Francisco Liriano made his Pirates debut today and was far better than expected. He pitched 5 and one-third innings, giving up just one run. Jordy Mercer hit 2 homeruns and Jose Tabata was 4-for-5 as the Pirates beat the Mets for the second day in a row, this time by a score of 11 to 2.
The Pirates struck early and often for their 11 runs. Gaby Sanchez led off the 2nd inning with a single to left. Tabata singled, Brandon Inge hit a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, and a Clint Barmes single drove in Gaby for the first run of the game. The Pirates added 3 more runs in the 3rd inning on an Andrew McCutchen RBI single and a 2-run homerun by Jose Tabata.
In the 5th inning, after Jordy Mercer’s first homerun of the day and an RBI double by Tabata, Mets starter Jon Niese was finally knocked out of the game. Scott Atchison came in to replace Niese, and after getting Brandon Inge to ground out, Atchison allowed 3 more runs on a 2-run single by Michael McKenry and an RBI single by Barmes. Niese lasted 4.1 innings and surrendered 8 runs on 8 hits, 3 walks, and 2 homeruns while striking out just one Pirates batter.
LaTroy Hawkins pitched a scoreless 6th before giving up another run in the 7th inning on an RBI single by the Fort. Mets reliever Robert Carson gave up Mercer’s second homer of the game in the 8th inning, making the score 11-1.
To simplify all that offense a little bit, Marte, Mercer, Tabata, Inge, McKenry and Barmes all had multi-hit games. Cutch drove in a run, Mercer and Barmes each drove in 2 runs, and Tabata and McKenry each drove in 3 runs. Every Pirates position player had at least one hit for a combined total of 16 Pirates hits.
The Mets, as a team, managed 7 hits, 6 of them off Liriano. The only run Liriano allowed came in the 6th inning. Marlon Byrd came to bat with runners on 1st and 3rd and 2 outs and hit a slow ground ball to 3rd baseman Brandon Inge. Inge fielded the ball, and as he was trying to decide whether to throw the ball home or to first, bobbled it and dropped it. It was ruled an RBI single for Byrd, however, and the Mets had their first run of the game.
Bryan Morris came in to finish the inning and got out of it quickly with a strikeout and a popout. He pitched another scoreless inning, the only baserunner a HBP. He nailed Jordany Valdespin with a pitch, possibly in retaliation for Valdespin’s bat flip after a solo homer in last night’s game. Morris then struck out David Wright to end the inning.
Justin Wilson pitched a perfect 8th inning, and Tony Watson came in to pitch the 9th. Andrew Brown led off with a harmless solo homerun, but Watson came back and struck out the next two batters before getting Ruben Tejada to fly out for the third out and a Pirates win.
The Pirates look for a series win tomorrow in the fourth game of the series. Jeanmar Gomez (2-0, 2.38 ERA) will start for the Pirates. He’ll face the Mets’ young ace, Matt Harvey (4-0, 1.28 ERA). Gomez will have to be as good as or even better than he’s been, having allowed just 2 earned runs in the 2 starts he’s made. And the Pirates’ recently explosive offense will have to find a way to not be stopped by Harvey.