The Pirates (20-22) defeated the Mets (24-20) by a score of 8-2 on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh.
This was undoubtedly Matt Harvey‘s worst start of his career. His final line: 4 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 7 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, including two wild pitches and two home runs. His ERA not only rose from 1.98 to 2.91, but it was the shortest outing of his career. While he had the heat on his fastball (his fastest pitch was 98 mph), his control was completely lost. Almost all of his breaking pitches merely bled over the plate; and if they DID break, they just bounced in the dirt. It is certainly no cause for concern, but it is a start that Mets fans and Harvey alike would like to forget.
On the flip side, AJ Burnett had himself a fantastic day by comparison. His final line of 7 IP, 5H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K brings his season ERA down to 1.37. This start makes him the first Pirates starter in history to allow two runs or less in each of his first eight starts, which is remarkable considering just how long the Pirates have been around. He even had a fine day at the plate, complete with a sac fly and a single.
Harvey Day didn’t start off so hot. Josh Harrison took Harvey’s first pitch into the outfield for a lead off single. After striking out his next batter, things quickly sank as Andrew McCutchen blasted a two run HR, giving the Buccos an early two run lead. It was Harvey’s first HR given up to a righty all year. He would give up another one to Pedro Alvarez in the following inning.
The Mets stayed quiet until the fourth, when Juan Lagares and Lucas Duda whacked back to back singles. Daniel Murphy drove in a run with a groundout, and Wilmer Flores singled to put runners on first and third with one out. However, after being ahead 3-0, Eric Campbell could not draw the walk and grounded into a double play, ending what proved to be the Mets’ biggest chance to get even before the game was blown open.
The Pirates put up a four spot against Harvey in the bottom of the inning, subsequently ending his day. After retiring the first batter, Jung Ho Kang slapped a single up the middle, and was driven in by Pedro Alvarez’s double into the RF corner to stretch the score to 4-1. Harvey then issued a walk, a wild pitch, and then another walk to load the bases. Pitcher AJ Burnett then skied a sac fly to center to make the score 5-1. Josh Harrison then drilled another double down the line to bring two runs in, making the game all but over at 7-1. Harvey struck out his final batter of the day to bring the forgettable inning to the end.
Carlos Torres took over for Harvey in the fifth. He gave up a lead off single to McCutchen, but he was erased on a quirky double play, in which Murphy threw away the ball to first but Duda recovered nicely and threw out Starling Marte as he tried for second. Torres retired his next batter to escape the inning unscathed.
The Mets got a couple of baserunners in the sixth, as Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch, and Daniel Murphy singled two batters later. Unfortunately, the Mets got nothing out of it as Wilmer Flores hit a come-backer to retire the side.
Jack Leathersich replaced Torres the following inning, and Ruben Tejada came in to play shortstop. After retiring the first two batters, Leathersich gave up back to back hits, but induced a groundout to end the inning.
Hansel Robles replaced Leatherisch in the bottom of the seventh. He gave up a loud double to Andrew McCutchen, who scored later on an Eric Campbell error. Robles would retire the next two batters.
For the Pirates, Antonio Bastardo replaced Burnett to start the eighth. Ruben Tejada smacked a pinch hit HR to lead off, cutting the Pirates’ lead to 8-2. Bastardo, however, retired the next three batters.
Alex Torres replaced Robles in the bottom of the frame. He got three ground ball outs to complete his job. The Mets offense, however, mustered up nothing impressive as Pirates pitcher Radhames Liz, after giving up a lead off single to Daniel Murphy, retired the next three batters to seal the deal on this Saturday afternoon.
What’s Next: Jon Niese opposes fellow southpaw Francisco Liriano as the Mets look to avoid the sweep before returning home. The Mets have scored less than three runs in 19 of their last 25 games; they look to change that tomorrow afternoon.