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Series preview: Mets at Pirates

Anthony Gruppuso/US Presswire

Center fielder Andrew McCutchen has the most hits in the National League in June.

METS (30-32, fourth place/NL East) vs. PITTSBURGH PIRATES (30-31, fourth place/NL Central)

Friday: RHP Dillon Gee (6-0, 3.33) vs. RHP Charlie Morton (6-2, 2.52), 7:05 p.m. ET

Saturday: RHP R.A. Dickey (3-6, 4.04) vs. RHP James McDonald (3-4, 4.97), 7:05 p.m. ET

Sunday: LHP Chris Capuano (4-6, 4.86) vs. RHP Kevin Correia (8-4, 3.64), 1:35 p.m. ET

Monday: RHP Mike Pelfrey (3-4, 5.35) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (2-7, 3.39), 7:05 p.m. ET

Pirates short hops

• Despite ex-Yankee Jeff Karstens tossing seven scoreless innings Thursday, the Pirates lost to Arizona, 2-0, on Thursday and slipped back under .500. Pittsburgh was bidding to have a winning record in June for the first time in 12 years, since the Pirates were managed by Gene Lamont in 1999 and ultimately finished 78-83 thanks to getting swept by the Mets in a three-game series at Shea Stadium to finish the season. Reliever Chris Resop surrendered the decisive two-run homer in the eighth to Chris Young as the Diamondbacks avoided the sweep.

Charles LeClaire/US Presswire

Closer Joel Hanrahan is perfect in save chances this season.

• Catcher Chris Snyder is scheduled to undergo surgery Friday to address a herniated disc in his lower back. The loss of Snyder comes on the heels of Ryan Doumit fracturing his left ankle last month. The top minor league option, Jason Jaramillo, is out with an elbow injury. The Pirates are shopping for catching help, and for now are using a combination of Dusty Brown and Wyatt Toregas, who have a collective 39 games of major league experience. The Tribune-Review speculates the Pirates will put in a waiver claim on Jake Fox, who has been designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles.

• Third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who has not appeared with the Pirates since May 19 because of a strained right quadriceps, had a recurrence of trouble during an extended spring training game this week and is not close to returning. Rookie Josh Harrison and ex-Angel Brandon Wood have split time at the position in Alvarez’s absence. The Pirates also are without Steve Pearce (strained right calf), who had started six games at the position this season. Harrison’s major league debut came May 31 against the Mets, with his first career hit off R.A. Dickey.

• Left fielder Jose Tabata (.254, 3 HR, 12 RBI) is playing through a left thumb injury. He nonetheless matched a career high with four hits Wednesday.

• Pittsburgh starting pitchers have a 3.58 ERA, which ranks fourth in the National League, behind San Francisco (3.15), Atlanta (3.24) and Philadelphia (3.29).

• After going most of the season with only one left-handed reliever, Pittsburgh promoted Tony Watson to join fellow southpaw Daniel Moskos in the bullpen. Left-hander Joe Beimel is on the disabled list with elbow inflammation.

Neil Walker leads major league second basemen with 40 RBIs.

• Center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who has drawn rave reviews from Mets manager Terry Collins for his hard-nosed play and hustle, leads National League players in hits in June with 16. He is hitting .500 with a homer and seven RBIs in 32 at-bats this month. McCutchen produced a walk-off homer in the 12th inning Wednesday against Arizona’s Zach Kroenke.

• Pittsburgh selected UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole with the first overall pick in the draft.

• Closer Joel Hanrahan is 15-for-15 in save opportunities this season. Hanrahan has allowed only two earned runs in his past 21 1/3 innings.

Ronny Cedeno has played 44 straight error-free games at shortstop. It is the longest streak by a Pirates shortstop since Jay Bell went 46 straight games without an error in 1996.

Matchups

Gee vs. Pirates (career: 1-0, 2.08 ERA)

Chris Snyder .600, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 6 PA

Garrett Jones .333, 2 K, 6 PA

Ronny Cedeno .333, 1 RBI, 6 PA

Lyle Overbay .333, 3 PA

Neil Walker .250, 2 BB, 6 PA

Jose Tabata .167, 2 K, 6 PA

Andrew McCutchen .000, 3 K, 6 PA

Matt Diaz .000, 1 BB, 3 PA

Brandon Wood .000, 1 K, 2 PA

Dickey vs. Pirates (career: 1-1, 3.33 ERA)

Pedro Ciriaco 1.000, 1 PA

Andrew McCutchen .333, 2 BB, 3 K, 8 PA

Garrett Jones .286, 1 K, 7 PA

Jose Tabata .200, 1 BB, 7 PA

Ronny Cedeno .167, 2 K, 6 PA

Neil Walker .167, 2 RBI, 1 K, 6 PA

Lyle Overbay .100, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 12 PA

Chris Snyder .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 6 PA

Dusty Brown .000, 3 PA

Brandon Wood .000, 1 RBI, 2 PA

Matt Diaz .000, 1 K, 2 PA

Xavier Paul .000, 1 K, 2 PA

Capuano vs. Pirates (career: 3-7, 6.54 ERA)

Andrew McCutchen .750, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 5 PA

Chris Snyder .714, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 3 BB, 10 PA

Matt Diaz .462, 1 RBI, 1 K, 14 PA

Lyle Overbay .333, 1 RBI, 1 K, 3 PA

Jose Tabata .286, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 7 PA

Neil Walker .286, 1 K, 7 PA

Garrett Jones .167, 2 K, 6 PA

Ronny Cedeno .150, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 21 PA

Pelfrey vs. Pirates (career: 3-1, 5.28 ERA)

Xavier Paul .600, 2 RBI, 6 PA

Andrew McCutchen .500, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 14 PA

Garrett Jones .500, 1 BB, 3 PA

Chris Snyder .375, 3 BB, 2 K, 11 PA

Ronny Cedeno .333, 1 RBI, 1 K, 9 PA

Matt Diaz .273, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 13 PA

Neil Walker .182, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 K, 11 PA

Jose Tabata .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 8 PA

Lyle Overbay .000, 3 PA

Dusty Brown .000, 1 BB, 1 K, 3 PA

Morton vs. Mets (career: 0-0, 2.08 ERA)

Ruben Tejada 1.000, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 5 PA

Angel Pagan .833, 1 RBI, 1 K, 6 PA

Daniel Murphy .500, 4 PA

Carlos Beltran .333, 1 BB, 1 K, 4 PA

Justin Turner .333, 4 PA

Jason Pridie .333, 1 K, 3 PA

Josh Thole .200, 5 PA

Jose Reyes .000, 4 PA

Willie Harris .000, 1 K, 4 PA

Scott Hairston .000, 3 PA

McDonald vs. Mets (career: 0-1, 3.63 ERA)

Daniel Murphy .667, 1 K, 3 PA

Angel Pagan .444, 1 BB, 10 PA

Jose Reyes .333, 1 K, 7 PA

Jason Bay .333, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 4 PA

Josh Thole .167, 2 BB, 1 K, 8 PA

Carlos Beltran .111, 2 BB, 1 K, 11 PA

Ruben Tejada .000, 1 RBI, 1 K, 5 PA

Nick Evans .000, 1 BB, 3 K, 4 PA

Justin Turner .000, 3 PA

Scott Hairston .000, 1 K, 1 PA

Ronny Paulino 1 BB, 1 PA

Correia vs. Mets (career: 2-3, 2.95 ERA)

Ronny Paulino .750, 1 BB, 5 PA

Angel Pagan .500, 1 RBI, 4 BB, 1 K, 10 PA

Ruben Tejada .500, 2 RBI, 2 PA

Carlos Beltran .444, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 10 PA

Daniel Murphy .333, 1 K, 9 PA

Willie Harris .267, 3 K, 15 PA

Jose Reyes .231, 2 RBI, 2 K, 13 PA

Jason Bay .000, 1 BB, 3 K, 7 PA

Justin Turner .000, 3 PA

Maholm vs. Mets (career: 3-3, 5.15 ERA)

Daniel Murphy 1.000, 3 RBI, 2 PA

Carlos Beltran .471, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 21 PA

Nick Evans .444, 1 RBI, 2 BB, 11 PA

Angel Pagan .400, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 2 K, 17 PA

Jose Reyes .364, 3 RBI, 1 K, 22 PA

Ronny Paulino .333, 1 RBI, 9 PA

Justin Turner .333, 3 PA

Scott Hairston .286, 2 BB, 9 PA

Ruben Tejada .200, 2 RBI, 5 PA

Jason Bay .000, 1 BB, 3 PA

Last series results

Mets split, 2-2, at Citi Field, May 30-June 2 (AP game recaps)

Mets 7, Pirates 3: Josh Thole hit a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning and the depleted New York Mets, playing with a makeshift lineup minus Jose Reyes, beat the Pittsburgh Pirates. Dillon Gee (5-0) pitched seven solid innings, striking out a career-high eight in the rookie's latest impressive outing. The Mets banged out 15 hits against starter Charlie Morton and the Pirates. This time, New York did its damage with only three regulars in the lineup for the opener of a four-game series. Reyes was placed on the bereavement list earlier in the day and left fielder Jason Bay was given a planned day off. The only regular starters in the lineup were Thole, Carlos Beltran and Angel Pagan. Third baseman David Wright and first baseman Ike Davis are on the disabled list. No problem, apparently. Daniel Murphy had three hits for the second consecutive day, while Pagan and fill-in shortstop Ruben Tejada also had three singles apiece. Chris Snyder hit a two-run homer in the second inning for the Pirates, who dropped to 0-8 at Citi Field. Snyder helped give back those runs, however, with a pair of passed balls in the bottom half. With the score tied at 3, Beltran drew a four-pitch walk from Daniel McCutchen (1-1) to start the seventh. Murphy followed with a single and, one out later, Thole doubled home both runners with a drive to deep right-center. The young catcher clapped his hands after rounding first base, and the Mets had a 5-3 lead. McCutchen entered with a 0.40 ERA, the lowest among NL relievers. Jason Isringhausen pitched a perfect eighth and Francisco Rodriguez worked a scoreless ninth with help from Pagan, who made a terrific catch just in front of the fence to rob Neil Walker of extra bases. Gee allowed three runs and five hits while walking none in a matchup of young starters. The right-hander retired nine in a row after Snyder's homer, including five straight strikeouts, and did not allow a ball out of the infield before Ronny Cedeno's one-out single in the fifth. Morton went six innings, giving up 11 hits but only three runs (one earned).

Pirates 5, Mets 1: Josh Harrison's first major league hit prompted hugs from his teammates. The second one helped them win a game. Harrison stroked a tying single with two outs in the eighth inning off gritty starter R.A. Dickey, and Neil Walker put Pittsburgh ahead with a two-run single that sent the Pirates past the Mets. Making his big league debut, Harrison also singled in the third inning for his first career hit, and the ball was tossed into the Pittsburgh dugout to be saved as a souvenir. Generously listed at 5-foot-8, Harrison was called up from the minors before the series opener when the Pirates placed reserve infielder Steve Pearce on the disabled list. James McDonald allowed five hits in six innings against New York's depleted lineup before Evan Meek (1-1) worked a perfect seventh. Jose Veras did the same in the eighth and Joel Hanrahan got three quick outs to end it. After totaling 16 runs and 32 hits over the previous two days, the only time the Mets scored was on Jason Bay's scratch single in the first. Missing injured sluggers David Wright and Ike Davis, New York has gone 10 games without a homer for the first time since 1979. Dickey (2-6) did his best to make the lone run stand up. Knocked out of his previous start by an injury to his right heel, the 36-year-old knuckleballer struck out a career-high 10 and took a two-hit shutout into the eighth. Pitching with a torn plantar fascia, he had retired straight 13 batters before Ronny Cedeno singled on the first pitch of the inning. Dickey set down the next two hitters sprawling face-first on the infield grass when he dived for a bunt that was caught by first baseman Nick Evans. But the right-hander grazed Jose Tabata on the elbow with a knuckler and, after a visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen, Harrison lined the next delivery past a diving Evans into right field for his first career RBI. Harrison advanced to second on the throw to the infield, making it with a headfirst slide. Andrew McCutchen, who had whiffed his first three times up, drew a walk to load the bases. Walker then lined an 0-2 pitch to center to put Pittsburgh up 3-1. Brandon Wood replaced Harrison at third base in the bottom of the eighth and looped a two-run single in the ninth off Bobby Parnell.

Pirates 9, Mets 3: Kevin Correia became the first eight-game winner in the majors and the pesky Pittsburgh Pirates scratched out five infield singles in a five-run seventh inning to beat the Mets, sending Terry Collins into a frustrated postgame rant. Andrew McCutchen made a dazzling catch in deep right-center and Correia (8-4) pitched six poised innings to help the Pirates improve to 17-14 on the road -- matching last season's win total away from home. Pittsburgh was a major league-worst 17-64 away from home last year, but this season has brought quite a turnaround under Clint Hurdle. Pitching is the prime reason, and Correia is a big part of that. The 30-year-old right-hander, signed to an $8 million, two-year contract in December after spending the past two seasons with San Diego, is 7-1 with a 2.42 ERA in eight starts on the road. Pittsburgh starters have gone 13 consecutive games without allowing more than two earned runs. That's the longest streak in the majors this season and the club's longest since a 14-game run in September 1968, according to STATS LLC. Xavier Paul stroked two RBI singles after entering as a pinch hitter in the seventh. McCutchen had three hits, legging out two infield singles, after going 0-for-7 with five strikeouts in the first two games of the series. Chris Capuano (3-6) was a hard-luck loser after carrying a three-hit shutout into the seventh.

Mets 9, Pirates 8: After giving his team a tongue-lashing the previous night, Terry Collins watched from the dugout as his team clawed back from a seven-run deficit -- the Mets' biggest comeback win in more than a decade. The Mets were trailing 7-0 when Carlos Beltran’s three-run homer in the third inning gave them a boost. Beltran then hit a leadoff double in the sixth as the Mets scored four times to tie the game. Ruben Tejada delivered a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth off Jose Veras (1-2) and Beltran drew a bases-loaded walk later in the inning. It was the Mets' biggest rally to win since June 30, 2000, when they overcame an 8-1 deficit by scoring 10 times in the eighth to beat Atlanta 11-8. New York's beat-up bullpen hung tough the final four innings to salvage a split. Jason Isringhausen (1-0) worked the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez survived Neil Walker’s RBI single in the ninth for his 16th save. It was a monumental collapse for Pittsburgh, which had been playing well on the road. The Pirates won their 17th game away from PNC Park the previous night, matching their total from all of last season, and had won seven of 10 series as the visiting club. Walker did his part with a two-run homer, Xavier Paul had a career-high four hits and Andrew McCutchen drove in a pair of runs -- but almost all that damage came early. Seven of Pittsburgh’s first 12 batters singled off Mike Pelfrey. Unlucky No. 13 was Walker, whose two-run shot in the second inning sliced through winds gusting up to 35 mph and bounced off the billboards overhanging the bullpens in right-center field. The home run gave the Pirates a 6-0 lead, and they tacked on another run in the third on Paul's third single in three innings, before the Mets began their comeback.