When talking to the media after his awful outing against the Phillies, Jeremy Hefner wasn’t sure if he was going to get another chance to prove himself. Terry Collins did give him another shot, and he didn’t waste it, providing one of his most solid performances of the season, while putting down two sacrifice bunts to boot. David Wright also had a special night, as a dribbler up the third base line helped him become the all-time franchise hits leader.
Mets Offensive Highlights:
It was nice to see the offense bust out again, this time without the help of either Ike Davis or Lucas Duda, both having hitless nights. With one out in the third inning, Ruben Tejada singled and stole second, putting himself in position to score off Daniel Murphy‘s single. Murphy then scored on Wright’s very significant infield single, followed by a Scott Hairston RBI double. Kelly Shoppach capped the rally with a run-scoring single. In the bottom of the fourth, Andres Torressingled and was sacrificed over by Hefner, allowing Tejada to bring him in with yet another single, with the same exact sequence happening again in the sixth inning to score the sixth and final run for the Mets. Tejada led the way with four hits tonight, Torres collected three, while Murphy, Wright, and Hairston collected two each. As a team, New York went 6-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
Pirates Offensive Highlights:
There aren’t many highlights to speak of tonight for Pittsburgh, as the Mets pitching staff kept them silent for the duration of the ballgame. Only three hitters approached the plate in seven of the nine innings played. The only kind of “rally” they had put together tonight happened in the fifth, as Pedro Alvarez singled and Clint Barmes walked. Jeff Clement struck out during Pittsburgh’s only at-bat with a runner in scoring position. Alvarez collected two of the three team hits, and Starling Marte picked up the other.
Jeff Locke got pounded again in his outing, as he only lasted 3.2 innings, allowing 5 runs on 9 hits, 1 walk, and 5 strikeouts. Chris Leroux finished off the troublesome fourth inning, and Jeff Karstens threw 2 innings of relief while giving up 1 run. Bryan Morris and Chad Qualls both contributed scoreless innings of relief, but they couldn’t help the offense get going and make this game close.
Jeremy Hefner was brilliant, as he threw 7 shutout innings, allowing 3 hits and 1 walk, while striking out 7 hitters. He was able to use his pinpoint control to his advantage on this night, holding the Pirate bats at bay. Jeurys Familia came in and threw the last two innings to keep the shutout intact.
The win improves the Mets to 71-84, showing up on the long side of the boxscore five of their last six games.
Probable Pitchers Thursday:
Thursday is the last home game of 2012 for New York, and it will be a meaningful one, as R.A. Dickey (19-6, 2.66 ERA) will be looking to become MLB’s second 20-game winner, and first since 1990 for the Mets. He will be opposing Kevin Correia (11-10, 4.11 ERA). The last first pitch of the year in Flushing will take place at 1:10pm.