The Pirates were the benefactors of solid pitching and some timely hitting, helping close the gap toward a .500 record to 1 game.
McCutchen lined a two-out, two-run double down the third base line, plating Jose Tabata and Josh Harrison. Left-fielder Jason Bay overthrew the catcher, allowing Harrison to score easily and letting McCutchen advance to third on the play.
McCutchen continued his clutch hitting for the Buccos, collecting his 16th hit with runners in scoring position in his last 34 at-bats, an outstanding .471 average.
McDonald (4-4, 4.80) at first appeared to still have some control issues lingering from his previous start, where he walked five batters. He allowed two hits and a walk before giving up a run on a fielder’s choice to Daniel Murphy. Fortunately for the Bucs, he got Angel Pagan to fly out and end the first inning threat.
The Mets put the pressure back on the Bucs in the fourth. With the score tied 1-1, McDonald gave up a lead-off walk to Pagan. Bay, the former Pirate All-Star, singled to center, snapping an 0-24 skid. After Lucas Duda lined out to Lyle Overbay, Ronny Paulino hit a single to load the bases. McDonald escaped the jam, though, getting R.A. Dickey to ground into a double play to end the inning.
McDonald settled down after that, scattering only 4 more hits the rest of the way. He finished the night pitching 6 innings and allowed only 2 runs on 8 hits total while walking 3 and striking out 2.
The Mets threatened one last time in the eighth. After walking Pagan, reliever Tony Watson was lifted for Jose Veras. Veras got Bay to fly out to center, but then let up a double to Duda. Pagan held up at third, though, and Veras struck out Paulino to end the inning.
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (3-7, 3.98), had his third straight quality start for the Mets, but still found himself as the hard-luck loser. He pitched a complete game, going 8 innings and allowing 3 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks while striking out 4, losing for the second time this season against the Pirates.
With tonight’s game included, the Mets have only scored 7 runs in Dickey’s last 5 starts, spanning 32 1/3 innings.
Joel Hanrahan shut the door on the Mets in the 9th, earning his 16th save of the year, which sent the raucous sell-out crowd into an all-out frenzy.
Garrett Jones had an RBI double in the second to drive in the first run for the Pirates.
PACKED AT THE PARK
The crowd of 39,273 was the fourth sellout this year and the third largest crowd in PNC Park history.
BAY BACK IN THE BURGH
This was Bay’s first game in Pittsburgh since being traded to the Boston Red Sox as part of a three-team swap in 2008.
The Pirates continue this 4 game series Sunday at 1:35 PM. Lefty Chris Capuano (4-6, 4.86) takes the hill for the Mets against Pirates righty Kevin Correia (8-4, 3.64). The two previously met June 1, with Correia getting the better of his opponent in a 9-3 Pirates victory.