Despite Snider heroics, Pirates lose again
NEW YORK — Pirates right fielder Travis Snider made a wall-scaling catch that won't soon be forgotten, but Thursday's game turned out to be most memorable for Mets right-hander R.A. Dickey.
The come-from-behind, 6-5 victory gave the 37-year-old knuckleballer and Cy Young candidate his 20th win this season. He's the Mets' first 20-game winner since Frank Viola in 1990 and the first knuckleballer to accomplish the feat since Houston's Joe Niekro in 1980, according to STATS LLC.
The loss marked the Pirates' eighth in their past 10 games and 20th in their past 26. They have lost 80 games, two shy of clinching their 20th consecutive losing season.
“Growing up, you just want to compete. And once you have the weaponry to compete, you want to be really good,” Dickey said. “And then, when you're really good, you want to be supernaturally good. And I think, for me, there's been this steady kind of metamorphosis from just surviving to being a craftsman. Ultimately, the hope is to be an artist with what you do.”
Dickey tied his career high in strikeouts in the seventh inning when he fanned Pedro Alvarez for No. 13. He exited to a standing ovation after walking Snider one batter later. Dickey (20-6) threw 128 pitches in 7 2⁄3 innings, allowing three runs and eight hits while walking two. Dickey leads the National League with 222 strikeouts.
Reliever Jon Rauch nearly blew the Mets' lead in the ninth when he walked Jordy Mercer and Alex Presley hit a one-out home run to right field. Bobby Parnell came in and recorded the save.
Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen left the game with left knee discomfort after he was hurt diving for a ball in the seventh inning. Jose Tabata took over in left field, and Presley moved from left to center.
Kevin Correia (11-11) served up an RBI single that tied the score in the fifth, then a three-run homer to David Wright that gave the Mets a 6-3 lead. His bid to tie a career high with win No. 12 gone, Correia was replaced by Hisanori Takahashi. Correia also yielded a leadoff home run to Ike Davis in the second, two batters before Snider stunned the Mets and Mike Baxter.
With the Pirates leading by a run and the ball sailing toward the Modell's sign in right field, Snider ran full speed and leaped up the chain-link fence, extending his glove several feet over the top to make the catch. He then landed on his knees, his right arm thrust toward the sky the entire time.
“It was as good a play as you'll ever see an outfielder make,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Correia, who immediately had looked away after the ball was hit, grinned as he took the ball back. Baxter walked to the dugout stunned.
“I didn't think he had a chance,” Correia said. “That was an unbelievable catch. That's definitely the best catch I've had when I've been on the mound. I don't know that I've ever even had a home run robbed, and that was above and beyond the wall. That was something special right there.”
Snider had barely landed on the right-field warning track before Twitter erupted with descriptions of the catch as one of the — if not the — greatest of the year.
“I was blessed to grow up in Seattle watching Ken Griffey Jr. do that on a regular basis,” Snider said. “I remember being a kid dreaming of doing that. Any time we ever got on the field in the Kingdome, the first thing we wanted to do was try and climb the wall. It's something you hope you get the opportunity to do.”
The Pirates got to Dickey in a two-run second inning, and Rod Barajas hit his 11th homer in the fourth. But after that, the offense fizzled.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7980.