The New York Mets' Daniel Murphy slides into second base as the Pirates' Jordy Mercer loses control of the ball during the third inning of a Wednesday's game.
By Jenn Menendez / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
NEW YORK — Bartolo Colon showed he still had it Wednesday.
The 41-year-old right-hander held the Pirates scoreless and struck out nine through 71⁄3 innings to lead the New York Mets to a 5-0 win at Citi Field.
He struck out Ike Davis looking on an 89 mph two-seam fastball for his 2,000th career strikeout in the sixth inning. His fastball, while not overpowering, was deceptive and kept the Pirates from gaining any traction at the plate.
“You can call it a fastball, but it’s eight different kinds with the speed variations and the movement variations,” said Pirates catcher Chris Stewart. “He mixes speeds, uses his movement on both sides of the plate and doesn’t give in. You can’t get comfortable up there against him. You’re looking for one thing and you get another.”
Colon left with one out in the eighth after giving up back-to-back singles to Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen. Reliever Jeurys Familia doused the threat with a double-play grounder off the bat of Davis.
Not much went well for the Pirates, who dropped to 23-29 and stranded eight runners.
“He pitched as we expected him to pitch,” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. “He’s been around as long as he has for a reason. He’s good at what he does, is able to hit spots. … You’ve got to hit pitches when they’re there to hit. We didn’t do that. We had some good aggressive swings, fouled some balls off … just weren’t able to put anything together with any consistency.”
The Mets chipped away at Pirates starter Charlie Morton for single runs in the second, third and sixth before sealing the game with Lucas Duda’s two-run homer off Bryan Morris in the eighth.
In the second, Morton uncorked a wild pitch with Colon at the plate and two outs, allowing Duda to score from third. “I was trying to work down and I just missed,” said Morton.
Two Pirates errors in the third paved the way for another Mets run. Daniel Murphy reached on Pedro Alvarez’s throwing error. The ball caromed off the Mets dugout and back out to Pirates second baseman Neil Walker, who attempted to throw Murphy out at second. But shortstop Jordy Mercer misplayed the throw, the ball rolled into the outfield and Murphy went to third. He scored on David Wright’s single.
The Pirates committed six errors in the three-game series.
“The defense hasn’t been good. I mean we’ve been challenged,” said Hurdle. “It’s been one of our staples. We go through a period of time and win five of seven, we win the first game here … and then in a period of 24 hours we don’t play well. You don’t play well you win.”
Wright took Morton deep in the sixth with a solo home run that made it 3-0. It was a sinker that Morton said flattened by the time it reached the plate.
“I think it was kind of flat. Some of my pitches just flattened out today and that was one of them,” he said. “He’s a really good hitter. It wasn’t in the best spot. I like it down a little more, but it was just flat.”
Morton went just 51⁄3 innings, giving up four hits and three runs, while throwing 104 pitches.
“First inning was really long. I couldn’t repeat pitches and ran the pitch count up pretty quickly,” he said. “You never want to do that. … If you can’t repeat it leads to all sorts of problems.”
The Pirates now go a West Coast swing with a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers starting tonight and three games in San Diego against the Padres.
Jenn Menendez: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @JennMenendez.
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