Torres steps in for Harvey as Mets battle Pirates

Carlos Torres takes the place of Matt Harvey in the rotation Saturday night for the New York Mets as they continue a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.

Harvey, who is the likely choice to start Tuesday's All-Star Game at Citi Field, was scratched from his start. Mets manager Terry Collins cited a blister on the young phenom's right index finger and an increasing workload as the main factors in the decision. Collins did say the blister will not affect Harvey's ability for the All-Star contest.

Torres, a 30-year-old right-hander, steps in to make only the seventh start of his career in his 55th contest. It will be his 11th appearance of this season and first start. His last start came Aug. 2, 2010 with the White Sox and he took a 7-1 loss against the Tigers at Comerica Park. He currently holds a 12 2/3 inning scoreless stretch.

A.J. Burnett, who has just one win his last eight starts, counters for the Pirates. The 36-year-old righty has pitched two straight games against the Cubs, including a no-decision on Sunday. That was his first game back from the disabled list after being sidelined a month due to a right calf strain.

Burnett, who has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 14 of his first 15 starts, is 0-2 in his last four home starts. His last victory at PNC Park was May 3 against Washington.

Over his career, Burnett is 5-6 with a 3.40 ERA in 19 games when facing the Mets. He is 3-0 in his last four starts versus New York and hasn't lost to the Mets since Sept. 4, 2005 when he pitched for the Marlins.

Last night, Jordy Mercer squirted a base hit up the middle to knock home the winning run in the 11th inning in Pittsburgh's 3-2 triumph.

Andrew McCutchen scored the deciding run after drawing a walk against Gonzalez Germen (0-1) to start the home 11th, then swiped second as Pedro Alvarez struck out swinging.

Russell Martin was issued a free pass and Gaby Sanchez struck out after going ahead 3-0 in the count, but Mercer lifted the Pirates to victory when his ground ball went just past the diving reach of Omar Quintanilla at short.

Germen, making his major league debut, threw only nine of his 23 pitches for strikes. Kirk Nieuwenhuis hit a solo homer in the seventh to even the game at 2-2 for the Mets.

Vin Mazzaro (5-2) pitched a scoreless inning to pick up the win. Alvarez launched his 24th home run of the year and the Pirates picked up their second straight win on the heels of a four-game slide. They've beaten the Mets four straight times.

Jeremy Hefner posted another outstanding effort. After surrendering Alvarez's two-run blast in the first inning, he retired the next 14 batters he faced.

"Was trying to go fastball away and caught more of the plate than I would've liked," said Hefner on Alvarez's home run. "If I made a better pitch there, maybe we win the ballgame."

He threw only 78 pitches over seven innings, allowing just three hits.

"He definitely settled down real well," said Alvarez about New York's starter.

David Wright went 2-for-5, extending his hitting streak to 12 games for the Mets.