The Pirates always seem to stumble against a Craig Stammen or a Mitchell Boggs or a Brian Moehler, but Johan Santana? Hey, no problem.
The Bucs had a number of very good defensive plays tonight (see the picture above for one of them, but there were others, including a really nice stab by Andy LaRoche) and a fine, if strikeout-free, outing from Zach Duke. But what seemed (perhaps coincidentally) to get them going was a play at the end of the fifth in which Nyjer Morgan got called out at first on a double play. Morgan flipped out in most impressive fashion, with a helmet-spike that surely ranked about a 9.8 on the Olympic helmet-spike scale. The extraordinary display even inspired the usually comatose John Russell to leave his perch in the dugout and have a discussion with the umpire.
In their half of the sixth, the Bucs' offense played with what seemed like a renewed sense of purpose, as Nate McLouth and Adam LaRoche hit consecutive RBI doubles with no outs. The younger LaRoche then had a hard-hit out to second, and after Brandon Moss singled, Jason Jaramillo (whose solo homer the previous inning had accounted for all of the Pirates' offense to that point) grounded into a double play. For a second there, though, it looked like the Bucs were going to have a very long inning.
Fortunately, that was all Duke and the Pirates needed to take down probably the best pitcher in baseball, who left the game with six innings, three runs and just three strikeouts. Duke's ERA, meanwhile, dropped to 2.62.
Mets vs Pirates boxscore