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Mets Held In Check By Buccos McDonald, Lose 3-2

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R.A. Dickey (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

R.A. Dickey (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

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PITTSBURGH (AP) – James McDonald wasn’t as good as he usually is
when he wins for the Pittsburgh Pirates. This time, he was just
good enough when he had to be.

McDonald worked around eight hits and three walks, allowing two
runs in six innings and the Pirates beat the New York Mets 3-2 on
Saturday night.

“It was a big-time effort, with his want-to being better than
his how-to,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He was pitching
out of the stretch all night. He was up in the zone a lot, too. But
he got outs when he needed to.”

Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run double, and Jose Tabata and Josh
Harrison each had two hits and a scored a run against knuckleballer
R.A. Dickey. Garrett Jones had an RBI double among his two hits for
Pittsburgh, which had lost its previous two.

Jose Reyes, baseball’s leading hitter, had two hits and Ruben
Tejada and Carlos Beltran each also had two hits for the Mets. New
York lost for the second time in seven games.

McDonald (4-4) entered with a 1.09 ERA in the seven previous
games he had won with Pittsburgh since being acquired in a trade
with the Los Angeles Dodgers last July.

“Even when I got in good counts, they were able to get decent
swings on the ball, but the defense was able to pick me up,”
McDonald said.

“It was outstanding defense. … They made some great plays
behind me, and that was really, really big for me today.”

Tim Wood pitched a scoreless seventh, Jose Veras struck out
Ronny Paulino looking with runners on second and third to end the
eighth and Joel Hanrahan worked a perfect ninth for his 16th save.

“The one thing that I really feel good about is that these guys
have grasped the idea of pitch and play defense,” Hurdle said.
“Find ways to score on offense, but pitch and play defense. It
makes for a good game.”

Drawn partly by a postgame fireworks show and Huey Lewis
concert, the Pirates drew 39,273, their fourth sellout of the
season and third-largest crowd in PNC Park’s 11-year history.

The runs that proved the difference came in the third on a
two-out hit by McCutchen with Tabata at second and Harrison at
first. McCutchen was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts against Dickey
May 31, and he grounded back to him into a double play in the first
inning Saturday.

But his sharp grounder to third bounced and deflected off of
David Murphy’s glove. Murphy attempted to backhand the ball, and it
slowly trickled into left, easily allowing Tabata and Harrison to
score.

“That’s an error _ no disrespect to Dan Murphy at all; he’s a
good player,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. “A very good
player. He’ll make that play the next 10 times it’s hit at him.
Every time. No doubt in my mind.”

Dickey (3-7) had his fifth consecutive effective outing,
pitching a complete game. He allowed three runs on eight hits and
two walks with four strikeouts in eight innings.

Mets slumping outfielder Jason Bay was back in the lineup
against his former team after Collins gave him two days off to get
away from the game and work on his swing.

Bay went 1 for 4 with two strikeouts. He singled to center in
the fourth, his first hit in 25 at-bats. With a runner on and one
out in the eighth, he hit a hard line drive to center _ right at
McCutchen.

“I’m glad he’s back,” Collins said.

The Mets took a 1-0 lead in the first when Tejada scored on
Murphy fielder’s choice.

Pittsburgh tied it in the second on Jones’ double into the
deepest part of the ballpark, left-center _ the Pirates’ first
extra-base hit in 21 innings.

The Mets loaded the bases with one out in the fourth but Dickey
grounded softly in a double play.

In the eighth, Lucas Duda doubled into the right field corner
with Angel Pagan on first. But Pagan was held at third. Paulino
followed by striking out.

“I wanted to score from there,” Pagan said, “but right field
is so short in this park that you have to hope for a bad bounce to
have an opportunity to score on that ball. (Jones) fielded it
cleanly and I didn’t have a chance.”

NOTES: A fan favorite here but a member of teams that all
finished last or next-to-last, Bay received mostly cheers – but
some boos _ during his first plate appearance at PNC Park since
being traded in 2008. … Reyes, who turned 28 Saturday, leads the
majors in hits.

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

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