For a game that started out so promising for Johan Santana and the New York Mets, it ended up being another late inning lead that got away from them, with miscommunication in the outfield allowing the lead run to score in the eighth inning. Santana looked good from the start and the Mets were able to knock Erik Bedard out of the game early with a high pitch count, but it as the Pirates who ended up coming back and stealing their 20th win of the season.
The scoring started for New York in the second inning, when they batted around against Bedard and the Pirates. Freshly recalled Vinny Rottino singled sharply to left field, then he scored the first run of the game on a long double to right center field by Ronny Cedeno. Walks to Mike Nickeas and Andres Torres loaded the bases for Justin Turner, who singled to left field on the first pitch
he saw, driving in two more runs. New York wasn’t done yet though, as David Wright took an off-speed pitch to right field for an RBI single, pushing the lead to 4-0. The Mets have now scored 90 runs with two outs this year. Unfortunately for Santana and the Mets, that would be all the scoring the offense would muster for the entire night.
It didn’t seem like Santana needed much help though, as he took the mound in the bottom of the second and struck out the side. He ran into some trouble in the fourth inning, when the Pirates led off the frame with three straight doubles by Josh Harrison, Andrew McCutchen, and Pedro Alvarez, cutting the Mets’ lead to 4-2. The bases ended up becoming loaded, but Santana got a ground ball from Michael McKenry to induce a double play and get out of the jam.
From there, Johan cruised until the seventh inning, when he gave up a bloop single to Clint Barmes, then Michael McKenry paid him back with a long two-run home run to tie the ballgame at four. After striking out Yamaico Navarro, Santana walked Jose Tabata, and that was all Terry Collins could watch. Santana exited the game after pitching 6.1 innings, giving up 4 runs, 8 hits, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts. Bobby Parnell entered the game and after David Wright’s second error of the night, he struck out Andrew McCutchen on a high fastball, then Tim Byrdak came in to strike out the lefty Pedro Alvarez to get out of the inning.
Jon Rauch came in to pitch the 8th, and Neil Walker led off the inning by hitting a fly ball to left center field, where Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter were just put in after pinch hitting in the top of the inning. Nieuwenhuis called for the ball, but Baxter didn’t hear him and continued pursuing the ball, until it bounced off of Captain Kirk’s glove, allowing Walker to get to third with nobody out. Clint Barmes plated Walker with a sac fly, allowing the go-ahead run to score.
Joel Hanrahan came in for the save opportunity in the ninth, and was able to retire Daniel Murphy, Wright, and Ike Davis in order, punctuating the win with a strikeout of Davis. The loss drops the Mets to 22-20, still 3.5 games out of first since the Braves lost last night. This is a disappointing loss not because of the way it happened, but the Pirates are one of the worst offensive teams in the league. New York is supposed to be dominating them, and then going on to do the same to the equally offensive challenged San Diego Padres later this week. It’s only one game and they have a chance to get back on track tonight, but last night’s loss is disheartening for Mets fans. This is supposed to be the week where New York shows everyone that they’re for real. Now, let’s see it.
David Wright just kept rolling; two more hits and a walk have raised his batting average to .415 and his on-base% to .515…just a regular work day in 2012 for Mr. Wright. Ronny Cedeno is facing his former team for the first time and collected two hits and an RBI of his own. Getting the off day against the left-hander, Ike Davis came in for defense late in the game and was able to get two at-bats, but looked terrible as he struck out both times. Woof.
Probable Pitchers tonight:
R.A. Dickey (5-1, 3.75 ERA) takes the mound tonight and is looking for his 20th quality start in 21 tries as he takes on James McDonald (3-2, 2.68), who has emerged as one of Pittsburgh brightest young pitching stars. First pitch is scheduled at PNC Park for 7:05pm.