|N.Y. Mets (56-43) «||2||0||0||4||0||0||0||2||x||8||13||0|
Maine's two-run homer, which capped a four-run fourth inning, was pretty much the only surprising thing about his performance Tuesday night. He struck out seven in seven innings to lead New York to an 8-4 win over the woeful Pittsburgh Pirates.
"It's always good to do well for New York and the city," Maine said. "It makes it easier to pitch with a little bit of a lead."
Maine (11-5) leads the Mets in wins and strikeouts, and his ERA of 3.04 is second only to Oliver Perez's 3.00 among New York's starters. He won for the first time since the All-Star break, allowing an RBI double to Xavier Nady, a solo homer to Jason Bay in the fourth, and scattering three other hits.
"John just gets better and better," Mets manager Willie Randolph said.
The Pirates, meanwhile, are bad and getting worse. Despite two homers from Bay, they lost for the ninth time in 10 games and appear headed for another lost season.
Pittsburgh is among the worst in the major leagues in on-base percentage, walks and slugging percentage, and Pirates hitters didn't show much patience Tuesday night. Despite combining for 12 runs and 20 hits, the game lasted a mere 2 hours, 22 minutes.
"This is to take nothing away from John Maine, but we're just not hitting the ball," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "The game turned in that inning where they put up that four-spot. The way things have been going for us, that was a big number."
Jose Reyes and Ruben Gotay led off the game with back-to-back doubles off Ian Snell, and after Bay's solo shot tied the game at 2 in the fourth, the Mets scored four times in their half. Lastings Milledge, who singled before Maine's first career homer, windmilled his arm at the plate after he scored, like a third-base coach waving in a runner. Maine had to be urged to the dugout's top step for a curtain call.
Snell (7-8) hit Milledge with a pitch his next time up, but said it was unintentional. Milledge didn't seem miffed.
Snell gave up six runs, 10 hits and lasted only four innings. He lost his third straight start since the All-Star break and has won only two of his past eight.
The Mets, who have won eight of 12 since the break, began a seven-game homestand against the Pirates and Nationals, two teams among the worst in baseball.
Bay also homered in the ninth, a two-run shot off Guillermo Mota that gave him the team lead with 15 and his first multihomer game of the year.
"It was good to see Jason Bay offensively have the kind of night he had," Tracy said. "But you know, that's been our problem. We scratch out a run here, a run there. We have absolutely no room for error."
Especially not when one of their best starters lets the opposing pitcher go deep. Even by pitchers' standards, Maine has a rough time at the plate. His 1-for-1 evening lifted his average to .114 and surprised even him.
"I thought he was going to catch it. I was getting ready to turn around and go back to the dugout," Maine said. "I got lucky. There's no way around it."
|John Maine connects on his first career home run, helping him earn his first win since the break. (AP)|
|Players of the Game|
|Matt Kata, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||2||0||.207|
|Freddy Sanchez, 2B||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.295|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||4||1||1||0||0||0||1||.246|
|Xavier Nady, CF||4||1||2||1||0||1||1||.283|
|Ryan Doumit, RF||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.287|
|Jason Bay, LF||4||2||3||3||0||0||0||.252|
|Ronny Paulino, C||3||0||0||0||1||1||1||.238|
|Jack Wilson, SS||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.248|
|Ian Snell, P||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.125|
|a- Rajai Davis, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.261|
|Tony Armas, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|b- Nate McLouth, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.230|
|John Grabow, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Masumi Kuwata, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Snell in the 5th|
|b-flied out for Armas in the 7th|
|2B - Xavier Nady 2 (19, Maine, Mota)|
|HR - Jason Bay 2 (15, Maine, Mota)|
|RBI - Xavier Nady (53), Jason Bay 3 (63)|
|2-OUT RBI - Xavier Nady (31)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|Ian Snell (L,7-8)||4||10||6||6||0||5||1||3.62|
|HBP - Milledge (by Tony Armas)|
|WP - Ian Snell (8)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ian Snell 63-49, Tony Armas 29-20, John Grabow 10-8, Masumi Kuwata 19-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ian Snell 4-2, Tony Armas 2-3, Masumi Kuwata 2-1|
|Batters Faced - Ian Snell 21, Tony Armas 8, John Grabow 3, Masumi Kuwata 5|
|New York Mets|
|Jose Reyes, SS||5||1||2||0||0||0||2||.306|
|Ruben Gotay, 2B||4||1||2||1||0||1||1||.342|
|Carlos Beltran, CF||4||0||1||0||0||3||1||.263|
|David Wright, 3B||3||0||0||1||0||1||0||.295|
|Carlos Delgado, 1B||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||.251|
|Paul Lo Duca, C||4||2||2||0||0||0||2||.268|
|Shawn Green, RF||4||1||1||1||0||1||2||.270|
|Lastings Milledge, LF||3||2||3||3||0||0||0||.262|
|John Maine, P||1||1||1||2||0||0||0||.114|
|Aaron Heilman, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Marlon Anderson, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.231|
|Guillermo Mota, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Heilman in the 8th|
|2B - Jose Reyes (21, Snell), Ruben Gotay (6, Snell), Paul Lo Duca (11, Snell)|
|HR - Lastings Milledge (2, Kuwata), John Maine (1, Snell)|
|SF - David Wright (3)|
|SH - John Maine 2 (10)|
|RBI - Ruben Gotay (17), David Wright (61), Shawn Green (29), Lastings Milledge 3 (11), John Maine 2 (3)|
|SB - Carlos Beltran (15, 2nd base off Snell/Paulino)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|New York Mets|
|John Maine (W,11-5)||7||5||2||2||1||7||1||3.04|
|Pitches-Strikes - John Maine 103-67, Aaron Heilman 9-6, Guillermo Mota 16-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Maine 6-8, Aaron Heilman 2-0, Guillermo Mota 3-0|
|Batters Faced - John Maine 27, Aaron Heilman 3, Guillermo Mota 5|
|Attendance - 49122|
|Game Time - 2:22|
|Temperature - 76|
|Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Tony Randazzo, Second Base - Charlie Reliford, Third Base - Greg Gibson|