What began as a pitcher's duel between Jeff Locke and Matt Harvey progressed to a rain delay and ended in a rout as the Pirates completed a season sweep of the Mets with an 8-1 victory Sunday afternoon.
Harvey went six innings before the delay, striking out six, walking one and allowing only a solo homer to Pedro Alvarez. Locke, meanwhile, went 5.1 innings, whiffing five, walking two and allowing only a solo homer to Travis d'Arnaud. Locke put two on in the sixth, and Clint Hurdle went to take him out, only to have the game go into a rain delay.
When action resumed, Arquimedes Caminero recorded two outs and left both runners stranded. Then the Pirates scored four runs in the seventh in which the mood at Citi Field turned sour very quickly. The Mets replaced Harvey with Bobby Parnell, who fans already weren't happy to see, thanks to his role in the Mets' loss on Friday. Parnell allowed a walk to Pedro Florimon, then got charged with an error after fielding a ball hit by Mike Morse; Parnell's throw to second on the play actually seemed fine, but neither middle infielder was there to catch it.
After Sean Rodriguez replaced Morse on the bases, up came Gregory Polanco, and if you'd been watching the Pirates in the last couple weeks, you probably had a sense that something good was about to happen. Polanco brought home Florimon with a single up the middle, and Rodriguez eventually came home himself as d'Arnaud let a pitch pop out of his glove and skitter away. Neil Walker walked, and Aramis Ramirez singled home Polanco as Yoenis Cespedes made an uncharacteristically terrible throw. (Walker made a poor decision to come home on the play and got himself caught between third and home, but whatever.) Then Pedro Alvarez singled in Ramirez.
After Antonio Bastardo went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh, the Bucs offense continued in the eighth. Rodriguez doubled and ultimately came home on an infield single by Starling Marte. Then Walker walked again, and both he and Marte came home as Ramirez doubled over Juan Lagares' head. Bastardo pitched the eighth and Joakim Soria the ninth as the Bucs cruised to what turned into an easy win.
Even with Andrew McCutchen and Jung-Ho Kang getting the day (or most of the day) off, the Pirates continued to produce. Locke did a nice job, even if Hurdle and Caminero perhaps helped his final line look better than it otherwise might have. Ramirez had four hits, while Polanco had his third multi-hit game in a row and his seventh since the beginning of August. Marte collected two hits in his first start since Wednesday. Alvarez's homer was his third in the past week. And the Bucs' bullpen finished off a dominant series in which it allowed just one run in 16 innings. Also, the Cubs lost, and the Cardinals are losing. Today's game, and this series in New York in general, can only be called a smashing success.