Pirates-Mets Preview

The Pittsburgh Pirates finally figured out a way to win at Citi
Field. They’ll send the majors’ most successful road starter to the
hill as they try to do it again.

Kevin Correia has six wins in seven games away from PNC Park,
and will seek his major league-leading eighth victory overall
Wednesday against the New York Mets as he tries to help the Pirates
match their road win total from 2010.

Pittsburgh (25-28) finished last season 17-64 away from home,
matching the worst road record since the 162-game schedule was
adopted, but it’s been a different story in 2011. The Pirates have
avoided last year’s futility by posting a 16-14 road mark.

Futile was the only way to describe the Pirates’ first eight
games at Citi Field, where they’d been outscored 56-21 while going
0-8 including Monday’s 7-3 defeat to open this series.

Another loss seemed to be on the horizon Tuesday as R.A. Dickey
stymied Pittsburgh, which trailed 1-0 through seven innings.
However, manager Clint Hurdle’s club finally broke through for
three runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth. Josh Harrison’s
second hit in his major league debut tied the score at 1, then Neil
Walker drove in two more as the Pirates rallied for a 5-1
victory.

Pittsburgh won its didn’t win its 17th road game last season
until Oct. 1, but can match that total June 1 with Correia (7-4,
3.44 ERA) on the hill.

A journeyman who won a total of 36 games in his first eight
seasons, Correia is tied for the major league lead in victories
through two months.

He’s all alone in road victories with six, and bounced back from
his lone loss with arguably his best performance yet Friday in
Chicago. Correia held the Cubs to four hits over 7 1-3 scoreless
innings of the Pirates’ 4-2 win.

“You throw half your games on the road your whole career, so it
really doesn’t affect me at all,” Correia said. “Every place is a
little different.”

If Correia can keep up his road excellence Wednesday,
Pittsburgh’s starters will have held 13 straight opponents to two
runs or fewer for the first time since a 14-game run Sept. 13-27,
1968.

“Those guys have been setting the tone all year. If you would
have said it was 35 games in a row I’d believe you,” closer Joel
Hanrahan said.

Correia has pitched once at Citi Field, allowing two runs over
five innings of a 7-2 loss with San Diego on April 15, 2009.
Overall, he’s 1-2 with a 3.24 ERA in four career starts versus the
Mets.

Even better for Correia, he won’t have to face David Wright. The
Mets’ All-Star third baseman, who is 11 for 14 with a pair of
homers in their matchups, remains on the disabled list with a
stress fracture in his lower back.

New York (25-29) counters with Chris Capuano (3-5, 4.94), who’s
coming off one of his best efforts despite not receiving a
decision. The left-hander held Philadelphia to two runs – one
earned – over six innings while striking out eight in a 6-4 loss
Friday.

“I think it was, physically, as good as I’ve felt out there,”
said Capuano, who has twice had Tommy John surgery. “It felt good
to get out there and get on the attack and get some quick
outs.”

Capuano hasn’t had much luck against the Pirates, going 3-6 with
a 6.46 ERA in 15 appearances – 13 starts. Pittsburgh catcher Chris
Snyder is 4 for 5 with a homer in their matchups.