The Mets got on the board early in this one, as Justin Turner was hit by a pitch with one out in the first and, after Carlos Beltran drew a contemptibly selfish walk, Ronny Cedeno took his eye off the ball on Daniel Murphy's slow bouncer to short and everyone was safe. With the bases loaded, Angel Pagan tapped a grounder to first which plated Turner, and Lucas Duda followed by hitting a first-pitch grounder to Neil Walker at second to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first, the Pirates led off with three straight singles — including a bunt single by Josh Harrison — tied the game at one and set things up for a big inning with runners on first and second and none out. Walker followed by bouncing a ball to the left of the mound, away from Dillon Gee's post-pitch momentum, but he (Gee) reached back and snared the ball and fired to third to get the lead runner Harrison. It was an instinct play, but if Gee had had his druthers you can be sure he'd have thrown to second to start a 1-6-3 double-play. It made little difference in the end, as Lyle Overbay flew out to shallow center and Matt Diaz, who has just a .709 career OPS against righties, struck out swinging to end the threat.
In the top of the fourth, Pagan sent a ball the opposite way for a leadoff double. Duda then smacked a single to center and Chip Hale windmilled Pagan around third. The throw home from McCutchen got away from Bucs catcher Dusty Brown, and Pagan's slide took Brown out of the play long enough for Duda, who had gone to second on the throw, to lumber all the way to third. Thole then blooped one over Walker's head into right field to score Duda from third.
Ruben Tejada then sliced a single to right and Gee sacrificed to Lyle Overbay at first, who had enough time to force the glacial Thole at third. Jose Reyes smoked an "infield single" which Walker booted to load the bases with one out. Turner smacked a 3-2 pitch up the middle and off Morton's left foot, which ball then caromed past Cedeno, who had broken for second to cover the ball's original trajectory. Its new trajectory brought it into shallow left-center field, plating Tejada and Gee and allowing Reyes to make the effortless jaunt from first to third. Carlos Beltran's sacrifice fly to a diving Diaz in right scored Reyes with the fifth run of the inning and sixth overall.
While Gee kept the Pirates at bay, the Mets' bats kept pouring it on. Pagan led off the fifth with a triple off Diaz's glove in right and Duda brought him home with sacrifice fly. Then Reyes led off the sixth with a solo home run over the 21-foot-high fence in right field to give the Mets an 8-1 lead.
Gee faced just nine total batters in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings as he continued to rack up outs while maintaining a modest pitch count. He allowed a couple of two-out singles to Jose Tabata and Harrison in the eighth but pinch-hitter Xavier Paul to ground out to Tejada to end the inning.
Tim Byrdak, who has nearly twice as many appearances as innings pitched this season, came on for the ninth and dispatched the Pirates in short order, erasing an Overbay one-out single by coaxing a game-ending double play out of Wyatt Toregas.
Oh, and I'm officially off the schneid; the Mets are now 1-6 in games I've recapped this season.
Unintentionally sexual quote of the game: "Stay in, don't pull out." --Keith Hernandez
Big winners: Dillon Gee (pitching), +12.4% WPA, Angel Pagan, +10.2% WPA
Big losers: Dillon Gee (batting), -5.5% WPA
Teh aw3s0mest play: Duda RBI single in fourth, +14.5% WPA
Teh sux0rest play: McCutchen RBI single in first, -9.3% WPA
Total pitcher WPA: +12.5% WPA
Total batter WPA: +37.5% WPA
GWRBI!: Lucas Duda
Nice job by CTRefJay; his effort in the game thread embiggens us all.
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