NEW YORK (AP) – Steven Matz threw an efficient five-hitter for his first complete game in 90 major league starts, and the New York Mets got home runs from Michael Conforto and J.D. Davis in a 3-0 victory Saturday night over the sinking Pittsburgh Pirates.
Matz (6-6) struck out seven and walked none, needing just 99 pitches to earn his first win since June 8 against Colorado. The left-hander, making his third start since a brief stint in the bullpen, handed the last-place Pirates their seventh straight loss and 13th in 15 games since the All-Star break.
Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle was only around for the first three batters of a swift contest that took 2 hours, 10 minutes. Hurdle was ejected by plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt after Starling Marte was called out on strikes to end the top of the first inning.
It appeared Hurdle came onto the field to escort Marte away and make sure he didn’t get tossed. But when the skipper said something to Wendelstedt from a distance, it was Hurdle who was given the thumb.
Pirates starter Trevor Williams (3-4) held the Mets hitless until Davis doubled off the right center wall with two outs in the fifth.
Conforto sent a changeup into the second deck in right field for a solo shot in the sixth. Davis added a two-run drive to center in the seventh after Pittsburgh shortstop Jung Ho Kang let Todd Frazier’s popup drop for a gift single.
Matz went right at the slumping Pirates, throwing 67 strikes. He was aided by two timely double plays, including when New York went around the horn on Melky Cabrera with runners at the corners to end the sixth.
Three innings later, Matz pounded his pitching hand into his glove after retiring All-Star slugger Josh Bell on a routine grounder for the final out.
The fourth-place Mets (49-55) have won three in a row and are 9-5 since the All-Star break.
Mets outfielder Jeff McNeil and his wife, Tatiana, indeed adopted that rescued puppy he wanted that was brought to Citi Field by the North Shore Animal League on Friday – not long before McNeil hit a three-run homer. The couple visited the puppy together Saturday as planned. “Once she picked her up, it was game over,” McNeil said.
Pirates: LF Corey Dickerson was out of the starting lineup after leaving Friday night’s game with left groin discomfort. He took indoor swings in the afternoon and hoped to be available off the bench. Cabrera started in left. … LHP Steven Brault (shoulder strain) threw a bullpen.
Mets: LF Dominic Smith went on the 10-day injured list with a stress reaction in his left foot, and it’s unclear how long he’ll be out. Davis started in left field, and New York selected the contract of OF Aaron Altherr from Triple-A Syracuse. … Mets manager Mickey Callaway was “pretty confident” closer Edwin Díaz would be available if needed. Díaz was held out as a precaution Friday night while nursing a sore left big toe. He was hit in the foot by a line drive Thursday. … OF Brandon Nimmo (neck) has been ramping up baseball activities but is still a while from playing in a game, Callaway said. Nimmo has been sidelined since May 21.
Pittsburgh claimed RHP Parker Markel off waivers from the Seattle Mariners and optioned him to Triple-A Indianapolis. To open a spot on the 40-man roster, RHP Rookie Davis (finger blister) was transferred to the 60-day injured list.
Pirates: RHP Chris Archer (3-7, 5.40 ERA) pitches the series finale Sunday. He is 0-2 with a 5.65 ERA in his last eight starts, and 0-3 in eight outings on the road this season.
Mets: LHP Jason Vargas (5-5, 3.96), perhaps an under-the-radar trade candidate as Wednesday’s deadline approaches, has a 1.83 ERA in seven starts at home this season. He allowed only one hit in six shutout innings with eight strikeouts to beat San Diego on Tuesday.
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