Mets 9, Pirates 1

BY foxsports • September 15, 2010

For one night - albeit against the pitiful Pittsburgh Pirates - R.A. Dickey, Carlos Beltran and the New York Mets showed they might be able to end this season on a positive note.

Dickey took a three-hitter into the ninth inning, Beltran had his first three-RBI game in over a year and the Mets might have knocked Zach Duke out of the Pirates' rotation with a 9-1 victory Tuesday night.

''When you get some young guys and get somewhat healthy you feel like we can do some of the things we did tonight,'' Mets manager Jerry Manuel said. ''Carlos Beltran is getting his legs underneath him. Obviously (Jose) Reyes. And young guys coming in and giving us a little energy - (Nick) Evans and (Ruben) Tejada - some good things can happen.''

Dickey's tricky pitch - he threw one knuckler at 57 mph - was no match for the inexperienced Pirates.

Pitching into the wind for the first time this season, Dickey didn't allow an extra-base hit until pinch-hitter Pedro Ciriaco tripled to lead off the ninth. John Bowker's grounder to shortstop ended the shutout bid. The 35-year-old Dickey (11-6) finished the five-hitter for the third complete game of his career.

Dickey has gone from one of the first cuts in spring training to a steady force in the rotation, and he has earned Manuel and the coaches' trust.

''They asked me if I wanted to finish, I said, 'Absolutely,' and that was it,'' Dickey said. ''I think it's been nice over the course of the season I've pitched in such a way to earn that.''

The Pirates lost their 57th road game and must win three of their final nine away games to avoid matching the 1963 Mets for the worst road record (17-64) in a 162-game season.

Coming in, opponents had a .320 average against Duke, and the soft-hitting Mets put on one of their best offensive displays of the season.

Pirates manager John Russell is not sure if Duke will continue to start for the Pirates this season. Duke (7-14) has a 5.78 ERA and has given up 20 runs - 19 earned - over his last four starts.

''We'll consider what our options are,'' Russell said. ''I'm sure he's frustrated.''

Beltran homered and hit a two-run double, driving in more than two runs for the first time since June 11, 2009.

''It took me time to feel comfortable at the plate,'' said Beltran, who had offseason knee surgery and was out until the All-Star break. ''I don't feel like I'm great out there, but I feel like I'm having better chances now at the plate.''

Evans followed up his game-winning hit in the 10th inning Monday with a single and a monstrous home run in his first two at-bats, and Tejada had a career-high three hits to lift his average above .200. Tejada also started two splendid double plays to back Dickey.

''He looks like he's 14,'' Reyes said of the 20-year-old Tejada. ''He can play this game,though.''

The Mets opened each of the first four innings with hits and scored all their runs. Reyes led off the first with single and scored on Angel Pagan's single. Evans started it off in the second with a single and he scored on Pagan's bases-loaded double. All three runners scored on Pagan's hit when converted catcher Ryan Doumit had trouble picking up the ball in right field for an error to make it 4-0.

Beltran homered leading off the third. Evans followed two outs later with a drive that landed just to the left of the home run apple in straightaway center field, getting a buzz from the sparse and sleepy crowd.

Tejada singled to open the fourth and scored on Reyes' single, which mercifully ended Duke's night.

Duke followed up his last start of one-plus inning, six hits and four runs with an effort of 3 1-3 innings, nine hits and eight runs - seven earned.

''Obviously I've been not good at all the last two starts and this team's been battling much too hard for me to do that to them,'' Duke said.

Beltran hit a two-run double off Joe Martinez to make it 9-0.

NOTES: Mets LHP Johan Santana had surgery on his pitching shoulder Tuesday. When he will return next season is uncertain. ... Several New York Islanders took batting practice before the Mets took their turn in the cage. ... The Pirates are 0-5 at Citi Field. They have two more games in this series.

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