Pittsburgh Pirates 3, New York Mets 1: Stars And Stiffs

Jun 7, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jonathon Niese (18) delivers a pitch against the New York Mets during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jonathon Niese (18) delivers a pitch against the New York Mets during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the New York Mets by a score of 3-1 in game one of their doubleheader on Tuesday to improve to 31-26 overall on the season.

After defeating the New York Mets by a score of 3-1 in game one of their doubleheader on Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates now own a record of 31-26 on the season. The win also pulls the Pittsburgh Pirates to within a half a game of the New York Mets for the National League’s top Wild Card spot. Now, the Pirates will look to completed the doubleheader sweep tonight.

Tuesday already had plenty of excitement for Pittsburgh Pirates fans as the team announced earlier in the afternoon that highly touted pitching prospect Jameson Taillon will make his Major League debut tomorrow. The afternoon got even better with a Pirate victory in game one of the doubleheader. Before we completely turn our attention to game two of the doubleheader, here are the Pittsburgh Pirates three stars and stiffs for game one’s victory.


Starting pitcher Jon Niese – In his first career start against his old team, Jon Niese was excellent on Tuesday afternoon. Niese stuck it to his ex-team pitching seven four-hit scoreless innings. Niese also walked a pair, struck out a pair, and he recorded 14 ground ball outs.

Jon Niese took this game by throat right from the first inning, and never let go. This was Jon Niese’s sixth straight strong outing. In his last six starts Niese has a 2.15 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, he has walked just 10 batters, and has allowed just five home runs in 37 2/3 innings pitched. Quietly, Jon Niese has rounded into the Pittsburgh Pirates second most consecutive starting pitcher behind Gerrit Cole

Jon Niese was not in trouble very often on Tuesday, really there was only one such instance, but he got out of it. In the top of the fourth inning the Mets were able to load the bases after back-to-back two out singles and a walk. However, Niese would strike out Michael Conforto to end the inning and the threat.

Overall on the season, Niese’s ERA is now down to 3.93. Also, his ground ball rate has jumped to 55 percent. When Jon Niese is at his best, he is generating a lot of ground balls and that is exactly what he has done of late.

Second baseman Josh Harrison – The Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman played a very big role in the Bucco victory in game one on Tuesday. Harrison was one of just two Pittsburgh Pirates players with multiple hits on Tuesday afternoon. Josh Harrison started things early when he led off the game with a triple, and then he never looked back.

Josh Harrison finished the game 3-for-4 with a triple, a key stolen base, and two runs scored. Josh Harrison, just like he did in his only other full season as a starter in 2014, finds himself firmly in the National League batting race. Harrison now owns a .325 average on the season, to go along with a 116 wRC+.

In the bottom of the fifth inning Josh Harrison singled to lead off the inning. Then with Andrew McCutchen at the plate, he stole second base. This would prove to be key because McCutchen would collect a run scoring base hit that otherwise would not have scored Harrison.

First baseman David Freese – In his first game since last Thursday due to a hand injury, David Freese collected a pair of base hits for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday afternoon. Freese went 2-for-4 with a double and a RBI at the plate. Also, Freese made strong contributions on defense.

In the first inning David Freese stepped to the plate with one out and Josh Harrison at third base. Freese proceeded to collect a RBI single to give the Pittsburgh Pirates an early 1-0 lead. In the top of the third inning Mets’ right fielder Curtis Granderson ripped a sharply hit ground ball right at Freese, but Freese was bale to knock it down and tag first base for the last out of the inning.


Relief pitcher Neftali Feliz – So far this season Neftali Feliz has been excellent out of the Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen, but he hit a minor speed bump on Tuesday afternoon. Feliz allowed a lead off home run to Curtis Granderson in the top of the eighth inning with the Pirates leading 3-0. However, that’s all he would allow as he would retire three of the next four Met batters.

History was made in this at bat as Feliz was ahead of Granderson 0-2, this was the first time in Feliz’s career that he allowed a home run on a 0-2 count. This was just the third home run Feliz has allowed this season, and was the first run he had allowed since April. Needless to say, I’m willing to chalk this one up as a blip in the radar for Feliz.

Left fielder Starling Marte – Poor games from Starling Marte do not happen very often, but we saw that Tuesday afternoon. Marte went 0-for-3 with a strike out at the plate. Marte’s strike out came in the bottom of the fifth inning when the Pittsburgh Pirates had runners on the corners and just one out.

Marte would exit the game in the seventh inning due to left ankle discomfort. Hopefully, this was just precautionary by the Bucs and that Marte is ok.

Right fielder Gregory Polanco – Much like poor days from Starling Marte, poor games from Gregory Polanco are rare. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder went 0-for-4 with a strike out on Tuesday afternoon. Also, Polanco stranded three base runners in this game.

I am willing to bet that Polanco bounces back from this in game two, though. Polanco is an early pick-to-click for me for game two of tonight’s doubleheader.

That will do it for game one. Rest up, grab some food, grab a beer, and get ready for game two. The match up between Jacob deGrom and Juan Nicasio will be starting very soon.