How is it possible that Jeremy Hefner has been one of the best pitchers in all of baseball since the beginning of June? Well, however he’s doing it, he continued his impressive run Friday night in Pittsburgh, throwing seven solid innings before being prematurely lifted from the game. The Mets went to extra innings once again, eventually losing in 11 innings.
Hefner allowed a two-run home run to Pedro Alvarez in the first inning as the Pirates jumped out to an early 2-0 lead.
The Mets cut the lead to 2-1 when David Wright singled to drive in Eric Young, who had doubled.
Kirk Nieuwenhuis tied it up with one swing of the bat with a solo home run in the seventh.
In the top of the eighth, Terry Collins chose to lift Jeremy Hefner for a pinch hitter (Jordany Valdespin struck out). Hefner was still going strong, throwing just 78 pitches over his seven innings. Hefner allowed two runs on just three hits, striking out three and walking no one. His record remains at 4-6 but he lowered his ERA to 3.33. A bad decision by Collins.
David Aardsma pitched a perfect eighth but was less than perfect in the ninth. Starling Marte led off with a double and was sacrificed to third. Andrew McCutchen was intentionally walked. Scott Rice came on to face Alvarez, striking him out for the second out. Then it was Greg Burke’s turn, pitching to Russell Martin with two outs. Burke walked him to load the bases. Another pitching change brought in Josh Edgin to face the lefty Garrett Jones. Instead, Met killer Gaby Sanchez pinch hit for him. But he didn’t kill the Mets this time; Sanchez hit a grounder to Ike Davis at first to send the game into extra innings.
Juan Lagares singled with one out in the 10th. He was erased on a fielder’s choice with Young replacing him on first. Daniel Murphy singled to put runners on first and second but Wright flew out to center to end the inning.
With a runner on second with two outs in the 10th, Collins ordered Edgin to intentionally walk Marte to face Jose Tabata. It worked — Tabata grounded out to end the the threat.
Gonzalez Germen made his major league debut in the 11th. He walked McCutchen to lead off the inning. He struck out Alvarez but McCutchen stole second. Martin was intentionally walked and up stepped Sanchez. Germen struck him out for the second out. Jordy Mercer was next and he hit a slow roller up the middle that was just out of the reach of Omar Quintanilla at short. McCutchen scored to give the Pirates the 3-2 win.
The Mets four-game winning streak is over.