PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — Despite yet another strong start from starting pitcher James McDonald, the Pirates lost to the New York Mets Tuesday night, 3-2.

McDonald pitched seven innings, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out eight batters. However, New York starter R.A. Dickey was just as commanding, allowing one run in seven innings on five hits and striking out 11.

Dickey, a knuckle ball pitcher, provided problems for Pittsburgh’s lineup, which couldn’t seem to connect with Dickey’s unpredictable pitch placement.

“His numbers coming in are real,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Dickey’s 5-1 record and 3.75 ERA. “They were real last year. He competes, and he makes pitches.”

That best for Pittsburgh was right fielder Josh Harrison, who drove his hitting streak to eight games and made solid contact all night. Batting in the two-hole, he went 2 for 4 with a run scored.

“(The) only previous experience I had was facing (knuckle ball pitchers) two times last year, two games,” Harrison said. “I’ve hit pretty well off ’em, but I don’t really think about it.”

Harrison’s run came in the bottom of the sixth, tying the game, 1-1. After he tripled to the north side notch, Andrew McCutchen hit a sacrifice fly to right field.

The Mets took the lead for good in the eighth inning. With Pirates reliever Juan Cruz on the mound, Lucas Duda singled to right field with runners on first and second, scoring one.

Chris Resop relieved Cruz, and Daniel Murphy grounded to third base where Pedro Alvarez bobbled the ball twice, allowing Kirk Nieuwenhuis to score and give New York a 3-1 lead.

“Cruz hasn’t given up a whole lot this year,” Hurdle said. “…We had three balls go off gloves that inning that scored two runs.”

The Pirates grabbed one of those runs right back in the bottom of the eighth when McCutchen hit an RBI single to score Jose Tabata, but Frank Francisco sent the Buccos down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.

“Tough loss, everybody played hard,” McDonald said. “We played some good defense at times. My team did what I asked of them, and that’s play hard behind me.

“That’s all you can ask for.”

Chris Gates | Bucs Blog

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