Pirates Vs. Mets: New Yorkers Mount Biggest Comeback Since 2000

New York Mets right-hander Mike Pelfrey entered Thursday afternoon's start against the Pirates with a 5 ERA; 5.00, right on the nose.

Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Paul Maholm entered Thursday afternoon's start against the Mets with a 2-7 record despite a career-best 3.18 ERA.

You might figure something had to give, except this is baseball so nothing really had to happen.

In the event, both pitchers gave up seven runs on their way to no-decisions; Maholm's record didn't change, while Pelfrey's ERA jumped to 5.56, perhaps jeopardizing his slot in the rotation.

Ultimately, the Mets touched the Pirates' bullpen for two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on their way to a 9-8 victory, and their biggest comeback since 2000 (and second-biggest in franchise history).

The Pirates scored all seven of their runs in the first three innings: three in the first, three in the second, and one more in the third. Andrew McCutchen and Xavier Paul both scored twice, and Neil Walker smacked a two-run homer. Pelfrey hung in there, though, and did hold the Bucs scoreless in the fourth and fifth.

Meanwhile, Carlos Beltran got the Mets on the board with a three-run homer in the bottom of the third, ending the Pirates' streak of XX straight games in which their starting pitcher allowed two or fewer runs. And things got a lot worse for Maholm in the bottom of the sixth. Beltran led off with a double. Two outs and two walks later, Ruben Tejeda drove in two runs with a single through the right side of the infield. Daniel Murphy followed with a single to left, and Nick Evans scored when catcher Dusty Brown couldn't handle Matt Diaz's accurate and timely -- but one-hopping -- throw from left.

Murphy's hit kayoed Maholm, replaced by Chris Resop. But before Resop could finally retire the side, Brown was charged with a passed ball that pushed home Tejada with the tying run (no, this wasn't Dusty Brown's all-time favorite inning).

The bullpens ruled in the seventh. In the top of the eighth, 38-year-old Jason Isringhausen struck out Ronny Cedeno and Dusty Brown, then was touched for a bloop single by Garrett Jones.

No problem. Jones, who's stolen all of two bases this year, got himself picked off by a 38-year-old right-handed relief pitcher.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Pirates gave the game away. Jose Veras has been outstanding out of the bullpen this season, but he 1) gave up a leadoff single to Ronny Paulino, 2) balked pinch-runner Willie Harris to second, 3) wild-pitched Harris to third, 4) walked Josh Thole, and 5) gave up a sacrifice fly to Tejada.

That wasn't all, though. Thanks to three more walks from Veras -- one of them intentional, but still -- the Mets tacked on an insurance run, which came in real handy when Francisco Rodriguez gave up a run in the ninth before securing his 16th save.

For more about the Mets and Pirates, please visit Amazin' Avenue and Bucs Dugout.

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