Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 5/11/13
The Pirates couldn’t have asked for a much better game on Saturday afternoon, as they blew out the Mets behind an offensive explosion and a strong performance from Francisco Liriano. Liriano is the big story, as the lefty was making his Bucco debut. We didn’t really know what to expect – his rehab numbers were encouraging, but those usually mean very little. He’s got the potential to be awesome and the potential to be disastrous, so everyone was curious to see how he’d look. Liriano’s first impression was fantastic. He threw strikes, threw hard, showed excellent off speed pitches, and got plenty of swings and misses. His strikeout ability was as advertised as he racked up ten of them. More importantly, he walked just two and didn’t really show signs of his famous control issues. The only negative part of Liriano’s outing was the fact that he came out after just 5.1 innings, but with the Bucs up big and it being his first start that wasn’t a big issue. He looked fantastic and Bucco fans can breathe a sigh of relief – and maybe start getting excited that he can give this rotation a big boost. The offense took care of Francisco with an enormous day, led by unlikely sources Jose Tabata and Jordy Mercer. Jose collected four of the Bucs’ season high 16 hits, including a long home run and a double to deep center.  Mercer blasted two home runs – both to deep left, well over where the fences used to be at Citi Field before they moved them in. Mercer is making a strong case to stay in the majors when Neil Walker returns from the DL on Monday – if the Pirates keep both John McDonald and Brandon Inge around while sending Mercer to AAA, that will be extremely frustrating. Every Pirate starting position player had at least one hit, and most had at least two. Clint Barmes and Michael McKenry each had multiple RBI’s. The Bucs knocked starter Jon Niese out in the fifth inning and scored off all three Mets relievers as well. It was a fantastic day all around for the offense. As the Bucs cruised home to a victory, Bryan Morris drilled Mets pinch hitter Jordany Valdespin as a response to his showboating on Friday night. That may have been unnecessary and I’m not a huge fan of that sort of stuff, but it’s the first time we’ve seen a Pirate do something like that in a while and the rest of the team seemed to really appreciate it. Morris, Justin Wilson, and Tony Watson took care of the final few innings with little trouble, although Watson allowed a homer in the ninth. Notes: The Bucs struck out sixteen Mets on the day. As a result of that and a promotion the Pirates are running, you can get outfield box tickets (normally $28) for $5 this week here.  This happened during a meeting on the mound. A big storm hit Citi Field in the ninth inning and the game had to be delayed, even though it was 11-1 with three outs to go. The delay lasted 47 minutes before Watson gave up a home run and then finished the game. Pirates 11, Mets 2 / Box / 2013 Record: 20-16 / Next: Sunday, vs. Mets, 1:10 Source: FanGraphs
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