video thumbnail

Must C Curious: Mets score a run on umps' ruling

PITTSBURGH -- A couple of broken streaks looked imminent for the Mets on Sunday: Three straight games with 10 or more hits and winning the season series over the Pirates for a fifth straight year.

Neither could continue if Pittsburgh starter Kevin Correia didn't let anyone on base, which he didn't until Jason Bay hit a line drive to left field with two outs in the fifth inning. Through six innings, the veteran righty faced 20 batters, two over the minimum.

But in the last three innings, the Mets made up for the first six and kept their streaks alive with a 7-0 rout of the Pirates at PNC Park.

"Once we scored a couple of runs, we kept at it," outfielder Scott Hairston said. "[We] kept piling them on. That's what good teams do."

The Mets have won four of seven against the Pirates this season, with one game left to play in the series.

The scoring began in the seventh with a play that caused plenty of confusion. With first baseman Daniel Murphy on third and center fielder Angel Pagan on first, left fielder Jason Bay hit a fly ball to medium-deep center.

Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen caught the ball for the inning's second out and threw home as Murphy tagged up and scored. He returned to the Mets' dugout and manager Terry Collins turned to speak to him. When Collins turned back, the Pirates were returning to their dugout, a third out achieved and the inning over.

Pagan had taken a few steps past second base and, upon returning to first, didn't retouch second base. Pirates first baseman Lyle Overbay noticed and called for the ball, which he threw to shortstop Ronny Cedeno, who tagged second base to get Pagan out. Murphy's run came off the scoreboard. Collins, who hadn't seen the play, thought Murphy had been called for tagging and leaving third too soon.

"I looked up and everybody's running off the field," Collins said. "I said, 'Oh, please, don't say he left early.'"

Of course, Pagan knew exactly what happened.

"When I saw [McCutchen] get the ball, I was trying to step on the base, but I just went back," he said. "Halfway I was like 'Oh my God, I didn't hit the bag.'"

After the official scoring was confirmed, Murphy's run went back up and Bay was credited with a sacrifice fly and an RBI. At the time, in the midst of a pitchers' duel, the 1-0 lead was crucial.

One inning later, the play hardly mattered.

The Mets began the eighth with two straight fly ball outs. But pinch-hitter Willie Harris managed a single, which brought up the top of the order. Shortstop Jose Reyes singled and third baseman Justin Turner drove in Harris with a double. At that point, Correia was pulled for reliever Chris Resop.

"I got ahead [against Harris] and felt good," Correia said. "I nibbled a couple and had to throw a strike with Reyes on deck. He got a hit and that was kind of the backbreaker for me."

Right fielder Carlos Beltran, Murphy and Pagan each singled, three more runs scored and the score was 5-0 before the inning was over.

"[Correia] was very tough," Hairston said. "But for us to stick with it and to give good at-bats, one run after another, that's what kept us in the ballgame."

Hairston, who hadn't had an at-bat since June 2, pinch-hit for reliever Jason Isringhausen in the top of the ninth and sent the first pitch he saw into seats for a solo home run. Reyes followed with a homer of his own, and the Mets had 12 hits on the day.

Reyes went 3-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored in the game. His batting average rose to .346, and he now has 33 multi-hit performances in 62 games this season. Collins said Reyes has been playing like the National League MVP.

"Obviously, I get to see him every day," Collins said. "In my mind, the answer to that would be yes."

The scoring outburst sealed the win for starter Chris Capuano, who pitched seven scoreless innings. He gave up three hits and two walks, and struck out five.

Over their last 17 games, since May 26, Mets starters have posted a 2.53 ERA and have allowed three runs or fewer in 15 of 17 starts.

"They are keeping us in games, they're giving us a chance," Collins said. "They have been excellent. I can't say too many good things about them."

Capuano's last inning began with another controversial play. Overbay hit a ball to deep center, which Pagan chased down and caught as he jumped into the wall. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle came out to argue that Pagan had trapped the ball and was ejected from the game.

"I felt the ball in my glove, then my glove hit the wall," Pagan said. For the ball to bounce off the wall into his glove, which was turned away from the wall, would have been "too lucky," he said. Comments