Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 5/21/12

The Pirates pulled off an improbable, impressive comeback to dig their way out of an early hole Monday night, and then the Mets helped the Bucs turn it into a victory.

The game could not have started off much worse for the Pirates. Erik Bedard had a miserable second inning in which the Mets put up a 4-spot. The scoring started on a Ronny Cedeno RBI double (sigh), and ballooned to four runs with two 2-out singles. With Johan Santana on the mound and in a groove early, this one looked like it was all but over.

Amazingly, though, the Bucs put up a fight. They struck for three consecutive doubles (by Josh Harrison, Andrew McCutchen, and Pedro Alvarez) to lead off the bottom of the fourth, cutting the lead in half. Neil Walker then decided to bunt for a hit, which was just an awful decision and resulted in a pop out. After a walk, Michael McKenry hit into a DP to end the threat.

Bedard settled down nicely after the rough second. It didn’t feel like it would matter much at the time, but he kept the Pirates in the game. Chris Resop came in and tossed scoreless sixth and seventh innings, but the Bucs couldn’t mount another rally off Santana in the middle innings. The score remained 4-2.

Suddenly, though, in the bottom of the seventh, Clint Barmes led off with a single. That brought up McKenry, who belted one deep to left that resembled his most famous home run last year against the Cubs. You gotta love the Fort, who strikes when you least expect it. Tie game, 4-4.

Jared Hughes pitched the eighth and came perilously close to giving the Mets the lead back right away. After a leadoff single, Cedeno grounded one down the line to third. Alvarez dove and threw a rocket to first for the out, just in time to get Ronny and his patented head-first slide into first. McKenry wasn’t able to handle a pitch to the next batter, though, moving the lead runner to third with just one out. Trouble. Hughes came up big, though, and struck him out. He then induced a ground out to Walker to end the inning and preserve the tie game.

Walker led off the bottom of the eighth with a routine fly to left-center, but Mets outfielders Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Mike Baxter had communication issues as Baxter failed to back off. Usually you see big-league outfielders overcome that awkwardness and come up with the catch anyway, but this time it skittered off a glove all the way out to the wall, allowing Walker to cruise into third. Huge break for the Pirates (it’s something you’d expect the Pirates to DO, not benefit from) and an inexcusable mistake by the Mets. Casey McGehee grounded out, but Barmes hit a shallow fly ball that was JUST enough to score Walker. He was ruled safe on a bang-bang play at the plate, giving the Bucs the lead.

Joel Hanrahan closed out the save rather easily, completing a spectacular effort by the bullpen. Hughes earned his first big-league win, and the Bucs started off the homestand on the right foot. Again, it was hard to envision them coming back after falling behind 4-0 to Santana, but they pulled it off. The Mets helped with their defensive woes, but give credit to the Pirates for battling their way to a big win.

Pirates 5, Mets 4 / Box / 2012 Record: 20-22 / Next: Tuesday, at Mets, 7:05

MVP: Barmes (+.261) / LVP: Bedard (-.221) / Key play: McKenry’s HR

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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