Pittsburgh at New York

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Pittsburgh (42-58) «0000053008110
N.Y. Mets (57-44)100001110472

Phelps, Pirates cool off Mets with five-run sixth

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

NEW YORK -- After five innings Thursday, the Pittsburgh Pirates had managed one scratch infield hit against Oliver Perez and trailed by a run. Eleven batters had gone down in a row, four consecutive on strikeouts. It was a depressingly familiar pattern for a team that had lost 10 of 11 games since the All-Star break.

Quickly, everything changed. And before they knew it, the Pirates had an 8-4 victory over the Mets.

"When you put hits together, good things happen," noted Pirate manager Jim Tracy, repeating an old baseball adage.

Nate McLouth opened the sixth inning with a broken-bat single, and pitcher Paul Maholm followed with an infield hit. Then Perez threw away a bunt, allowing the tying run to score and setting up a five-run rally. Xavier Nady delivered a two-out, two-strike single for two runs, and Josh Phelps followed with a two-run homer.

"We caught a break on that bunt," Tracy said. "That set the stage, and then we got two huge two-out hits. When we do things like that, we're a good club."

Maholm (7-12) made it all possible. He matched Perez after allowing a first-inning run, waiting for Pirates hitters to do something positive. This is a team that is next to last in the NL in runs, but the pitcher had faith in the offense.

"Oliver was throwing great," Maholm said. "The offense had to figure him out. That's kind of what happened. I've got a job to do no matter how many runs we score. I have all the confidence in the world in my team."

It was the third win in four starts for Maholm, and Tracy was delighted with the left-hander.

"Maholm gave us another excellent pitching effort," the manager said. "His command was terrific. The first inning, he was a little out of kilter but he minimized the damage."

New York jumped ahead in the first inning when Jose Reyes led off with a single and stole second. He moved to third on an infield out and scored on a sacrifice fly by David Wright.

Perez protected the 1-0 lead into the sixth,

He ran into trouble in the sixth on McLouth's broken-bat single. Maholm faked a bunt and then beat out a chopper to shortstop. Cesar Izturis sacrificed, and when Perez made a bad throw, McLouth scored the tying run.

"It's part of the game. I just threw it away," Perez said. "I got to the ball quickly. Maybe I tried to throw too fast and that's why I threw it away."

Perez retired the next two hitters and had two strikes on Nady before surrendering a two-run single. Then Phelps followed with his third home run.

"It was a 2-2 fastball over the heart of the plate," Phelps said. "That's the best you can hope for in a count like that."

"Everything happened kind of quick," Mets manager Willie Randolph said. "But before that, you've got to field the position. It was a pretty good bunt, but if you make the throw, you get the guy out."

After Lastings Milledge homered against Maholm in the bottom of the sixth, Pittsburgh added three runs in the seventh on five consecutive two-out hits. Jason Bay and Nady had RBI singles, and Phelps doubled against reliever Joe Smith, who was optioned to Triple-A New Orleans after the game.

When Maholm gave up hits to Damion Easley and Ramon Castro opening the seventh. Damaso Marte relieved and retired the next three batters, allowing a sacrifice fly by Ruben Gotay.

Reyes homered in the eighth against Shawn Chacon.

Notes

  • Reyes' first-inning steal was his 48th this season. His eighth-inning homer was his seventh.
  • Mets CF Carlos Beltran remained sidelined by an abdominal muscle strain.
  • Perez threw 111 pitches in six innings, 72 for strikes.
  • Marte has retired 27 consecutive left-handed batters and has a 0.00 ERA in eight games during July.
  • Shea Stadium was being used for a pregame movie shoot starring Robin Williams and John Travolta, eliminating batting practice for both teams.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Josh Phelps and Xavier Nady combine to go 5-for-8 with six RBI and two runs in the win.  (AP)
Josh Phelps and Xavier Nady combine to go 5-for-8 with six RBI and two runs in the win. (AP)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

J. Phelps
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
Pittsburgh

X. Nady
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
 

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Pittsburgh Pirates
Cesar Izturis, SS4210000 .246
Freddy Sanchez, 2B5110012 .296
Jason Bay, LF5111032 .252
Xavier Nady, RF4123010 .285
Josh Phelps, 1B4133010 .283
Jose Castillo, 3B3000123 .233
Ronny Paulino, C4000022 .234
Nate McLouth, CF4120010 .238
Paul Maholm, P3110020 .175
    Damaso Marte, P0000000 .000
   a- Matt Kata, PH1000001 .202
    Shawn Chacon, P0000000 .273
    Matt Capps, P00000001.000
Totals378117113  
a-grounded into a double play for Marte in the 8th
Batting
2B - Josh Phelps (3, Smith)
HR - Josh Phelps (3, Perez)
SH - Cesar Izturis (3)
RBI - Jason Bay (66), Xavier Nady 3 (56), Josh Phelps 3 (15)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Bay (18), Xavier Nady 3 (34), Josh Phelps 3 (10)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Nate McLouth 1
Pittsburgh Pirates
Paul Maholm (W,7-12) 6633131 4.57
Damaso Marte 1000000 1.48
Shawn Chacon 1111001 3.51
Matt Capps 1000020 2.19
Pitches-Strikes - Paul Maholm 90-56, Damaso Marte 10-7, Shawn Chacon 14-11, Matt Capps 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Maholm 7-7, Damaso Marte 2-1, Shawn Chacon 1-2
Batters Faced - Paul Maholm 24, Damaso Marte 3, Shawn Chacon 4, Matt Capps 3
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS4221000 .305
Lastings Milledge, CF4111001 .280
David Wright, 3B3001000 .293
Carlos Delgado, 1B3000100 .248
Damion Easley, LF4120001 .263
Ramon Castro, C4020011 .319
Shawn Green, RF4000020 .270
Ruben Gotay, 2B2001010 .333
Oliver Perez, P2000010 .229
    Scott Schoeneweis, P0000000 .000
    Joe Smith, P0000000 .000
   a- Paul Lo Duca, PH1000001 .270
    Guillermo Mota, P0000000 .000
Totals3147415  
a-grounded out for Smith in the 7th
Batting
HR - Jose Reyes (7, Chacon), Lastings Milledge (3, Maholm)
SF - David Wright (4), Ruben Gotay (1)
RBI - Jose Reyes (41), Lastings Milledge (12), David Wright (62), Ruben Gotay (18)
SB - Jose Reyes (48, 2nd base off Maholm/Paulino)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
DP - Delgado-Reyes
E - Oliver Perez (1, Throwing), David Wright (12, Misplayed grounder)
New York Mets
Oliver Perez (L,9-7) 6550191 2.84
Scott Schoeneweis 0.2222020 5.59
Joe Smith 0.1311000 3.03
Guillermo Mota 2100020 5.58
Pitches-Strikes - Oliver Perez 111-72, Scott Schoeneweis 24-17, Joe Smith 10-5, Guillermo Mota 26-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Oliver Perez 2-8, Joe Smith 1-0, Guillermo Mota 2-1
Batters Faced - Oliver Perez 25, Scott Schoeneweis 4, Joe Smith 4, Guillermo Mota 6
Game Information
Attendance - 52150
Game Time - 2:46
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Charlie Reliford, First Base - Greg Gibson, Second Base - Larry Vanover, Third Base - Tony Randazzo