Pittsburgh, PA – A pair of eighth-inning runs supported a strong outing from R.A. Dickey as the Mets defeated the Pirates, 3-2, on Tuesday.
The game was tied entering the eighth, but Lucas Duda delivered an RBI single off of Juan Cruz (1-1) and Kirk Nieuwenhuis scored on an error by third baseman Pedro Alvarez to make it 3-1.
Dickey (6-1) recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts, did not walk a batter and allowed just one run over seven innings to earn the win.
"A lot of times you throw it and it does what it's going to do," said Dickey of his knuckleball. "Tonight, mechanically, I was in a place where I could get it to do a couple of different things where I wanted to and that was the difference."
Mike Nickeas added an RBI single for New York, which had lost seven of 11 coming in, including the opener of this three-game series on Monday.
James McDonald countered Dickey with eight strikeouts and also gave up just one run over seven frames, while Andrew McCutchen drove in a pair for the Pirates.
"Tough loss. Everybody played hard, played some good defense at times," said McDonald. "My team did what I asked from them and that's play hard behind me and that's all you can ask for."
The eighth inning was one of near misses for the Pirates. Mike Baxter scored the go-ahead run after he reached with a one-out double, which bounced out of the glove of McCutchen as he attempted an over-the-shoulder grab.
A walk to Nieuwenhuis followed and there were two down when Duda ripped a sharp grounder towards first base. This time the ball glanced off the glove of the diving Garrett Jones and rolled into the outfield, allowing Baxter to score and Nieuwenhuis to reach third.
Chris Resop entered and induced Daniel Murphy into a grounder, but Alvarez failed to field the ball cleanly and Nieuwenhuis crossed the plate for a 3-1 lead.
Jose Tabata doubled and scored to make it 3-2 in the bottom half, but the Pirates would get no closer. He crossed the plate with two outs when McCutchen lifted a fly ball to shallow right, which bounced out of the glove of Murphy as he attempted an over-the-shoulder basket catch.
Tim Byrdak then relieved Jon Rauch and struck out Alvarez to end the inning. Frank Francisco tossed a 1-2-3 ninth for his 11th save of the season.
In the second inning, McDonald issued his only two walks of the game -- to Murphy and Ronny Cedeno. The free pass to Cedeno came with two outs and Nickeas followed with an single to left for a 1-0 lead.
The Pirates tied the game in the sixth inning when Josh Harrison tripled on a deep shot to left-center, then scored on McCutchen's sacrifice fly to right.
This marks the earliest in a season that Dickey has reached six wins. His previous earliest mark was in 2010, when he earned his sixth win on June 23. Last season, he did not post his sixth victory until August 29...Mets third baseman David Wright entered the game with a major league-leading .415 batting average but went 0-for-4. His average now sits at .403.