Although the Mets have been eliminated from playoff consideration for some time now and they’ve clinched their fourth straight losing season, there was a buzz in the crowd for New York’s home finale of 2012 against the Pirates. With every pitch R.A. Dickey threw, it energized the fans, as they hung on his every move. Despite the bullpen’s best efforts, Dickey has become the first Mets pitcher to reach the 20-win plateau since Frank Viola in 1990.
Mets Offensive Highlights:
Once Dickey allowed the first runs of the ballgame to the Pirates, the Met offense immediately went to work to give their ace some run support. Ike Davis started the charge with his 31st home run of the season in the second inning. Daniel Murphy and David Wright singled to start the fourth, as Murph scored on Scott Hairston‘s one-out single. It was the fifth inning that put New York over the top; Andres Torres walked and Ruben Tejadasingled, as Murphy brought in the tying run with a single of his own. Then, it was Wright who provided the decisive runs, hitting his 21st homer of the season into the bullpens in right center field. For the second straight game, the Mets showed some success with runners in scoring position, going 3-for-7 in that situation.
Pirates Offensive Highlights:
Pittsburgh did their best to strike early and often against the knuckler, but they eventually crumbled under the pressure. Garrett Jones doubled to lead off the second, followed by a Travis Snider single that set the stage for Rod Barajas, who brought in the first run with a ground-rule double. Jordy Mercer extended the lead for the time being with an RBI infield single. In the top of the fourth, it was Barajas striking again, as he hit his 11th home run of the season to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead before New York stormed back to take the lead for good. They also went 3-for-7 with runners in scoring position, but they stranded 7 runners, and struck out 14 times.
Kevin Correia didn’t have his best stuff as he was handed his 11th loss of 2012. He lasted 4.1 innings and allowed 6 runs on 7 hits, 1 walk, while striking out 2. Hisanori Takahashi, Chris Resop, and Tony Watson combined to allow only 1 hit and strike out 3 in 3.2 innings of relief, but the damage had been done before Correia hit the showers.
The day belonged to R.A. Dickey, as he declared after the game he didn’t have his best knuckler with him today, but no one could tell as he moved through the Pirates lineup. It took him close to 130 pitches to throw 7.2 innings, as he allowed 3 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks, and tied a career-high with 13 strikeouts. Jon Rauch closed out the eighth with one pitch, but gave up the two-run homer in the ninth and had to give way to Bobby Parnell to record the final two outs to get his fifth save of the season, securing Dickey’s place in Mets history.
The Mets are now 6-4 in their last 10 games, pushing their season record to 72-84.
Probable Pitchers Friday:
New York finishes their last home stand of 2012 and will don their favorite football jersey for their final road trip, as they head to Atlanta to face the playoff-bound Braves. Jonathon Niese (12-9, 3.49 ERA) will be taking the mound, hoping to finish his season on a high note. He will be opposing Tim Hudson (16-6, 3.61 ERA). First pitch at Turner Field is set for 7:35pm.