New York Mets: Josh Harrison

Morning Briefing: Wright MRI Day

June, 28, 2014
Jun 28
5:22
AM ET

Keith Srakocic/Associated PressDavid Wright worsened his left shoulder issue when he reached to tag out Ike Davis following a rundown Thursday.
PITTSBURGH

FIRST PITCH: Three up. Three down.

After seemingly getting on a roll in Miami and in the opener against the A’s, the Mets now try to halt a three-game losing streak Saturday.

Jonathon Niese (4-4, 2.78 ERA) opposes right-hander Gerrit Cole (6-3, 3.64) in the 4:05 p.m. game at PNC Park.

Saturday’s news reports:

David Wright is scheduled to be in New York on Saturday for an MRI of his ailing left shoulder. Wright, who originally suffered the injury on a headfirst slide on a muddy field on June 12, had the pain intensify in Thursday’s series opener in Pittsburgh. The Mets did not plan to make a roster move until they learned the severity of Wright’s injury, according to Terry Collins. Wilmer Flores cannot return within 10 days of his demotion unless Wright is placed on the DL.

Read more on Wright in the Post, Daily News, Newsday, Star-Ledger, Record, Times, Journal and at MLB.com.

• The Mets lost 3-2 in the 11th inning on Friday when ex-Pirate Vic Black surrendered a walk-off RBI double to Josh Harrison. Black was acquired with a month remaining in last season in the deal that sent Marlon Byrd and John Buck to Pittsburgh.

Jacob deGrom limited Pittsburgh to two runs in 6 2/3 innings, but regretted not covering first base on a shot knocked down by first baseman Lucas Duda in what became a two-run fourth inning. Duda had produced a two-run single in the top half of that frame.

Read game recaps in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Post, Star-Ledger, Record and at MLB.com.

• Kyle Johnson had three RBIs and finished a homer shy of the cycle as Binghamton beat Altoona, 8-2. Champ Stuart had a go-ahead two-run single in Savannah’s 4-2 win against Rome. Marcos Molina tossed six scoreless innings as Brooklyn beat Staten Island, 2-0. Read the full minor-league recap here.

• Justin Terranova in the Post asks five questions of SNY analyst Ron Darling, including whether the Mets should trade pitching for a bat.

• John DeMarzo in the Post talks with Paul DePodesta about 2012 first-round pick Gavin Cecchini, who recently was promoted to St. Lucie.

• Jared Diamond in the Journal asks if the Mets are waving white flags of surrender instead of white towels. Writes Diamond:

Dave Martucci is the former president the North American Vexillological Association, one of the world's largest groups dedicated to vexillology -- the study of flags. In a telephone interview this week, he said the Mets shouldn't worry too much, since the white flag has only been used as a formal sign of surrender for about 300 years, a blip in human history.

• Anna Benson is a free woman. Read more at FoxNews.com.

BIRTHDAYS: Former outfielder Richard Hidalgo turns 39.

TWEET OF THE DAY: YOU’RE UP: How concerned are you about David Wright’s shoulder?

TC unaware of Wright's woes until Friday

June, 27, 2014
Jun 27
11:47
PM ET
PITTSBURGH -- New York Mets manager Terry Collins said he was unaware David Wright was bothered by a left shoulder issue until the captain confessed Friday that the pain had intensified in the series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Wright
Collins said Wright, who originally injured the shoulder on a headfirst slide on June 12, still tried to talk the manager into letting him remain in Friday's lineup.

Collins would not allow that, knowing Wright blew out his right hamstring last season trying to play through a relatively minimal issue. Wright also played with a broken back for several weeks in 2011 before seeking a diagnosis.

"I think it's the best option," Collins said about holding Wright out and dispatching him to New York on Saturday for an MRI. "First of all, I absolutely salute him for coming in and saying something today. That's not David Wright, as you know, with what he did with the back a couple of years ago, with what he did last year with the leg, when he just plays through stuff. … He said, 'I don't want to do what I did with the leg, but can I try it anyway?' And I said, 'I don't think so.'"

The Mets had only Eric Young Jr. as a backup infielder Friday because Wilmer Flores was demoted before the series to make room for Juan Lagares' return from the disabled list. Collins said the team is prepared to continue playing down two infielders until there is a firm diagnosis on Wright. Flores is not eligible to return this quickly unless Wright lands on the disabled list.

Out of bounds: What was the umpiring crew's explanation to Collins for not calling Josh Harrison out of the baseline in the 10th inning on Friday?

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Harrison
"I don't know," Collins said. "That wasn't the difference [in the game]. I wasn't too happy at the time, so I'm not sure I was paying much attention."

Daniel Murphy echoed Collins' assessment that he believed Harrison had left the baseline, but the Pirates ultimately did not score in that inning. So, Murphy noted, it served only to "flip" the batting order, meaning Harrison was up again in the 11th, when he drove in the winning run in Pittsburgh's 3-2 victory.

deGrom's regret: Jacob deGrom regretted not covering first base on the one-out grounder Russell Martin smoked up the first-base line that Lucas Duda knocked down in the fourth inning. DeGrom figured Duda had cleanly snared the baseball, so the rookie was late covering. Jordy Mercer ended up producing a two-out, two-run single later that inning that evened the score at two.

"When he dove, I thought he had it. And I kind of looked toward second to see if he was going to get up and try to make the throw," deGrom said. "I didn't see the ball roll out. Yeah, I was frustrated I wasn't over there. If I get over there, they probably don't score. That's a little frustrating."

Still, deGrom was pleased with his 6⅔-inning outing. His velocity was up.

"I felt good," deGrom said. "We've been working on some things in the bullpen mechanical wise, because I was kind of cutting everything and not staying behind the ball. So we've been working on that. It really showed tonight."

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.

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.

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.

Series preview: Mets at Pirates

July, 11, 2013
7/11/13
8:20
AM ET

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.

Series preview: Mets at Cardinals

September, 3, 2012
9/03/12
10:56
AM ET

US Presswire
The Mets face (l to r) Joe Kelly, Jaime Garcia and Adam Wainwright at Busch Stadium.
METS (64-70, third place/NL East) vs. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (72-62, second place/NL Central)

Monday: RHP Collin McHugh (0-0, 0.00) vs. RHP Joe Kelly (4-6, 3.61), 2:15 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP Matt Harvey (3-3, 2.76) vs. LHP Jaime Garcia (3-6, 4.52), 8:15 p.m. ET

Wednesday: RHP R.A. Dickey (17-4, 2.63) vs. RHP Adam Wainwright (13-11, 3.90), 1:45 p.m. ET

Cardinals short hops

• St. Louis returns from a disappointing 4-6 trip despite opening the three-city excursion by taking two of three from division-leading Cincinnati. Cardinals batters went 40 straight innings without producing an RBI and were shut out three times, including consecutively in Pittsburgh in games started by James McDonald and Wandy Rodriguez.


Patrick McDermott/Getty Images
Carlos Beltran departed Sunday's game with a knee injury.


St. Louis nonetheless occupies the second wild-card slot in the National League, a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers and 1 ahead of the Pirates. Yet despite leading the league in runs scored (646) and on-base percentage (.338), the Cards have been inconsistent. They hit for power and explode some games, but struggle with runners in scoring position and fail to score in others.

Rafael Furcal has been sidelined since Aug. 30 with a ligament tear in his right elbow. He is attempting to rehab rather than undergo Tommy John surgery. Daniel Descalso is manning shortstop in Furcal’s absence.

Carlos Beltran suffered a left-knee injury on a slide Sunday. He took the field the following half-inning hoping a ball was not hit to him, but ultimately left the game. Since July 2, Beltran is hitting only .206 with eight homers and 25 RBIs in 199 at-bats.

• Top pitching prospect Shelby Miller is due to join the Cardinals with rosters expanded and may see action in the bullpen -- although it’s conceivable he could end up in the rotation given St. Louis starting pitchers’ recent collective struggles. Miller, 21, was the 19th overall pick in the 2009 draft out of high school in Texas.

Yadier Molina absorbed a wicked plate collision that involved Josh Harrison delivering his shoulder into the catcher’s head last Tuesday in Pittsburgh. But Molina returned to the lineup two days later, in Washington.

Molina is putting up career-high offensive numbers: .322 with 17 homers and 62 RBIs. His average ranks fourth in the National League, trailing suspended leader Melky Cabrera (.346), Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen (.344) and San Francisco’s Buster Posey (.329) and leading No. 5 David Wright (.314).

• First baseman Allen Craig (92 games) and third baseman David Freese (117 games) already have logged career-high game totals, so their production in September bears watching.

Last series results

Mets won, 3-1, at Citi Field, June 1-4 (AP game recaps)

Mets 8, Cardinals 0: Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in team history, helped by an umpire's missed call and an outstanding catch in left field by Mike Baxter. More

Mets 5, Cardinals 0: R.A. Dickey (8-1) gave up seven hits, struck out nine and walked none in his third career shutout and first since 2010. David Wright homered. More

Mets 6, Cardinals 1: Jon Niese struck out a career-high 10 in six scoreless innings before he was pulled as a precaution with an elevated heart rate. Kirk Nieuwenhuis contributed a homer and three RBIs. More

Cardinals 5, Mets 4: Allen Craig hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the eighth inning against Jon Rauch. More

Rapid Reaction: Mets 3, Pirates 1

May, 23, 2012
5/23/12
2:55
PM ET
WHAT IT MEANS: The Mets split a six-game road trip to Toronto and Pittsburgh with a 3-1 rubber-game victory against the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon along the shores of the Allegheny River.

Frank Francisco produced a 1-2-3 inning for a save for the second straight day.

HOW NICE: Coming off an outing in Toronto to open the road trip in which he matched a career high by allowing eight runs, Jon Niese took a scoreless effort into the sixth inning. He then allowed a leadoff double by Josh Harrison and one-out RBI single by Andrew McCutchen that pulled the Pirates within 3-1. Niese held the line there that frame, though, coaxing a 6-4-3 double play from Neil Walker.

Niese departed with two out and two runners aboard in the eighth after walking Gorkys Hernandez. Bobby Parnell entered to face McCutchen, and catcher Rob Johnson tried to catch Hernandez straying too far off first base. Johnson’s snap pickoff attempt was missed by first baseman Ike Davis, and an E-3 was charged as both runners advanced.

Parnell made it immaterial by striking out McCutchen on a 98 mph fastball to strand the two runners in scoring position and preserve a two-run lead.

Niese’s final line: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K. It was his longest outing since also going 7 2/3 innings on Aug. 11, 2011 against the San Diego Padres.

PIRATE CASTAWAY: The Pirates declined a $3 million option on Ronny Cedeno last offseason and instead signed Clint Barmes to serve as their shortstop. Cedeno then settled for a $1.1 million contract and backup role with the Mets. He got a little payback against his former club this week. Cedeno went 5-for-10 during the three-game series while manning shortstop in place of soon-to-be-returning Ruben Tejada. Tejada (quadriceps) appeared in his first extended spring training game Tuesday.

MR. .400: David Wright briefly dipped under .400 after being retired in his first two at-bats Wednesday. Wright then delivered an RBI double against Charlie Morton in the fifth inning that staked the Mets to a 3-0 lead. But after striking out in his fourth AB to finish 1-for-4, Wright’s average ended the trip at .399.

It’s the first time Wright completed a day under .400 since May 14.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis had preceded Wright’s fifth-inning at-bat with a sacrifice fly. The Mets had opened the scoring in the first inning on Lucas Duda’s RBI single.

IT’S A HIT: Davis, who entered the day mired in a 2-for-33 rut, singled in his first at-bat. He finished 1-for-4, striking out on a pitch in the dirt and well out of the strike zone in his final plate appearance.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Mets return to Citi Field for an 11-game homestand during which they face San Diego, Philadelphia and Carlos Beltran’s St. Louis Cardinals. Jeremy Hefner (0-1, 2.25 ERA), after two quality relief appearances, makes his first major league start in Thursday’s series opener against the Padres, opposite left-hander Eric Stults (0-0, 2.70). Hefner takes the slot formerly held by Miguel Batista, who landed on the DL on Sunday with a lower back or oblique strain.

Rapid Reaction: Mets 3, Pirates 2

May, 22, 2012
5/22/12
9:42
PM ET


Recap | Box score | Photos

WHAT IT MEANS: Lucas Duda produced a two-out, tiebreaking RBI single and third baseman Pedro Alvarez's error on a would-be inning-ending grounder by Daniel Murphy resulted in another run in the eighth.

And the Mets ultimately held on to beat Pittsburgh, 3-2, Tuesday night at PNC Park.

Barely.

Jon Rauch surrendered a one-out double to Jose Tabata in the bottom of the eighth. And Tabata scored when Murphy, racing backward into right-center from second base, could not hold on to the baseball on an over-the-shoulder catch attempt on Andrew McCutchen's flare.

With the Mets leading by a run, Tim Byrdak entered. And although McCutchen reached scoring position with a steal, Byrdak bailed the Mets out yet again by striking out the lefty-hitting Alvarez to preserve the one-run lead. It was appearance No. 28 for Byrdak, putting him on pace for 98 this season.

Frank Francisco closed it out in the ninth in unusual 1-2-3 fashion.

AARGH: R.A. Dickey nursed a 1-0 lead into the sixth inning, when Josh Harrison delivered a one-out triple. McCutchen then had a sacrifice fly to even the score.

Terry Collins opted to pulled Dickey from the tie game in the top of the eighth, with the knuckleballer’s pitch count only at 88. Andres Torres pinch hit and struck out, extending his skid to 1-for-his-last-34.

Dickey recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts. He limited the Pirates to one run on five hits with no walks in seven innings.

WRIGHT WATCH: David Wright went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts as his average dipped to .403. He left two runners on base in the eighth when he fanned against reliever Juan Cruz, before Duda came through with the two-out RBI single. Wright had struck out three times in a game on only one other instance this season -- April 30 at Houston against Bud Norris (twice) and Brandon Lyon.

NOT O-K: Ike Davis went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts -- both looking. He now has fanned 43 times in 141 at-bats. Davis is 2-for-his-last-33 with 11 strikeouts since homering against Miami's Mark Buehrle on May 11.

WHAT'S NEXT: Jon Niese (2-2, 4.85 ERA) opposes right-hander Charlie Morton (2-4, 4.35) in Wednesday's 12:35 p.m. series finale.

Santana stuck on one win

May, 22, 2012
5/22/12
12:09
AM ET
PITTSBURGH -- Nine starts. One win.

That’s all Johan Santana has to show for his 3.24 ERA in his first season back from shoulder surgery.


Vincent Pugliese/US Presswire
Johan Santana could not protect a four-run lead Monday.


This time, though, Santana could not deflect the fault to a leaky pen or lack of offense. Although the Mets had opportunities to pad their lead, they nonetheless staked the southpaw to a 4-0 lead in the second inning Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Santana then had some trouble leaving balls up in the middle of the plate, including on the consecutive doubles he surrendered to open the bottom of the fourth by Josh Harrison, Andrew McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez.

Michael McKenry’s two-run shot evened the score at 4 in the seventh and the Pirates ultimately won, 5-4, after Santana departed.

“We were trying to throw a fastball away. It stayed pretty much in the middle of the plate and up, and he put a good swing,” Santana said about the homer.

The offensively challenged Pirates had not overcome more than a three-run deficit to win since 2009.

“I was very surprised,” Terry Collins said. “The pitch he made to McKenry was a ball I’m sure he wishes he could get back. It was up. You felt pretty good going into that.

“But we didn’t add on. When they scored two, we had several opportunities to get back and add on some runs. That’s what we’ve got to do. This is the third or fourth game now where we’ve scored three or four in an inning and you look up and that’s all we’ve got. We’ve got to add on. That would make it a lot easier for our pitching staff.”

Asked for his assessment of his 1-2 record, with six no-decisions, Santana expressed appreciation for his shoulder’s health and said he still needs to get his control more pinpoint. He was charged with four runs on eight hits while striking out seven and walking two in 6 1/3 innings Monday.

“I still feel that I have some work to do with my command, and especially with my fastball,” he said.

Series preview: Mets at Pirates

May, 21, 2012
5/21/12
11:00
AM ET

Getty Images/Associated Press
The Mets face (l to r) Erik Bedard, James McDonald and Charlie Morton in Pittsburgh.
METS (22-19, third place/NL East) vs. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (19-22, third place/NL Central)

Monday: LHP Johan Santana (1-2, 2.89) vs. LHP Erik Bedard (2-5, 3.07), 7:05 p.m. ET

Tuesday: RHP R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.76) vs. RHP James McDonald (3-2, 2.68), 7:05 p.m. ET

Wednesday: LHP Jon Niese (2-2, 4.85) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (2-4, 4.35), 12:35 p.m. ET

Pirates short hops

• Manager Clint Hurdle benched outfielder/leadoff hitter Jose Tabata on Friday for lack of hustle on a groundball the previous day. Tabata also had misplayed two fly balls that gam. "He didn't get out of the box,” Hurdle told the team’s web site. “We saw it happen. We've seen it happen a couple of times. They understand when that happens something else also happens: You're gonna sit over there with me and watch. We had a talk. Jose said he 'lost the moment.' Fine, then get down the line. That didn't happen, and that's not part of our identity. That's not what we're creating here.”

• Center fielder Andrew McCutchen went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Sunday. In the six previous days, McCutchen had hit a sizzling .381 (8-for-21) with four homers, seven RBIs and six runs scored. He had two multi-homer games in a three-game span, becoming only the second Pirate in the past 25 years to accomplish that, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The other: Pedro Alvarez, who homered twice in consecutive games in July 2010.


Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
Ex-Met Rod Barajas, who actually was awarded to the Dodgers on a waiver claim while the Mets were in Pittsburgh in 2010, signed a one-year deal with the Pirates as a free agent.


• Alvarez is RBI-less in his past six games, and is hitting .106 (5-for-47) in his past 15 games. Still, his seven homers trail the MLB leaders among third baseman -- Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera and David Freese -- by only one.

• Ex-Mets catcher Rod Barajas signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Pirates during the offseason. He homered Sunday against Detroit’s Max Scherzer, his fourth long ball this season, but is hitting only .220 this season. Barajas has thrown out only two of 18 would-be stealers.

• Right-hander James McDonald had a no-hit bid through five innings in his most recent start, against the Washington Nationals. Ex-Mets farmhand Jesus Flores broke it up with a sixth-inning double.

• Left-hander Erik Bedard allowed four runs in six innings against the Nats on Wednesday. Bedard had been forced from a May 9 start after one-plus innings with back spasms and received extra rest before last week’s start. He has one career start against the Mets: on June 16, 2006 at Shea Stadium, when he allowed three runs in six innings during an interleague series while playing for the Baltimore Orioles. Chris Woodward had an RBI groudout and Jose Reyes had a two-run double against Bedard in Baltimore’s 6-3 win.

• Closer Joel Hanrahan is 9-for-10 in save chances. He has a 90.7 percent success rate since the beginning of the 2011 season. The only NL closer with 40 opportunities and a better save-conversion percentage during that span: Milwaukee’s John Axford (94.5 percent). Hanrahan already ranks eighth on the Pirates’ all-time saves list with 55. Next up: Bill Landrum with 56.

• Shortstop Clint Barmes played for Hurdle with the Colorado Rockies. He signed a two-year, $10.5 million deal as a free agent to succeed current Met Ronny Cedeno as shortstop in Pittsburgh.

• The Pirates have used righty-hitting Casey McGehee (.198) and lefty-hitting Garrett Jones (.231) at first base this season.

Nate McLouth (.143 overall) is 0-for-13 as a pinch hitter this season in his second tour of duty with the Pirates.

• Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander came within two outs of a no-hitter against the Pirates on Friday. Josh Harrison, who has been starting on the left side of the infield against left-handed pitching, broke up Verlander’s bid for his third career no-hitter with a single to center.

• Set-up man Jason Grilli landed on the bereavement list Sunday. Southpaw Jeff Locke temporarily has been promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis to work in long relief. Locke will not be used as a second lefty specialist to complement Tony Watson.

• Ex-Met Nick Evans is hitting .197 with two homers and nine RBIs in 71 at-bats at Triple-A Indianapolis. He signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent during the offseason. Evans has been sidelined since April 30 and is on the International League disabled list.

Matchups

Santana vs. Pirates (career: 2-2, 1.96 ERA)
Pedro Alvarez .667, 3 PA
Jose Tabata .333, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA
Rod Barajas .286, 2 BB, 2 K, 9 PA
Casey McGehee .200, 3 K, 10 PA
Nate McLouth .133, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 17 PA
Andrew McCutchen .000, 3 K, 4 PA
Garrett Jones .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Neil Walker .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Clint Barmes .000, 3 PA

Dickey vs. Pirates (career: 1-2, 2.78 ERA)
Josh Harrison .571, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 8 PA
Garrett Jones .400, 1 RBI, 1 K, 10 PA
Jose Tabata .333, 1 BB, 1 K, 11 PA
Andrew McCutchen .222, 2 BB, 4 K, 12 PA
Rod Barajas .143, 2 RBI, 1 K, 7 PA
Neil Walker .111, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 10 PA
Casey McGehee .100, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K, 10 PA
Pedro Alvarez .000, 1 BB, 4 PA
Nate McLouth .000, 3 PA
Clint Barmes .000, 1 RBI, 3 PA

Niese vs. Pirates (career: 1-0, 2.45 ERA)
Jose Tabata 1.000, 3 PA
Nate McLouth .667, 1 RBI, 4 PA
Rod Barajas .667, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Andrew McCutchen .667, 3 PA
Neil Walker .333, 1 RBI, 3 PA
Clint Barmes .222, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K, 10 PA
Casey McGehee .200, 1 K, 5 PA
Pedro Alvarez .000, 1 K, 2 PA
Garrett Jones .000, 2 PA

Bedard vs. Mets (career: 1-0, 4.50 ERA)
David Wright .500, 1 BB, 3 PA
Scott Hairston .300, 1 K, 10 PA
Rob Johnson .000, 1 K, 3 PA

McDonald vs. Mets (career: 1-1, 3.49 ERA)
Ike Davis .500, 1 BB, 7 PA
Daniel Murphy .500, 1 RBI, 1 K, 6 PA
David Wright .333, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 8 PA
Andres Torres .200, 1 BB, 1 K, 6 PA
Lucas Duda .000, 6 PA
Justin Turner .000, 3 PA
Ronny Cedeno .000, 1 K, 3 PA
Rob Johnson .000, 1 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 1 K, 1 PA

Morton vs. Mets (career: 0-1, 4.76 ERA)
Lucas Duda .500, 3 RBI, 4 PA
Ike Davis .500, 1 BB, 3 PA
Justin Turner .400, 2 RBI, 7 PA
Daniel Murphy .286, 7 PA
Andres Torres .167, 1 BB, 1 K, 7 PA
David Wright .000, 4 PA
Scott Hairston .000, 3 PA

Last series results

Mets won, 2-1, at PNC Park, June 10-12, 2011 (AP game recaps)

Mets 8, Pirates 1: Dillon Gee remained undefeated, Jose Reyes homered among his three hits and the Mets won for the fifth time in six. Gee became the first Mets' rookie starter to improve to 7-0. New York has won all nine of his starts. He allowed one run and eight hits in a career-high eight innings with no walks and five strikeouts. Gee won his fifth straight outing and is the majors' first rookie starter to open 7-0 since 2006, when Jered Weaver started 9-0 for the Los Angeles Angels. Gee has allowed one earned run or less in three of his past five starts and has allowed only one run over his past two outings combined. Reyes and Josh Thole went 3-for-5, and Angel Pagan had two hits and scored twice. The Pirates' Charlie Morton had his worst start of the season, though he was the victim of some infield hits, shoddy defense and bad bounces. Morton (6-3) lasted a season-low four-plus innings, allowing seven runs (six earned) and nine hits.

Pirates 3, Mets 2: James McDonald allowed two runs in six effective innings and Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run double. Jose Tabata and Josh Harrison each had two hits and scored a run. Garrett Jones had an RBI double among his two hits for Pittsburgh. Baseball's leading hitter, Jose Reyes, had two hits and Ruben Tejada and Carlos Beltran each also had two hits for the Mets. McDonald (4-4) allowed eight hits and three walks. Tim Wood pitched a scoreless seventh, Jose Veras struck out Ronny Paulino looking with runners on second and third to end the eighth and Joel Hanrahan worked a perfect ninth for his 16th save in as many opportunities.

Mets 7, Pirates 0: Chris Capuano pitched seven innings and Jose Reyes homered in the rubber-game win. Capuano (5-6) allowed three hits and two walks with five strikeouts to win consecutive starts for the first time since April 2007. Reyes had three hits for his majors-leading 33rd multi-hit game. He homered two pitches after pinch-hitter Scott Hairston also did in the ninth. David Murphy and Angel Pagan went 2-for-4 and Carlos Beltran had a two-run single. Kevin Correia (8-5) unraveled late after being perfect through 4 2/3. He missed on a chance to tie for the majors' lead in victories.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Bartolo Colon
WINS ERA SO IP
15 4.09 151 202
OTHER LEADERS
BAD. Murphy .289
HRL. Duda 30
RBIL. Duda 92
RD. Murphy 79
OPSL. Duda .830
ERAJ. Niese 3.40
SOZ. Wheeler 187