Pirates rally late to capture win over Mets
The last time the Pirates played the Mets, pitcher Ian Snell accused the host Mets of stealing signs.
This time, the Pirates stole one.
The Pirates rallied from a five-run deficit to beat the Mets, 8-5, on Monday night at PNC Park in the opener of a four-game series.
"We don't give up," said left fielder Nyjer Morgan, who added another spectacular diving catch in the ninth inning.
Trailing 5-0 after three innings and 5-3 in the eighth, the Pirates rallied for five runs off three Mets relievers. Delwyn Young's pinch-hit single off J.J. Putz (1-4) scored Jason Jaramillo and gave the Pirates their first lead of the game.
Andy LaRoche and Jack Wilson also had RBI singles, and Freddy Sanchez and Nate McLouth drove in runs during the surge, helping the Pirates win for only the second time in their past six games.
It is only the second time in 23 tries that the Pirates have won when trailing after seven innings.
"I don't remember when our last one was," said Adam LaRoche, who went 3-for-5 and started the eighth-inning rally with a leadoff double. "It feels like when we've been getting down, it just slowly gets worse."
Tom Gorzelanny (3-1), one of four Pirates relievers, got the win. Matt Capps pitched the ninth for his 11th save, helped by Morgan's charging, diving catch to rob Luis Castillo in the ninth.
Putz (1-4) failed to retire any of the five batters he faced, allowing four earned runs on four hits and a walk.
Down 5-0 after Snell struggled early, the Pirates scored three runs in the fourth and another five in the eighth inning.
Adam LaRoche doubled off Pedro Feliciano. After an out, and with Putz on the mound, Andy LaRoche singled in his brother to make it 5-4.
Jaramillo and Wilson hit back-to-back singles to tie the score at 5-all. Young, who is hitting .400 as a pinch-hitter, gave the Pirates a 6-5 lead with sharp single to center off Putz. An error by Mets shortstop Wilson Valdez, who went 2-for-4 with a career-high three RBI, and McLouth's sacrifice fly to center scored two more runs for an 8-5 lead.
Andy LaRoche finished 2-for-4 with three RBI, and Wilson added three hits for the Pirates, who handed the Mets' only their third loss in the past 10 games.
Neither of the starters figured in the decision. Met starter Livan Hernandez allowed three runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings. He struck out five and walked two.
Snell hasn't won a game since April 18, a span of eight starts. He fell behind 5-0 in the third inning but settled down to retire 10 of the final 12 batters he faced. Four Pirates relievers, including newcomer Steven Jackson, pitched three scoreless innings.
Snell said his teammates picked him up after the rough start.
"They came up and said, 'we believe in you,'" he said. "To have the team say that, even though I'm struggling, it's amazing. We battled back and we won the game. I don't care if I go 1-20. As long as we win, it doesn't matter."
The Mets grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second inning on Valdez's run-scoring triple and Brian Schneider's RBI single.
In the third, Snell walked the first two batters, and the Mets led, 5-0, after a run-scoring grounder by Gary Sheffield and a two-run double by Valdez.
The Pirates sliced the deficit to 5-3 in the bottom of the fourth on Andy LaRoche's two-run triple and Jaramillo's RBI groundout off Hernandez.
The Pirates left the bases loaded in the sixth and went down in order in the seventh, before the unlikely eighth-inning outburst.
"We came up with some big hits with runners on base, and that's what we've been missing a lot of those games," Adam LaRoche said. "We did that tonight."
It doesn't get easier today for the Pirates, as they meet National League ERA-leader Johan Santana.
In two career starts in Pittsburgh, Santana is 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA and 12 strikeouts and no walks.
How they scored
Mets second inning (Ian Snell pitching): With none out, Jeremy Reed doubled to left. Wilson Valdez tripled to left-center, Reed scored. Brian Schneider singled to center, Valdez scored. Mets 2, Pirates 0
Mets third (Snell pitching): With none out, Fernando Martinez walked, stole second and advanced to third on catcher Jason Jaramillo's throwing error. Daniel Murphy walked. Gary Sheffield grounded into fielder's choice, Martinez scored, Murphy out at second. Reed doubled to right, Sheffield to third. Valdez doubled to right, Sheffield and Reed scored. Mets 5, Pirates 0
Pirates fourth (Livan Hernandez pitching): With one out, Adam LaRoche doubled to right. Eric Hinske walked. Andy LaRoche tripled to right-center, Adam LaRoche and Hinske scored. Jason Jaramillo grounded to first, Andy LaRoche scored. Mets 5, Pirates 3
Pirates eighth (Pedro Feliciano pitching): With none out, Adam LaRoche doubled to right. Hinske grounded out, Adam LaRoche to third. (J.J. Putz pitching) Andy LaRoche reached on an infield single, Adam LaRoche scored. Jason Jaramillo singled to center, Andy LaRoche to second. Wilson singled to center, Andy LaRoche scored, Jaramillo to second. Pinch-hitter Delwyn Young singled to center, Jaramillo scored, Wilson to third. Young to second on throw home. Nyjer Morgan intentionally walked. (Brian Stokes pitching) Freddy Sanchez safe on shortstop Valdez's error, Wilson scored, Young to third, Morgan to second. McLouth hit sacrifice fly to center field, Young scored. Pirates 8, Mets 5