Jameson Taillon silences Mets' bats, which already were pretty quiet

NEW YORK -- At least the New York Mets avoided getting no-hit.

Curtis Granderson's leadoff single in the seventh inning provided the first hit against Jameson Taillon, a rookie making his second career major league start. The Mets went on to lose to the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 in Tuesday's series opener at Citi Field.

With two outs in the sixth inning, Jung Ho Kang broke a scoreless tie with a two-run homer on Jacob deGrom's 97th pitch. Starling Marte had a two-run homer in the eighth against Jim Henderson.

"The one mistake, that's really the only ball hit hard," said deGrom, who is winless in his last four starts despite a 2.42 ERA during that span. "The rest of the hits were kind of through the infield."

The Mets (34-29) have lost three straight games.

Clay Buchholz in 2007 with the Boston Red Sox remains the last pitcher to throw a no-hitter within his opening two career MLB starts.

The Mets twice were no-hit last season -- by San Francisco's Chris Heston on June 9 and Washington's Max Scherzer on Oct. 3.

Taillon, promoted because Gerrit Cole was put on the disabled list because of a triceps strain, had made his big league debut against the Mets last week at PNC Park. He received a no-decision that day after giving up three runs in six innings. Taillon was sent to Triple-A Indianapolis following his debut, but did not throw a pitch for the International League club before returning.

Aside from Granderson's single through a shift on the right side of the infield, the lone runners to reach base against Taillon came when he hit Kevin Plawecki with a third-inning pitch, on a fourth-inning walk to Yoenis Cespedes, and on James Loney's single in the eighth. Taillon ultimately completed eight scoreless innings against a depleted Mets lineup that has been utterly anemic of late.

The Mets were playing without David Wright, Lucas Duda and Travis d'Arnaud -- all of whom are on the disabled list -- as well as Neil Walker (lower back) and Michael Conforto (wrist). Manager Terry Collins intended to have Juan Lagares in the starting lineup too, but a dental issue prevented it.

Lagares and Conforto ended up getting used as pinch hitters.

"If you think I'm going to criticize my lineup, you're talking to the wrong guy," Collins said. "Obviously you've got to make adjustments no matter who you face on a nightly basis. Are we doing that? It's hard for me to answer. I haven't had time to really review the at-bats. Obviously we have a lot of guys hurt.

"You've got to pick it up. You have to pick up guys who are not in there. When you're asked to go out there, you've got to do what you do best. Some of these guys, it's 'put the ball in play.' Tonight, you look at all the balls we hit, they were into the shifts. We've got to go back and use the field a little bit better to hit."

The troubling fact is there is no cavalry coming soon, unless you generously categorize d'Arnaud's planned return next Tuesday that way.

Wright is in Los Angeles contemplating surgery for the herniated disk in his neck. Duda, who is dealing with a stress fracture in his lower back, continues to be limited to riding a stationary bicycle. And general manager Sandy Alderson acknowledged before the game Tuesday that even if the Mets were inclined, difference-makers just are not available in mid-June.

"This time of year, when you're facing injuries, it's difficult to fill in for those injured players because most clubs are not in a trade mode," Alderson said.

Said Collins: "Our lineup is what it is because that's what we have. So I'm not going to sit here and complain about it. We've got to get it done. Tomorrow night we'll get after it again."

E-gad: Plawecki committed a pair errors in the sixth inning -- dropping a foul pop off the bat of Andrew McCutchen, then firing the baseball into center field on Josh Harrison's steal.

What's next: Noah Syndergaard (6-2, 2.00 ERA) opposes left-hander Jeff Locke (5-4, 5.38) on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET.