NEW YORK -- Jeremy Hefner completed the ultimate 180-degree turn Wednesday night.
In Hefner's previous start, he allowed seven runs in zero innings. Wednesday, he allowed zero runs in seven innings.
Hefner stifled the Pirates while the New York Mets took advantage of Jeff Locke in a 6-0 win at Citi Field Wednesday.
Hefner (3-7) allowed three hits and struck out seven, which tied his career high. He did not record an out in his previous start, where he allowed seven runs on six hits and a walk in a 16-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Pirates fell to 76-79 and 6-18 in the month of September. They must win six of their final seven games to finish above .500. They face a challenge during that quest today when they face knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who is going for his 20th win and is a front-runner for the National League Cy Young award.
The Mets did most of their damage in the third inning. Ruben Tejada singled and stole second, scoring on Daniel Murphy's single. David Wright reached on an infield single, and Pedro Alvarez's throwing error allowed Murphy to score.
Scott Hairston doubled home a run, and Kelly Shoppach's single scored Hairston to give the Mets a 4-0 lead.
In the fourth, Andres Torres singled, went to second on a sacrifice bunt and stole third. Tejada's single scored Torres. Three consecutive singles would have scored another run, but Starling Marte's rope hit Michael McKenry on the fly to get Murphy at home and end the inning.
Locke (0-3) allowed nine hits and five runs in 32/3 innings. He did not allow a home run for the first time in five starts.
Bill Brink Pirates beat reporter Pittsburgh Post-Gazette email@example.com First Published September 27, 2012 2:00 AM