Mets 6 Pirates 3
It was deja vu all over again.
The Mets jumped out to a six-run lead in the first three innings, with four of the runs being driven in by Paul LoDuca and one each by Damion Easley and Marlon Anderson. With a six-zip lead, it looked like Tom Glavine would cruise easily to his 299th career victory.
However, he struggled in the fifth, allowing three runs — capped by a two-run homer by Jason Bay — to turn what looked to be a laugher in the making into a save situation. Tommy settled down to pitch a scoreless sixth, though he did give up several hard-hit balls. By the end of his six full frames, he’d thrown 113 pitches, and left his 299th in the capable hands of the bullpen.
And capable it was, with Aaron Heilman pitching two perfect innings. He’s now retired 16 out of the last 16 batters he’s faced.
Billy Wagner came on in the ninth to save his 23rd game of the season without incident.
As pointed out in the series preview, Jason Bay was batting .162 with four homeruns in the months of June and July. So far in this series, he’s 4-for-7 with three homers.
While LoDuca was driving in all the runs, Lastings Milledge also kept swinging a hot bat, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. He also was the recipient of an intentional HBP, as he had drawn the ire of the Pirates with his theatrics in Tuesday night’s game.
Glavine has me a bit concerned. He’s struggled in his last two starts, and I thought for sure he’d eat up the aggressive Pirates hitters. Some of it may have had to do with the tiny strike zone of Tony Randazzo, but that’s part of my concern — if he doesn’t have a generous, “pitcher’s” ump, he’s in deep doo-doo, even against a horrific-hitting team such as the Buccos.
How about Shawn Green doing every little bit he can to show value, with Milledge swinging like a man possessed? He’s not hitting for much power, but he’s dumping little hits here and there and running his butt off on the bases — including getting a basehit and then a steal vs. lefty John Grabow in the sixth. He eventually made his way to third and faked an attempt to score on a shallow fly caught by second baseman Freddy Sanchez — which drew two throws, the second of which was nearly thrown away. (Green went 2-for-4 with a double, by the way.) Can you say “motivation” ?
Carlos Beltran sat out the game with a pulled stomach muscle. Good thing the Mets DFA’d outfielder Chip Ambres instead of demoting Sandy Alomar, Jr. or AHern, eh? Genius.
I keep checking, but haven’t seen any changes in the MLB Official Rule Book in regard to the hit by pitch. Yet, remarkably, Nate McClouth was awarded first base after getting hit by a pitch he swung at, in the ninth inning. It didn’t matter, but it’s the principle. The rulebook clearly states in section 6, rule 9(b):
(b) He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (2) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball;
If the ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a strike, whether or not the batter tries to avoid the ball. If the ball is outside the strike zone when it touches the batter, it shall be called a ball if he makes no attempt to avoid being touched.
So, based on the above, explain to me how McClouth gets first base?
Anyone who watched the SNY postgame, I have a question: was that George Hamilton sitting in for Lee Mazzilli? Either my TV color is way off or Maz is looking like the inside of a blood orange. Take that tan to South Beach, Mr. Toasty.
Oliver Perez makes his first start against his old teammates in an odd 12:10 PM afternoon start (day camp field trip!). Lefty Paul Maholm hurls for the Pirates.