PITTSBURGH—Finally, the Mets found the right team to score plenty of runs against. It took a trip to Pittsburgh for the Mets to feel good about themselves offensively, as they jumped all over Jeff Karstens in 3.1 innings.
Mets manager Jerry Manuel called the Mets offense "pathetic" after last night's loss to the Astros. He changed things up tonight, batting Chris Carter cleanup, and it paid off for the Mets and Carter.
In the opening inning, the Mets put together a three-run, five-hit attack charged by Jose Reyes, who is on fire.
Reyes led off with a single and stole second base. After two outs were made, Carter drove Reyes in with a bloop hit to right. That was followed by three straight singles, producing two more runs, giving the Mets a quick 3-0 lead.
In that mix was a David Wright hit. It was his first hit with a man on base this month.
Mike Pelfrey was on the mound for the Mets and battled through eight solid innings. He didn't have his best stuff but was able to control the game and hold the lead.
The Pirates cut into the Mets three-run cushion in the second. Ryan Doumit hit a long home run to left, only the 10th long ball allowed by Pelfrey this season.
The Mets would get the run back and more in the third. Chris "The Animal" Carter crushed a first-pitch home run off Karstens, giving the Mets a 4-1 lead. Later in the inning, Josh Thole singled in Wright, who singled and stole second.
Jerry Manuel said Rod Barajas would get the majority of the playing time behind the plate, but would base who catches tomorrow night on how Thole did tonight. Thole had a good game, going 2-for-4 with two runs batted in.
The Pirates scored another run in the third. It was an unearned run thanks to a Wright throwing error from third base. Ronny Cedeno reached on that play to start the inning, and scored two batters later on an Andrew McCutchen single, making it 5-2. With men on second and third, Pelfrey struck out Pedro Alvarez to end the inning.
The Mets knocked Karstens out of the game in the fourth. Reyes doubled and Angel Pagan moved him to third on a single. They would both score on a Carlos Beltran hit.
Pagan went first to third, and scored on a throwing error by the left fielder Jose Tabata. That would give the Mets a 7-2 lead, and they wouldn't score again.
Pirates reliever Sean Gallagher pitched three scoreless innings, holding the Mets lead at five. Pirates manager John Russell made a curious decision in the fourth with his team rallying.
With two runners in scoring position and two outs, he allowed his reliever Gallagher to bat for himself. Gallagher nearly got a hit, but second baseman Ruben Tejada made a fine play in the hole at second to throw him out. The crowd at PNC Park would boo their team off the field after the out was made.
Pelfrey would get in and out of trouble through the rest of his outing. He pitched eight innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on six hits. He walked two and struck out five, while allowing a home run.
The Pirates bullpen combined to shut the Mets out over the final 5.2 innings after Karstens was pulled.
The Mets pounded out 15 hits, with Reyes and Wright combining for six of them. The Mets went on to win, 7-2, as Pelfrey earned his 12th win of the season.
The Mets didn't actually prove what they could do against a great club, as the Pirates clinched their 18th straight losing season with the loss.
New York will go for their first NL road series win tomorrow night with Jon Niese facing James McDonald.
NL East Standings
*Philadelphia 69-52 (2 1/2)
Florida 61-60 (10 1/2)
NY Mets 61-61 (11)
*Lead NL Wild Card; Mets 8 1/2 behind
Series Probable Pitchers
New York: Jon Niese (2010: 7-5, 3.38 ERA) vs. Pittsburgh: James McDonald (2010: 2-1, 2.55 ERA)
New York: Johan Santana (2010: 10-7, 2.97 ERA) vs. Pittsburgh: Zach Duke (2010: 5-12, 5.33 ERA)
New York Mets:
August 21-22 @ Pittsburgh Pirates
August 24-26 vs. Florida Marlins
August 21-22 vs. New York Mets
August 23-25 vs. St. Louis Cardinals