binghamton, 23; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 21; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 16; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 15.

RBIs: Dustin Lawley, Vegas, 96; Wilmer Flores, Vegas, 86; Jayce Boyd, St. Lucie, 83; Allan Dykstra, Binghamton, 82.

Steals: Darrell Ceciliani, Binghamton, 31; Alonzo Harris, Binghamton, 25; Cesar Puello, Binghamton, 24; Eudy Pina, Savannah, 21.

ERA: Rob Whalen, Kingsport, 1.87; Miller Diaz, Brooklyn, 2.03; Chris Flexen, Kingsport, 2.09; Robert Gsellman, Brooklyn, 2.58; Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 2.72; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 2.78; Rainy Lara, St. Lucie, 2.85; John Gant, Brooklyn, 2.89; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 3.05; Noah Syndergaard, Binghamton, 3.06.

Wins: Gabriel Ynoa, Savannah, 15; Rafael Montero, Vegas, 12; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 12; Matt Bowman, St. Lucie, 10.

Saves: Jeff Walters, Vegas, 38; T.J. Chism, St. Lucie, 20; Beck Wheeler, Savannah, 19; Robert Carson, Vegas, 11; Bret Mitchell, St. Lucie, 10.

Strikeouts: Rafael Montero, Vegas, 150; Noah Syndergaaard, Binghamton, 133; Logan Verrett, Binghamton, 132; Erik Goeddel, Binghamton, 125; Luis Cessa, Savannah, 124.

Short hops

• Right-hander Cory Mazzoni, who strained his right triceps in the Grapefruit League finale, remained in Port St. Lucie when Triple-A Las Vegas players broke camp. The injury is considered “nothing significant” and Mazzoni is unlikely to miss much time, a Mets official suggested. Still, Mazzoni is due for a follow-up appointment with team doctors in New York.

(Read full post)

Morning Briefing: Thor's Day a relief

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
6:36
AM ET

Jeff Roberson/Associated PressNoah Syndergaard makes what may be his final 2014 Grapefruit League appearance on Thursday, after Daisuke Matsuzaka opens the game.
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.

FIRST PITCH: Thor's Day comes on Thursday this week, but it technically also is due to come in relief.

Daisuke Matsuzaka gets the start in the 1:05 p.m. game against the Washington Nationals in Viera, opposite left-hander Ross Detwiler. Terry Collins plans to have Dice-K and Syndergaard combine to log the entire nine innings. In essence, Syndergaard will be “piggybacking” Matsuzaka with the top prospect’s own start.

Given the Mets may be doing their weekly cuts on Mondays this spring training, and given innings are becoming scarcer, this might be Syndergaard’s final 2014 Grapefruit League appearance.

“I know it’s inevitable,” Syndergaard told Dan Martin in the Post about eventually ending up in minor-league camp. “With the finances and everything, I understand it’s a game, but it’s also a business.”

In starts against the Atlanta Braves and Detroit Tigers, the 21-year-old Syndergaard has combined to allow two runs on three hits while walking three and striking out five in five innings. He could have escaped run-free had Eric Young Jr. -- in his first action this spring training at second base -- successfully handled a two-out grounder by Steve Lombardozzi.

Thursday’s news reports:

• Pitching coach Dan Warthen apologized Wednesday night after Wall Street Journal reporter Stu Woo heard him use a slur once commonly used to denigrate people of Asian descent. Read more in the Journal, Post, Daily News, Times, Newsday, Record and MLB.com.

David Wright effusively praised the Atlanta Braves for swiftly addressing the injury to Kris Medlen by signing Ervin Santana for one year, $14.1 million. Still, Wright would not condemn his own organization’s thriftiness.


Enrique Rojas/ESPNBraves owners took one hour to approve the $14.1 million expenditure that landed Ervin Santana, GM Frank Wren told SiriusXM.


Sandy Alderson also did not care to link the Santana signing and the Mets’ situation with free-agent Stephen Drew.

“No. 1, it was a one-year deal,” Alderson told reporters about the Braves and Santana. “And, No. 2, Atlanta has more than one loss from their starting rotation. I don’t think it has any significant bearing on us.”

The most Alderson said regarding Ruben Tejada and shortstop is: “We’ll continue to look at our other options.” Tejada is 1-for-12 with two errors in Grapefruit League play.

Read more in the Post, Newsday, Record and MLB.com.

• Tyler Kepner in the Times profiles Wright, writing:

A couple of years ago, in the offseason, [Mets fan Greg] Fedak’s wife, Cheryl, was in Norfolk, Va., on business. She went to dinner and could not find a seat. Wright was there with some friends and had an open seat at his table. She sat with the group, and Wright bought her a beer.

“He’s really down to earth,” Fedak said, “a guy you can relate to.”

John Lannan limited the Washington Nationals to two unearned runs in four innings and retired the final eight batters he faced as the Mets lost, 6-4, Wednesday at Tradition Field. Bobby Parnell’s velocity topped out at 88-89 mph in his second Grapefruit League appearance, but the closer indicated he is healthy and maintained his velocity will rise. Read more in the Star-Ledger, Newsday and MLB.com.

Carlos Torres, who had been projected to comfortably make the Opening Day roster anyway, is making the team as a reliever, Collins firmly stated.

• On Thursday, Ike Davis (calf) and Lucas Duda (hamstring) will repeat Wednesday’s outdoor activities that included batting and taking grounders -- again without running, though. Now Collins hopes both will be able to DH on the minor-league side sometime this weekend. Davis and Duda have been sidelined from games since the beginning of last week. Read more in the Star-Ledger and Daily News.

• Mookie Wilson arrived at the Mets’ complex this week and has been working as an instructor with outfielders on the minor-league side.

• Oddsmaker Bovada lists Wright as an 18-to-1 shot to win the National League MVP. That is tied with Colorado’s Troy Tulowitzki for 12th-likeliest. Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen is the favorite, at 6-to-1.

Bartolo Colon is a 25-to-1 shot as NL Cy Young winner. Zack Wheeler (40-to-1) and Jonathon Niese (66-to-1) also appear on that list. L.A.’s Clayton Kershaw is the favorite, at 13-to-2.

• Anthony Rieber in Newsday writes a feature about the large volume of mail players get requesting autographs.

• Michael J. Fensom discusses Tejada in the Star-Ledger.

• Former Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez injured himself stepping barefoot on a cactus, Tom Haudricourt writes in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

From the bloggers … MetsMinors.net speaks with Cesar Puello about moving past last season’s Biogenesis-related suspension. … Rising Apple suggests that Santana signing with the Braves should not be a license to bash the Mets. … John Delcos at Mets Report argues the importance of carrying Lannan as a second lefty in the bullpen.

BIRTHDAYS: Johan Santana, who tossed the only no-hitter in Mets history, turns 35. He recently signed a minor-league deal with the Baltimore Orioles, as he tries to return from a second surgery to repair a torn anterior capsule in his pitching shoulder.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: Who will win the NL MVP and Cy Young?

Wright, Young are Gold Glove finalists

October, 25, 2013
10/25/13
10:39
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Getty ImagesDavid Wright and Eric Young Jr. are Gold Glove finalists.
David Wright and Eric Young Jr. have been nominated for Gold Glove awards.

The other National League finalists at third base are Colorado's Nolan Arenado and Los Angeles' Juan Uribe.

The other finalists in left field are Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez and Pittsburgh's Starling Marte.

The winners will be announced at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday on ESPN2.

Despite producing a franchise rookie record with 14 outfield assists, Juan Lagares was not among the finalists in center field. The finalists are Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez, Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and Washington's Denard Span.

Wright has won two previous Gold Gloves -- in 2007 and 2008. San Diego's Chase Headley won the award in 2012.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 4, Pirates 2

July, 14, 2013
7/14/13
4:40
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PITTSBURGH -- The Mets head into the All-Star break with a 41-50 record.

John Buck’s two-run single highlighted a three-run first and the Mets avoided a sweep with a 4-2 win Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.


Justin K. Aller/Getty ImagesKirk Nieuwenhuis greets Eric Young Jr. at the plate after a first-inning run.


Dillon Gee (7-7) limited the Pirates to one run, unearned, on five hits and one walk in 6 2/3 innings.

Gee departed with two runners on base and two outs in the seventh and the Mets holding a 4-1 lead. In his return from the disabled list, Scott Atchison entered and struck out Starling Marte looking on a full-count offering to preserve the three-run cushion.

LaTroy Hawkins, who had battled a triceps issue the past week, surrendered an eighth-inning run, but stranded Andrew McCutchen at third base by coaxing a flyout from Garrett Jones.

“You look at the games we’ve played here, we’ve had a chance to win them,” Terry Collins said. “It’s not like we’re getting blown out. So you’ve got to take that and say, ‘Listen, let’s take this break. Let’s rebound. Let’s come out in the second half strong.’

“That’s what we haven’t done the last two years. We’ve come out in the second half after having great first halves and been flat. I think we’ve got to realize that the way we played in the last two weeks, or two and a half weeks, is a positive.

“We’re moving this way,” the manager continued, motioning upward, “and not any other direction. Let’s just get some energy back, get your legs strong again, and let’s get after it. But certainly you don’t want to get swept going into the break.”

Satin streaks: Josh Satin, starting over Ike Davis at first base, went 1-for-3 with a walk. Davis pinch-hit in the ninth and grounded into a double play.

What’s next: Some rest, except for David Wright and Matt Harvey. Harvey is widely expected to be named the NL All-Star starter at a 1:30 p.m. press conference Monday in the Caesars Club at Citi Field. Wright will compete in the 8 p.m. Home Run Derby, which will be televised by ESPN.

The Mets regroup Thursday with a late-afternoon workout at Citi Field. Jeremy Hefner is slated to face right-hander Kyle Kendrick on Friday as the Mets open the second half against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Germen suffers defeat in MLB debut

July, 13, 2013
7/13/13
12:30
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Gene J. Puskar/Associated PressGonzalez Germen suffered the loss in his major league debut.
PITTSBURGH -- Gonzalez Germen became only the sixth reliever in Mets history to make his major league debut in relief in extra innings.

The other challenge for Germen? Being sharp in the outing.

Germen had not been used by Terry Collins during two stints with the big league club until entering Friday night's series opener in Pittsburgh in the 11th inning with the score tied.

In fact, Germen had worked only 1 1/3 innings since June 29 -- all in an appearance six days ago with Triple-A Las Vegas at Tucson.

"It was a difficult situation, but I've been throwing sides here and there," Germen said through interpreter/bullpen coach Ricky Bones after surrendering a walk-off RBI single to Jordy Mercer in the Mets' 3-2, 11-inning loss at PNC Park. "I know it's hard, but I've been able to maintain myself in top shape to be ready for when they called."

Germen walked leadoff batter Andrew McCutchen in the inning, which he came to regret. McCutchen stole second base. After a one-out intentional walk to Russell Martin with first base open, Gaby Sanchez struck out. But Mercer then sneaked a ball up the middle to plate McCutchen from second base with the decisive run.

"I walked the leadoff guy with no outs," Germen said, "and the inning got complicated."

As for the final pitch to Mercer, the rookie added: "I think it was a pretty good pitch because it was a ground ball, but the ball was well-located in the middle of the field. No one could catch it."

David Wright agreed.

"The game winner was a good pitch," Wright said. "He just kind of found a hole, one of those seeing-eye singles. The walk ended up hurting him. That was the big thing. After that he settled down. ... But he made good pitches. He struck out Sanchez. Even the game winner was a good pitch. It might have even broken his bat. I was a step over. Q [Omar Quintanilla] was kind of towards me. And it was a 20-hopper up the middle. It was a good at-bat, a good pitch. Sometimes you make good pitches and bad results."

Germen said he was not overwhelmed delivering his first major league pitch to the daunting McCutchen.

"I was facing one of the best hitters," Germen said, "but the main thing I was thinking about was just making good pitches, mixing it up and keeping the ball in the field so we can win the game."

Rapid Reaction: Pirates 3, Mets 2 (11)

July, 12, 2013
7/12/13
10:34
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PITTSBURGH -- Aarrrrrgh!

Jordy Mercer's two-out single against Gonzalez Germen in the reliever's major league debut scored Andrew McCutchen from second base after a leadoff walk and steal and the Pittsburgh Pirates snapped the Mets' four-game winning streak with a 3-2 walk-off victory in the 11th inning on Friday night at PNC Park.

With Terry Collins leery of using Germen at the major league level, the rookie had made only one appearance since June 29 -- six days ago with Las Vegas.

The Mets had escaped a bases-loaded predicament in the ninth when Gaby Sanchez grounded out to first base against Josh Edgin.


Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY SportsTerry Collins pulled Jeremy Hefner after seven innings with Hefner's pitch count at 78.


Edgin was the fourth pitcher used by the Mets in the ninth. Scott Rice had inherited runners on the corners from David Aardsma with one out and struck out Pedro Alvarez before turning the ball over to Greg Burke to face Russell Martin, who walked to load the bases.

Edgin also stranded two runners in the 10th.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis had evened the score at 2 with a solo homer in the seventh against Pirates starter Charlie Morton.

Take that, David! Alvarez, initially passed over for the Home Run Derby by NL captain David Wright, belted a two-run homer in the first inning against Jeremy Hefner.

Even though Wright selected Alvarez as the injury replacement for Carlos Gonzalez, fans still lustily booed the Mets third baseman as he was announced for each of his plate appearances Friday at PNC Park.

Wright otherwise had a mostly fine day. He went 2-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. Wright's sixth-inning single plated Eric Young Jr. and pulled the Mets within 2-1. Wright did strand two runners in the 10th with a flyout.

Quick hook: Hefner was pulled for pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin with the score tied at 2 to lead off the top of the eighth, even though Hefner's pitch count was only 78.

After Alvarez's first-inning homer, Hefner retired the next 14 batters.

He ultimately trimmed his ERA to 3.33 in the no-decision. His final line: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K.

Hefner has now limited opponents to two earned runs or fewer in eight straight starts. That is the longest streak by a Met since Johan Santana went 13 straight starts spanning the 2008 and ’09 seasons allowing two earned runs or fewer.

What's next: Carlos Torres makes his Mets starting debut, after team officials decided to have Matt Harvey skip his final first-half outing. Torres, who has limited opponents to two runs (one earned) in 17 2/3 relief innings since a promotion from Las Vegas, opposes right-hander A.J. Burnett (4-6, 3.05 ERA) on Saturday at 7:15 p.m.

Because of a scoring change from his Tuesday appearance in San Francisco, Torres has not allowed an earned run in his last 12 1/3 innings. Torres’ last major league start came Aug. 3, 2010, with the Chicago White Sox. He allowed five runs in six innings in a loss at Detroit.

Series preview: Mets at Pirates

July, 11, 2013
7/11/13
8:20
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Getty ImagesThe Mets face (l to r) Charlie Morton, A.J. Burnett and Jeff Locke this weekend at PNC Park.
METS (40-48, fourth place/NL East) vs. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (54-36, second place/NL Central)

Friday: RHP Jeremy Hefner (4-6, 3.39) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (1-2, 3.38), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP Carlos Torres (0-1, 0.51) vs. RHP A.J. Burnett (4-6, 3.05), 7:15 p.m. ET

Sunday: RHP Dillon Gee (6-7, 4.60) vs. LHP Jeff Locke (8-2, 2.15), 1:35 p.m. ET

Pirates short hops


Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY SportsPedro Alvarez is one shy of the NL home run lead.


• New York City-raised third baseman Pedro Alvarez has 23 homers, one shy of NL leader Carlos Gonzalez and tied with Philadelphia’s Domonic Brown. Only two other players in franchise history have reached that long ball total before the All-Star break: Willie Stargell (30 apiece in 1971 and ’73) and Ralph Kiner (24 in 1950 and 23 apiece in 1948 and ’49). Alvarez has the most homers in the NL since June 1. He also has an eight-game hitting streak. David Wright will not be a fan favorite in Pittsburgh after omitting Alvarez from the Home Run Derby.

• The Pirates have four All-Stars: Andrew McCutchen, Alvarez, Jason Grilli and Jeff Locke. Pittsburgh last had that many All-Star representatives in 1981.

• Second baseman Neil Walker landed on the disabled list Tuesday with a right oblique injury. Jordy Mercer has started both games at second base since Walker was deactivated. Josh Harrison, promoted from Triple-A, as well as Brandon Inge are capable of starting at second base.

• Grilli’s 28 saves lead the National League. The total is a franchise record before the All-Star break, and the most in the NL before the Mid-Summer Classic since Chad Cordero had 31 in 2005 with the Washington Nationals. Grilli, 36, had declared an out in his contract while pitching with the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate in July 2011 and has taken off since subsequently signing with Pittsburgh.

• Outfielder Jose Tabata is hitting .423 (11-for-26) with four doubles and a triple in his last seven games. He returned July 3 after missing six weeks with a left oblique strain.

• The Pirates had a combined .291 on-base percentage from their leadoff hitters last season. This year, Starling Marte had an MLB-leading 59 runs scored out of the leadoff spot. Marte also has 27 steals, already the most by a Pirate since Tony Womack had 31 in 1998.

• McCutchen is hitting .350 at PNC Park this season.

• Free-agent addition Russell Martin has thrown out 50 percent of would-be base stealers this season. His 21 runners caught are the most in the majors. Martin defected from the Yankees for a two-year, $17 million deal last Nov. 29. He batted cleanup Wednesday for the first time since 2009, after the Pirates scored only six total runs during their previous four games -- all losses.

• Pittsburgh produced its 13th shutout Wednesday, in a 5-0 win against Oakland. The staff ERA is an MLB-best 3.12.

• Although they are only 3-6 in July, causing hesitation, this looks like the year the Pirates may produce their first winning record since going 96-66 in 1992, with a squad that included Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke, Doug Drabek … and Terry Collins as bullpen coach. It was Collins’ first year on a major league staff.

Pittsburgh was 16 games over .500 last Aug. 8, but finished 79-83 in 2012.

The 20 consecutive losing seasons is a North American professional sports record. The NBA’s Kansas City/Sacramento Kings (1983-98) and NHL’s Vancouver Canucks (1976-91) each suffered 15 straight losing seasons. The NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1983-96) had 14 straight losing seasons.

The reason for hesitation: a recent history of second-half swoons. Pittsburgh was 41-39 at the end of June in 2011, but went 31-51 the rest of the season. Then, last year, they were 42-35 at that point, only to go 37-48 the rest of the way.

• Locke had a personal eight-game winning streak snapped Monday, although he allowed only two runs in seven innings in a 2-1 loss against Oakland. The 25-year-old southpaw entered 2013 with a career 1-6 record in 12 appearances (10 starts) over two seasons.

Morning briefing: Baxter sparks twice

May, 10, 2013
5/10/13
6:01
AM ET

Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports
Mike Baxter received a whipped-cream pie to the face from Justin Turner after delivering a walk-off RBI.
FIRST PITCH: Shaun Marcum heads to the mound tonight at 7:10 in search of his first Mets victory. Marcum (0-2, 7.20 ERA) opposes left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (2-2, 4.02) in Game 2 of the Mets’ four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Friday’s news reports:

Mike Baxter for the second time in three days delivered a walk-off RBI single, this time against Pittsburgh Pirates closer Jason Grilli, and the Mets won 3-2 at Citi Field on Thursday night. The Mets’ last three home wins have come in walk-off fashion.


Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports
Marlon Byrd greets Mike Baxter after Baxter's game-winning hit.


Juan Lagares had a stellar leaping catch at the wall on a shot off the bat of Andrew McCutchen for the final out of the top of the ninth. That allowed Bobby Parnell to pick up his fourth win. (Parnell has only three saves.)

“He gets better jumps and routes to balls than Matt,” one Mets official said, contrasting Lagares with Matt den Dekker. “He makes it look easier. Matt makes up for his not-so-good jumps with his speed. But Juan is much better than people think.”

Dillon Gee took a scoreless effort into the sixth inning, when he loaded the bases and departed.

Read game recaps in the Post, Daily News, Star-Ledger, Record, Newsday, Times, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and MLB.com.

• Wally Backman believes Zack Wheeler could be promoted to the majors “after a couple of more starts.”

• In a memoir on sale next month, Dwight Gooden details an all-night cocaine party that caused him to miss the parade down the Canyon of Heroes celebrating the Mets’ 1986 championship. Read more in the Post and Daily News.

• The Double-A Binghamton Mets were no-hit by Washington Nationals farmhands Paul Demny and Ian Krol. Meanwhile, St. Lucie right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who was acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays in December, limited Palm Beach to one run in a career-high-matching seven innings in a 17-1 rout. Read the full minor league recap here.

• Columnist John Harper in the Daily News speculates about the Mets’ 2013-14 offseason pursuit of an outfielder. Writes Harper:

One, in particular, I’ve heard multiple times this week is Shin-Soo Choo, the Reds’ center fielder and leadoff hitter, who will be one of the more attractive free-agent outfielders available next winter.

“I’d bet on him being a Met next season,” one major league exec with past ties to GM Sandy Alderson said on Thursday. “He’s a high on-base percentage guy, which is what Sandy wants, and he’s a really good hitter. If they’re going to sign a free-agent outfielder, it’s going to be a pretty thin outfield class. I don’t really think Choo can play center field long term, and his power won’t play like it does in Cincinnati’s ballpark, but he’s a clutch hitter who would be a major upgrade for the Mets.”


Seth Wenig/Associated Press
Plenty of people getting bloody noses like Matt Harvey.


• Jared Diamond in the Journal finds many people have recurring nosebleeds like Matt Harvey recently has experienced, including while pitching in the first inning Tuesday. Writes Diamond:

Richard Lebowitz, an associate professor of otolaryngology at NYU Langone Medical Center, said he "can't go a week" without seeing a patient suffering from nosebleeds. The dry, cold air Harvey experienced in Denver only made things worse.

"There is a collection of blood vessels right in front of the nose, and it takes just a little bit of trauma to open them up," Lebowitz said. "Then there's nothing there between him and his jersey." …

He said people suffering from nosebleeds can have the offending blood vessel cauterized, which will almost always fix the problem. Short of that, Harvey will need to wait until it heals -- and potentially deal with more nosebleeds.

"It's not going to take much to get it to open up and bleed again," Lebowitz said.

Jonathon Niese said Thursday he felt a little knot in his back after his last start, but suggested it no longer is an issue and he is fine to take the mound Saturday. Read more at MLB.com.

Jeurys Familia was unavailable Thursday with a sore right elbow, he told Mike Puma in the Post.

Frank Francisco likely will pitch at a higher level in the minors than St. Lucie, where he has been working, before being activated from the DL within a week. Francisco is unlikely to unseat Parnell as closer -- not in the near-term anyway. Read more in Newsday, the Daily News and Times.

Pedro Feliciano is on the St. Lucie DL with a strain of food poisoning known as ciguatera.

Jenrry Mejia, who was shut down with forearm tendinitis during spring training, is ready to pitch for St. Lucie as Saturday’s starter.

• Catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud is scheduled for an exam on his fractured left foot next Friday in New York.

Ike Davis did not start Thursday, but did have a key RBI double off the bench that gave the Mets a short-lived lead in the seventh. Read more in the Star-Ledger.

• Read more on Gee’s outing in the Post.

• Justin Terranova in the Post speaks with Howie Rose about splitting his time between calling the Islanders and Mets.

• The Baseball Tomorrow Fund is offering grants to New York-area youth baseball and softball organizations that were directly affected by Superstorm Sandy. Get more details and apply here.

From the bloggers … Rising Apple notes the Mets are on pace to turn a ton of double plays this season.

BIRTHDAYS: Left-hander Pete Schourek turns 44. … Craig Brazell, who teamed with Victor Diaz to help prevent the Cubs from a postseason berth in 2004, is 33. He played from 2009-12 for Hanshin in Japan.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: What date do you think Zack Wheeler will be promoted?

Rapid Reaction: Mets 3, Pirates 2

May, 9, 2013
5/09/13
10:17
PM ET


WHAT IT MEANS: Clint Hurdle inserted his closer, Jason Grilli, with the score tied for the bottom of the ninth. The Mets found magic again anyway.

Marlon Byrd led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a sac bunt from Andrew Brown and scored the winning run in walk-off fashion on Mike Baxter's pinch-hit single as the Mets beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 3-2, Thursday night at Citi Field. Baxter had provided the walk-off win two days early to get a 1-0 win in 10 innings in Matt Harvey's near-perfect outing.

The Mets' last three home wins have come via walk-offs.

Juan Lagares -- who had received wide praise for his outfield skills in the minors -- deserved plenty of credit, too. With the go-ahead run on base and two out in the top of the ninth, the rookie center fielder leaped at the wall and took away a sure go-ahead extra-base hit (and potentially homer) off the bat of Andrew McCutchen to preserve a scoreless frame from Bobby Parnell.

The Mets had squandered a 2-1 lead in the eighth when Pedro Alvarez delivered a game-tying one-out solo homer against LaTroy Hawkins. Hawkins had not allowed an earned run in his previous 10 appearances.

LIKE IKE: Ike Davis did not start Thursday, because Terry Collins preferred righty-hitting Justin Turner face Pirates southpaw starter Jeff Locke. In the end, Davis was at the plate against a left-hander in a big spot. And Davis delivered.

Davis, who entered on a double-switch with Scott Rice the previous half-inning, laced a two-out RBI double to right-center in the seventh against reliever Tony Watson to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.

The Mets had not produced a hit since the second inning until Brown delivered his first Mets hit, a one-out single, ahead of Davis’ two-bagger in the seventh. Davis entered the game hitting .167 (8-for-48) with 20 strikeouts over his previous 15 games.

SIZZLING RICE: Rice, the second-oldest U.S.-born player ever to debut for the Mets (31 years, 192 days old), continues to excel. Rice inherited a runner on second and one out in the seventh from Lyon and retired a pair of batters (sandwiched around an intentional walk to McCutchen) to preserve a 1-1 tie.

GEE WHIZ: Dillon Gee took a scoreless effort into the sixth, when he allowed singles to Travis Snider and McCutchen and plunked Garrett Jones to load the bases with none out.

Brandon Lyon entered the precarious situation and surrendered a sacrifice fly to Alvarez that evened the score at 1. But Lyon limited the damage to that run.

Gee’s final line: 5+ IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HBP.

The Mets opened the scoring in the second inning on a Marlon Byrd sacrifice fly, which plated John Buck. Buck had snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a leadoff single. The Mets produced only three hits in six innings against Locke.

WHAT’S NEXT: Shaun Marcum (0-2, 7.20 ERA) looks for his first Mets win when he opposes left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (2-2, 4.02) at 7:10 p.m. Friday at Citi Field.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
14 4.02 143 190
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .298
HRL. Duda 28
RBIL. Duda 86
RD. Murphy 76
OPSL. Duda .827
ERAZ. Wheeler 3.49
SOZ. Wheeler 180