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Offensively Challenged Mets Fall to Pirates

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Ronny Cedeno, Josh Thole, R.A. Dickey

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By MIKE FITZPATRICK   AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Neil Walker hit a two-run single in the eighth
inning off a game and gritty R.A. Dickey to help the Pittsburgh
Pirates rally past the New York Mets 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Josh Harrison stroked a tying single with two outs in the eighth
to cap a successful major league debut and Pittsburgh got another
fine outing from a starting pitcher. This time it was James
McDonald, who gave up his only run on an infield dribbler.

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.

Pirates starters have gone 12 consecutive games without allowing
more than two earned runs.

The banged-up Mets, meanwhile, reverted to their punchless ways
at the plate. After totaling 16 runs and 32 hits over the previous
two days, the only time they 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 home run 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 foot, the
36-year-old knuckleballer struck out a career-high 10 and took a
two-hit shutout into the eighth.

Pitching with a painful 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, and the fired-up rookie clapped his
hands together hard.

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.

The cleanup hitter batted right-handed all night against Dickey,
a tactic switch-hitters sometimes try against knuckleballers.
Walker went 1 for 4 with a strikeout.

Brandon Wood replaced Harrison at third base in the bottom of
the eighth and looped a two-run single to left-center in the ninth
off Bobby Parnell, activated from the disabled list Monday.

Harrison was called up from the minors Monday when the Pirates
placed reserve infielder Steve Pearce on the DL. Harrison singled
in the third inning Tuesday for his first hit, and the ball was
tossed into the Pittsburgh dugout to be saved as a souvenir.

NOTES: Pirates C Ryan Doumit was diagnosed with a non-displaced
fracture of his left ankle, without major ligament damage. His
return is uncertain, but he is expected to be sidelined more than a
month. … Pearce, also placed on the DL Monday, has a partial tear
of his right calf. His status is week to week, the team said. … C
Dusty Brown made his first start for the Pirates. … Mets SS Jose
Reyes, on the bereavement list following his grandmother’s death,
is expected back in time to play Thursday afternoon in the series
finale, general manager Sandy Alderson said.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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