Mets-Pirates: Mets Blow Eighth-Inning Lead Against Pirates

John ZimmermanContributor IJune 1, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 08:  J.J. Putz #22 of the New York Mets throws a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 8, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Pirates 7-3.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Wilson Valdez had three RBI in the first three innings.

Fernando Martinez stole his first two bases of his major-league career.

The Mets were flyin' high, leading the Pirates 5-0 in the third inning.

Livan Hernandez pitched five-and-two-thirds innings allowing seven hits while striking out five.

The Mets cruised into the eighth inning with a 5-3 lead. The problem: there was still two innings left.

Pittsburgh didn't need their half of the ninth, as they tore apart the Mets' bullpen in the eighth. Pedro Feliciano and J.J. Putz allowed five runs on six hits and blew a two-run lead and stripped Livan of his fifth win of the year.

Putz allowed four consecutive hits without an out, surrendered three earned runs and four runs total, while also intentionally walking Nyjer Morgan.

Jack Wilson, Nyjer Morgan, Freddy Sanchez, Nate Mcclouth, and Adam Laroche all pushed runs across during the Pirate's eighth-inning rally. Adam Laroche finished the game 3-for-5 and Jack Wilson went 3-for-4 with three singles and an RBI.

A big question mark coming into the game was the status of "eighth-inning-man" J.J. Putz. Putz has struggled lately, and manager Jerry Manuel said before the game that they were going to give Putz his opportunity and bring in Feliciano or Bobby Parnell if needed.

The problem with that was they had used both players earlier in the game.

Parenell came on in the sixth to bail the Mets out of a bases-loaded jam. Feliciano then came in and allowed a run in the eighth before being replaced by Putz.

After a rough half-inning against Florida on Sunday, and a disaster of an inning tonight, it's quite clear that Jerry Manuel will turn Bobby Parnell into their new "eighth-inning-man". Parnell has shown he has the ability to go after hitters and get strikeouts when needed.

Manuel addressed the media post game and told them that they'll give Putz tomorrow off and a chance to "catch his breath". Coaches worked with him pre-game, trying to help him with his mechanics, and tomorrow they'll get another chance to help out the reliever.

The seven-game road trip has already had a rocky start, but with ace-pitcher Johan Santana taking the mound tomorrow, the Mets will be looking to bounce back and hit the ground running for the rest of this series.


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