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Garrett Jones three-run homer helps Pirates even series with Mets

Jim McIsaac

The Pirates' offense and Wandy Rodriquez teamed up to lead the Pirates to clean 7-3 win over the New York Mets Friday night.

The bulk of the Pirates' runs came in two three-run innings, the first of which came in the second. Garrett Jones and Jose Tabata led off with back-to-back singles. Pedro Alvarez knocked Jones in with a sharp single to right-field. Tabata was thrown out trying to advance to third. Michael McKenry followed Alvarez with a double down into the left field line, after battling Mets starter Shaun Marcum in an eight-pitch at bat. John McDonald was then hit by a pitch, loading the bases. In what is perhaps the highlight of his Pirates' career so far, McDonald helped score a run and keep the inning alive by taking out Mets shortstop Ruben Tejeda on a ground ball by Wandy Rodriguez that surely would have been a double play. Starling Marte then added an infield single that plated McKenry.

The knockout bunch came in the fifth, when the Pirates scored three more runs thanks to Jones' three-run shot, which scored Marte and Jordy Mercer. Jones went 3-for-5 on the night, with a single, double and a home run. He scored twice and added three RBIs.

Starling Marte continues excel in the leadoff spot for the Pirates. He got on base in four of his five plate appearances, raising his OBP to .399 for the season.

Rodriquez held the Mets in check in his six innings of work, striking out two and walking one while allowing one run. He was not terribly sharp with his command tonight, particularly the curveball, but he kept Mets' hitters off balance enough to coax fairly nonthreatening balls in play.

The only negative to come from this game was that Jose Contreras got himself in a little bit of trouble in the ninth, forcing Pirates manager Clint Hurdle to use Jason Grilli to clean things up. Grilli now has now appeared in three of the last four games. It'll be interesting to see if he is available tomorrow.

With this one in their pocket, attention now turns to what should be interesting ballgame tomorrow afternoon as Francisco Liriano will make his Pirate debut against Mets lefthander Jon Niese.