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.