Aaargh! Sloppy Bucs blanked by Colon, Mets
NEW YORK – Sloppy in the field and punchless at the plate. The past two days in New York were ugly ones for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Bartolo Colon carried a three-hitter into the eighth inning, and the Mets got home runs from David Wright and Lucas Duda in a 5-0 victory Wednesday.
Charlie Morton (1-7) was chased in the sixth and Pirates pitchers walked eight in all. Pittsburgh fell to 7-16 away from home with another poor performance.
“The defense hasn’t been good,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We’ve got work to do.”
That goes for the offense, too. Pittsburgh began the day batting .223 on the road while averaging 3.3 runs. The latest effort didn’t help.
Colon (4-5) struck out a season-high nine – seven looking – in his second consecutive win, and Wright added an RBI single during an eventful afternoon.
He stole a base, made two throwing errors and robbed Andrew McCutchen of extra bases with a diving play at third.
Neil Walker and the Pirates went into the game well aware that Colon was relying on his moving fastball some 90 percent of the time this season. Still, they couldn’t do much with it.
“He threw it where he wanted and we couldn’t put anything together,” Walker said. “It was one of those days where we had a good feel for what he was trying to do and where he was trying to put the ball and we didn’t counter quite as effectively.”
The Mets improved to 13-17 at Citi Field, winning the series against Pittsburgh for their first consecutive victories at home since a three-game streak from April 23-25.
Pitching four days after his 41st birthday, Colon reached 2,000 strikeouts when he caught ex-Met Ike Davis looking in the sixth. The burly right-hander saved the souvenir, tossing the ball to injured ace Matt Harvey in the dugout.
“Just amazing how he works both sides of the plate,” Wright said. “He just dissects hitters.”
Colon’s previous turn Friday was washed out by rain after he yielded two runs in four innings against Arizona. In his last outing that counted, he went eight innings to beat Washington 5-2 on May 17.
“He pitched as we expected him to pitch. We just couldn’t square him up,” Hurdle said. “He’s been around as long as he has for reasons – because he’s good at what he does.”
Colon was pulled after 121 pitches, his most in a decade, but Jeurys Familia needed only one to get out of the eighth. He got Davis to ground into an inning-ending double play with two on, then finished the six-hitter for his second major league save and first this season.
Duda drew a leadoff walk in the second and scored after second-string catcher Chris Stewart was unable to handle two wild pitches by Morton.
Pirates starter Edinson Volquez and reliever Jeanmar Gomez combined for four wild pitches with Russell Martin behind the plate in Tuesday night’s 4-2 loss.
“We’ve got to tighten some things up and play better,” Hurdle said.
Wright had an RBI single in the third after an embarrassing defensive sequence for the Pirates handed Daniel Murphy a Little League triple.
Murphy hit a grounder to third, and Pedro Alvarez threw high to first for an error. Murphy took off for second but the ball caromed hard off the dugout fence to Walker. He threw to second in time to get Murphy, but shortstop Jordy Mercer dropped the ball for another error that let Murphy scamper to third.
“Pedro’s had some challenges throwing the ball across the diamond this year,” Hurdle said.
Pittsburgh appealed that Murphy never touched second base, but he was called safe.
Wright opened the sixth with his fourth home run. Duda added a long, two-run shot off Bryan Morris in the eighth.
“The first inning was really long. Couldn’t repeat pitches. That ran the pitch count up there pretty quickly,” Morton said. “Some of my pitches just flattened out today.”
NOTES: Hurdle said Jason Grilli is very close to regaining the closer job. Grilli was sidelined from April 21 to May 22 with a strained left oblique. Hurdle said he wants to establish some clear bullpen roles soon so his relievers know what’s expected of them on the rest of the road trip. … Davis, traded by the Mets last month, received a warm hand in the series opener Friday night – and Hurdle believes that was meaningful. “I think when he got applauded the other day, I think that closed the book for him,” Hurdle said. … RHP Phil Irwin was claimed off waivers by Texas. … Gerrit Cole (4-3) pitches for the Pirates when they begin a four-game series tonight at Dodger Stadium.