|The Mets' Justin Turner beat the tag of Pittsburgh's Dusty Brown to score on Carlos Beltran's two-run single in the eighth. (NYTimes.com)|
Chris Capuano pitched a 7 inning gem and the New York bats came alive in the last 3 innings, giving the Mets an impressive 7-0 victory over the Pirates.
The Good Stuff:
- Chris Capuano was engaged in a pitcher's duel with Pittsburgh's Kevin Correia, and he rose to the challenge. Cappy delivered a 3 hit, scoreless gem in his 7 innings on the hill, walking 2 and striking out 5.
- Capuano also got some help from his infield, which turned double plays in the 3rd and 4th innings. The one in the 4th came with runners on first and second, ending the Pirates' biggest threat of the day.
- After standing dormant for the first 6 innings (2 hits), the Mets' offense woke up in the 7th. With one out, Daniel Murphy and Angel Pagan each hit one out singles, Murphy advancing to third on Pagan's. Jason Bay hit a sac fly to center field, scoring Murphy. After some discussion, Pagan was called out for failing to touch second base, but the scoreless tie was broken.
- Then, with 2 outs in the 8th, the Amazin' bats really erupted. Willie Harris pinch hit for Capuano and lined a single. Jose Reyes followed with a single of his own. Justin Turner then blasted a double off the right field wall, scoring Harris. That was it for Correia, and a relief pitcher was brought in. On the very next pitch, Carlos Beltran slashed 2-run single, scoring Reyes and Turner, who made a nice hook slide to avoid the catcher's tag. Murphy then followed with a single of his own, and Pagan capped the 4-run 8th with a single that scored pinch-runner Jason Pridie. New York took an encore in the 9th, again with 2 outs. Pinch-hitter Scott Hairston hit a solo home run over the left field wall, and #7 made it 7-0 with a solo shot of his own to right, a shot that probably would have been outta there in even cavernous Citi Field.
- Reyes celebrated his 28th birthday weekend in style, hitting 2 home runs, scoring 5 times, and batting 8-15 (3-5 today), raising his average to a league-leading .346. Still think he isn't worth the money, Mr. Cheapskate Owner?
- Keep this in mind: every Met run was scored with 2 outs. In the spirit of the NBA Finals, today the Mets were the anti-LeBron: they came up big when the pressure was on.
- The job was far from stressful, but Jason Isringhausen and Bobby Parnell combined for 2 innings of shutout relief, with Parnell striking out the final Bucs hitter on a 100-mile-an-hour fastball.
- Really none to speak of, but the closest to Bad Stuff was when we let Correia have a perfect game through 4 2/3. I know they're doing better this year, but it still doesn't look good to go baserunnerless for more than half a game against the Pirates of all teams.
Another solid victory and a good bounceback from yesterday's letdown. With 12 base-knocks, this makes the 4th straight game the Mets' bats garnered double-digit hits. Everything seems to be rolling lately, and just as impressive as the hitting has been starting pitching.
It's been a week since New York's had a bad outing from a starter. Chris Capuano was brilliant yet again. Dillon Gee has emerged as the ace and could make the All Star Game as a rookie. R.A. Dickey pitches better when hurt. Jonathan Niese has been great too. Terry Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen may be faced with a tough decision: who gets the bump once Johan Santana comes back? I'd say Pelfrey at this point, but as rough a time as he's had he's still not horrible. If we don't need to fit him in, then another question emerges: what's the trade market for Johan Santana? He's still considered a very good pitcher, so we should be able to get something for him, maybe a few more consistent relievers. The problem is Santana will still have 2 years and $49 million left on his 6-year contract and a $25 million option or $5.5 million buyout for 2014. So even if teams were interested, there's still only a hand full that will be able to afford him. It's a problem, 6 starters and only 5 slots, but nevertheless, it's a very good problem to have, and a problem we have a month and a half to solve.
The Mets finish their stay in Pittsburgh tomorrow. Should they win, they'll head into a 3-game series in Atlanta with a world of momentum: winners of 8 of their last 11, and a .500 team once again. Bring it on.