The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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June 29, 2014

Pirates solve Colon, hold off Mets rally

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates fared a lot better facing Bartolo Colon for the second time this season.

About a month after they were held scoreless into the eighth by the Colon, Ike Davis and the Pirates built an early five-run lead against the heavy right-hander and held on for a 5-2 win Sunday.

“First and foremost I don’t think he had his A-game,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “He can still compete and win games without it. The biggest difference is when balls were left out over the plate today, we put good swings on them.”

The biggest swings on Colon’s pitches over the plate were a two-run single in a three-run first from Davis, a former Met, and Pedro Alvarez’s two-run homer and an RBI double.

Josh Harrison led off the fourth with a double to right-center field. Alvarez then crushed an 88 mph, 1-2 pitch from Colon for his 13th long ball this season, extending Pittsburgh’s advantage to 5-0.

“I tried to put good contact on it and I was just trying to get (Josh Harrison) over,” Alvarez said. “I ended up putting a pretty good swing on it.”

Colon (8-6) was finished after six innings, and he yielded five runs on seven hits and a walk.

“I just think that because I’ve already gone against them once they probably prepared so they knew what I was coming with,” Colon said. “They just had the time to prepare to play against me.”

Pirates starter Edinson Volquez (6-6) worked in and out of trouble, giving up eight hits and a walk in six shutout innings. He struck out a season-high seven as the Pirates took three of four from the Mets.

New York had plenty of chances to score off Volquez, stranding 11 on base, including seven in scoring position. The Mets had men on base in every inning except the eighth.

“We left a lot of guys at third base,” manager Terry Collins said. “It’s just one of those games we didn’t get the runs in.”

Despite the ups and downs, Hurdle thought Volquez’s outing was fun to watch with the way he navigated through treacherous situations. It was especially fun for Hurdle in the third, fourth and sixth innings.

“He collected himself, slowed the game down, followed the mitt and made pitches,” Hurdle said.

Volquez didn’t agree with his manager.

“It’s no fun,” he joked. “The sooner you’re able to throw the right pitch and get out of there, everything’s fine for everybody and everybody’s happy.”

Left-handers Justin Wilson and Tony Watson each worked a scoreless inning in relief of Volquez.

The Mets scored twice in the ninth against Jared Hughes on Chris Young’s groundout to shortstop and Ruben Tejada’s RBI single.

Mark Melancon relieved Hughes with two outs and gave up a hit to Daniel Murphy, but Melancon got Curtis Granderson to fly out to right field for his 15th save of the season.

Granderson went 0-for-5 and was hitless in 17 at-bats in the series.

Notes: Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen was out of the lineup Sunday for a scheduled off day. ... Marte (finger) returned to the starting lineup and took McCutchen’s spot in center field. ... Mets 3B David Wright (bruised left rotator cuff) is scheduled to be reevaluated today, and Collins said the disabled list is a possibility if insufficient improvement is shown in the shoulder. .. RHP Zack Wheeler (3-8, 4.45 ERA) opposes LHP Alex Wood (6-6, 3.07 ERA) as the Mets open a three-game series in Atlanta today. The Pirates are off today before LHP Jeff Locke (1-1, 3.74 ERA) will start Tuesday against LHP Wade Miley (3-6, 4.78 ERA) when the Arizona Diamondbacks visit Pittsburgh for three games.

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