Mets 4, Pirates 2

By the way he pitched, you never would have known that Dillon

Gee’s feet hurt.

The New York Mets right-hander developed blisters on the soles

of his feet Sunday during an 87-degree afternoon. It was so warm

that the dirt on the mound baked in the sun.

However, Gee overcame the blisters and pitched another gem

against the Pirates. John Buck hit a two-run single during a

three-run first inning to lead the Mets to a 4-2 win, and New York

avoided a sweep by Pittsburgh before the All-Star break.

”Stuff-wise, it probably wasn’t the best day but I just tried

to throw a lot of strikes, especially after the guys got us out to

an early lead and set the tone out there the first inning against a

good pitcher,” Gee said. ”I just wanted to throw a lot of strikes

after that and keep them off-balance.”

Gee (7-7) allowed just one unearned run in 6 2/3 innings to the

Pirates (56-37), who fell a game behind St. Louis in the NL

Central.

Gee is 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA in five career starts against

Pittsburgh. He scattered five hits, struck out two and walked

one.

”It’s just sometimes this is the way it works out,” Gee said

of his success against the Pirates. ”They’re a really good team. I

was just trying to throw strikes with all my pitches and just keep

them off balance. And it worked out.”

After having to use his bullpen for eight innings in the first

two games of the series, New York manager Terry Collins was happy

to see Gee pitch into the seventh.

”We needed to get innings, we needed to get him deep into the

game, and he gave us that,” Collins said. ”He was exhausted. His

foot was bothering him. But he gave us everything we needed

today.”

Buck’s hit capped a three-run first inning against fill-in

starter Gerrit Cole (4-3), who lost his third straight start after

becoming the first Pirates pitcher since Nick Maddox in 1907 to win

the first four of his career.

Buck, Eric Young Jr. and Marlon Byrd each had three hits for New

York, which finished a 6-3 road trip. The Mets will host the

All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Citi Field.

”It’s nice that we’ve kind of proven to ourselves we can have a

little more confidence moving to the second half, but there’s still

a long ways to go,” said Mets third baseman David Wright, who will

start for the NL on Tuesday. ”We did have a nice month after a

couple of pretty bad months. It’s nice to be progressively getting

better so hopefully the best is yet to come and we continue that

trend.”

Bobby Parnell earned his 17th save in 20 opportunities with a

scoreless ninth despite giving up back-to-back singles to Clint

Barmes and pinch-hitter Russell Martin with one out. He got Jordy

Mercer to fly out to end the game.

”We continue to fight until the final out,” Pittsburgh manager

Clint Hurdle said. ”Sometimes I’d like to see us hit the `go’

button a little earlier in the game, but we always fight.”

Starling Marte had two hits for the Pirates, whose three-game

winning streak was snapped.

Cole surrendered three runs and six hits in five innings with

two walks and five strikeouts. He started in place of All-Star

left-hander Jeff Locke, who was scratched from this start on

Saturday because of lower back tightness.

The Mets took a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Byrd bounced a

run-scoring, ground-rule double into the left-field seats, and Buck

lined a two-run single to right.

”I didn’t come out ready to pitch and that inexcusable,” Cole

said. ”It’s just indefensible. I didn’t give our team a very good

chance to win. I put us in position where I had to scratch and claw

and so did the rest of the team.”

Marte also bounced an RBI double into the seats in the third

inning to draw the Pirates within 3-1.

Daniel Murphy tripled in a run in the seventh to restore the

Mets’ three-run lead.

Pittsburgh put runners on second and third with none out in the

eighth on a single by Mercer and a double by Andrew McCutchen, but

the Pirates scored only one run when Jose Tabata grounded out

against LaTroy Hawkins.

NOTES: Collins said the blister on RHP Matt Harvey’s right index

finger has healed and he will be able to pitch in the All-Star

game. Harvey is a prime contender to be the NL’s starting pitcher

on Tuesday despite being scratched from his scheduled start

Saturday against the Pirates because of the blister and to limit

his innings this season. … Mets 1B Ike Davis got the day off

after going 0-for-8 in the first two games of the series. Josh

Satin started in his place. … Pittsburgh RHP Mark Melancon was

added as injury replacement to the NL All-Star roster. That gives

the Pirates a five-man All-Star contingent, their largest since

1972. Melancon joins Locke, RHP Jason Grilli, 3B Pedro Alvarez and

McCutchen. … Locke said he expects to make his next start July 21

at Cincinnati.