PITTSBURGH: The Mets have finally won a road series against a National League team in 2010. Of course, it's not as legitimate as a complete-game effort, but a win is a win.
The Mets beat the Pirates tonight, 5-1, in a rain-shortened, six-inning affair. Once again, Jon Niese was solid, pitching five innings of one-run ball.
The Mets scored their first run in a weird way in the first inning off Pirates starter James McDonald.
Jose Reyes lead off with a double, as he continues to tear the cover off the ball. Angel Pagan then beat out a bunt hit, moving Reyes to third.
Two batters later, Chris Carter struck out, but the ball got away from the catcher. Chris Snyder threw Carter out at first but Reyes broke for the plate.
He slid in head first and scored, suffering a rib bruise. He would be fine and stayed in the game.
Jon Niese gave up a leadoff double to Andrew McCutchen in the Pirates' first, but he stranded him at third.
McDonald, who was traded from the Dodgers to the Pirates, didn't have an impressive start, as he walked Niese twice, and nearly a third time.
The Pirates tied the game in the third inning. McCutchen lead off with another double and this time he scored. After being bunted over, Neil Walker singled him in, making it 1-1.
The Mets took the lead back in the fourth. Ike Davis lead off with a double, one of five leadoff doubles combined in the game. He advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a Ruben Tejada sacrifice fly.
Tejada scorched two balls hard, but still went 0-for-2, as he's now 1 for his last 34.
In the fifth, the Mets took a comfortable lead. With two on and one out, David Wright hit a three-run home run, his 19th of the season, extending the Mets lead to 5-1. He now has 81 runs batted in this season, seven shy of the NL lead.
The game had already started 20 minutes late due to rain, and after a leadoff hit from Reyes to start the sixth, it was stopped. A little over an hour later, it was called, giving the Mets a 5-1, six-inning victory.
Jon Niese doesn't get credit for a complete game because the game was stopped in the sixth. He gets his eighth win of the season after three straight tough no-decisions.
The Mets will go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon with Johan Santana facing Zach Duke. They have not swept a three-game road series against an NL team since September 2008.
NL East standings
*Philadelphia 69-53 (2 1/2)
Florida 62-60 (9 1/2)
NY Mets 62-61 (10)
*Lead NL Wild Card; Mets 7 1/2 behind
Series probable pitchers:
New York: Johan Santana (2010: 10-7, 2.97 ERA) vs. Pittsburgh: Zach Duke (2010: 5-12, 5.33 ERA)
New York Mets:
August 22 @ Pittsburgh Pirates
August 24-26 vs. Florida Marlins
August 22 vs. New York Mets
August 23-25 vs. St. Louis Cardinals