Pirates send Rodriguez to hill against Mets

Wandy Rodriguez tries to put the brakes on a personal two- game losing streak on Friday when the Pittsburgh Pirates continue their four- game series against the New York Mets at Citi Field.

After getting hammered by Milwaukee two starts ago, Rodriguez was better his last time out against Washington, but was still charged with the loss. Rodriguez gave up three runs and six hits in six innings of that one and fell to 2-2 on the year to go along with a 4.02 ERA.

He had been hammered for seven runs in just 3 2/3 frames in his previous start versus the Brewers.

Rodriguez could get himself right on Friday, though, as he owns a 5-2 lifetime mark against the Mets with a 2.88 ERA in nine starts. Also, the Mets are hitting a mere .192 over their last nine games against left-handed starters.

New York will counter with righty Shaun Marcum, who is 0-2 with a 7.20 ERA. Marcum did not get a decision last Friday in Atlanta, as he allowed three runs and six hits in 4 1/3 frames of a 7-5 win. He also walked three and has issued six free passes in 10 innings this season.

Marcum is 2-2 with a 2.65 ERA in six starts against the Pirates.

New York drew first blood in this series on Thursday, as Mike Baxter smacked a game-winning, pinch-hit single in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Mets to a 3-2 win.

Baxter subbed for center fielder Juan Lagares, who made a game-saving catch in the top of the ninth, robbing Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen of an easy extra- base hit. Ike Davis had an RBI double and Marlon Byrd added a sacrifice fly for the Mets, who have won two of three.

"This guy comes off the bench with a plan, with something in his mind, and he executes it," New York manager Terry Collins said of Baxter. "It's truly amazing, because that is one tough job."

New York starter Dillon Gee pitched five-plus innings of one-run, five-hit ball and struck out three in the victory. Bobby Parnell (4-0) picked up the win after working around a leadoff single in the ninth.

Pedro Alvarez accounted for both Pittsburgh runs with a solo homer and a sacrifice fly, while starter Jeff Locke gave up just three hits over six frames to go along with three walks and three strike outs.

Jason Grilli (0-1) absorbed the loss, allowing Baxter's game-winning hit.

"You tip your hat," Grilli said of giving up the hit to Baxter. "Some nights you make good pitches, some nights you don't. Big league hitters and players make plays. That's what happens sometimes."

Pittsburgh has lost four of its last five.

New York won five of its seven matchups with the Pirates last season.