Jameson Taillon had a decent debut, allowing three runs over six innings, and leaving with a tie score. He was reasonably efficient, throwing 91 pitches, 60 for strikes, and he got some ground balls when he needed them. His fastball sat at 95-97 in the early going and was still 94-95 near the end of his start, but he wasn't overwhelming, striking out three. The Pirates, meanwhile, hit Noah Syndergaard, the best starter in possibly baseball's best rotation, a little better than the Mets hit Taillon, but they continued blowing scoring opportunities. Thanks to their inability to bring runners home -- they were 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position -- and their fiasco of a bullpen, the Pirates lost in ten innings, 6-5.
As in both of yesterday's games, the Pirates took an early lead. In the first, a Neil Walker error put John Jaso on and Andrew McCutchen walked. Gregory Polanco got a double when Alejandro de Aza couldn't hold onto a liner over his head, scoring Jaso. McCutchen scored on a single by Jung-Ho Kang, leaving runners at the corners with nobody out. And then the Pirates resumed their maddening inability to plate runners from third with less than one out. Josh Harrison struck out, Francisco Cervelli popped out and Matt Joyce struck out for the seventh straight time. Since the beginning of May, Cervelli is now batting .167 with just one extra-base hit, a double. They blew another opportunity when Polanco led off the third with another double and went to third on Kang's ground out. This time Harrison bounced to a drawn-in third baseman and Polanco was cut down at the plate.
Meanwhile, Taillon had limited trouble through the first three and two-thirds innings. He gave up three hits and two walks, but a pair of double plays helped him out. With two out in the fourth, though, Taillon gave up a double and then a HR to Ty Kelly, a AAAA replacement for David Wright who came into the game 2-for-18 in the majors. In the bottom half, the Pirates finally got a runner in from third to retake the lead. Sean Rodriguez led off with a double, went to third on a bunt and scored on a Jaso double. The Mets, however, tied it again when Taillon gave up a leadoff double to Syndergaard and he came home on a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly.
The Pirates untied the score in the bottom of the seventh. McCutchen led off with a walk and Polanco doubled high off the Clemente Wall. When Walker fumbled the relay, McCutchen scored and Polanco went to third. A Harrison fly ball plated a second run.
Then the Pirates' bullpen happened. After throwing a scoreless seventh, A.J. Schugel walked the leadoff hitter in the eighth. Clint Hurdle brought in Jared Hughes, who promptly coughed up a game-tying HR to Michael Conforto. Hughes then gave up a hit and a walk, and wild-pitched the runners to second and third with no outs, but at that point he managed to lock the barn door.
Tony Watson fanned the side in the ninth, but then . . . more bullpen. The Pirates went with Cory Luebke in the tenth, for his first appearance since returning to the majors. Luebke gave up three singles and an intentional walk, amounting to one run. He did manage to pitch out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam, as the Mets don't seem to be any better than the Pirates at getting runners in from third. The Pirates got two walks to start the bottom half, but Sean Rodriguez hit into another crucial double play. Chris Stewart walked to put runners at the corners, but David Freese took a third strike to end it.
The Pirates now head to Colorado for a single game makeup. It's become painfully clear that they can't afford to stumble along with a pitching staff loaded with poor performers, but it's not clear whether the front office sees any need to do anything about it.