The Mets officially wrapped up the first half of the 2013 regular season by salvaging the last game of their weekend series in Pittsburgh, and ending this now concluded road trip with a 6-3 record. Although they head into the break with an overall 41-50 record, the Mets are a .500 road club thanks to this afternoon’s victory, sporting a 24-23 mark away from home.
Dillon Gee tossed today’s finale, initially pitching six very effective innings, allowing just one unearned run in the third, walking no batters and striking out two.
The offense staked their starting pitcher to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Eric Young led off the game with an infield single. With one out, David Wright singled to right field, sending Young to third base. Batting clean-up, Marlon Byrd jacked a ground rule double to left, scoring Eric Young. Then with runners on first and third, today’s starter at first base, Josh Satin worked out a walk to load the bases. Catcher John Buck then stepped in, and smacked a single to right, scoring both Wright and Byrd.
Dillon Gee hurt his own cause in the third on a come-backer play struck by opposing starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. With one out, Gee threw errantly to first base, allowing Cole to reach second. Pirates lead-off batter Starling Marte then doubled to left, scoring Cole for Pittsburgh’s first run of the game.
The Mets picked-up a very important insurance run in the seventh inning. With one out, Eric Young collected his second single of the day, and Daniel Murphy tripled him home to give the Mets a 4-1 lead.
Dillon Gee climbed the hill for the seventh inning. After recording the first two outs, Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes doubled to right field. When the next batter, pinch-hitter Travis Snider drew a walk, Terry Collins made haste towards the mound to seek relief for his starter. Coach selected Scott Atchison to face Starling Marte with two outs, and runners on first and second. The Mets reliever did not disappoint. Atchison struck out the Pirates left fielder looking.
LaTroy Hawkins was a renaissance man today. He pitched into a bit of trouble in the eighth inning, but got himself out of a jam by throwing pure heat. After surrendering a lead-off single to Jordy Mercer, followed by a double by Andrew McCutchen, Hawkins reared back and unleashed two fastballs which slugging third baseman Pedro Alvarez swung through. After taking ball one, Alvarez looked at an inside fastball for strike three. All three strikes were clocked in the neighborhood of 95 mph. The Pirates did manage to pick up a run on a subsequent grounder to Daniel Murphy, but the Mets retained a 4-2 lead heading into the ninth.
Mets closer, Bobby Parnell entered the game in relief of LaTroy Hawkins. After retiring his first batter, Clint Barmes (there’s that name again…) singled. Pinch-hitting for the pitcher, Russell Martin then stepped in and singled to put Barmes in scoring position. Back to the top of the line-up, Starling Marte lifted a shallow cloud scraper to Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center field, in which the runner from second (Barmes) could not advance. First baseman Jordy Mercer came up with two outs, and with Andrew McCutchen on deck, lofted an easy fly to Marlon Byrd in right field to end the game and secure victory for the Mets in their last game before the All-Star Break.
For his rather stellar effort today, Dillon Gee earned his seventh victory (7-7) of the season. In all, he pitched 6.2 innings, allowed the one unearned run on five hits. He walked only one and struck out two. Dillon threw 105 pitches this afternoon, with sixty-nine going for strikes. That’s a sixty-six percent rate of effectiveness. Dillon Gee’s ERA now stands at 4.32 for the season, down from 4.60 before the game. Bobby Parnell earned his seventeenth save of the season. He also lowered his ERA from 2.36 to a 2.30 mark.
However, the highlight of the game clearly belonged to LaTroy Hawkins, for taking care of Pedro Alvarez in the eighth inning, in dominating fashion. And let’s give Scott Atchison his due credit for dispatching his man in relief of Dillon Gee. To include Parnell – a job well done by the bullpen today.
* Monday – the Home Run Derby featuring N.L. Captain, David Wright.
* Tuesday – the All-Star Game with David Wright and Matt Harvey representing the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club.