Trevor Williams was sharp but the Pirates bats were as flat as can be on Saturday night as they fell 3-0 to the Mets in CitiField.
Steven Matz earned the victory with a five-hit shutout, walking none and striking out seven as he finished with 99 pitches.
A day after the Mets collected just six hits in a victory, but with four of them leaving the park, they managed only four hits against Williams and reliever Kyle Crick, but two more cleared the fence. Of the four base hits in two games, two dropped flies (a deep drive to Starling Marte in center on Friday and a popup to Jung-ho Kang at short on Saturday) could’ve easily been scored errors.
Williams was looking every bit his studly self as he didn’t allow a hit until J.D. Davis doubled off the wall in right center in the bottom of the fifth. An inning later Michael Conforto left no doubt as he hammered a pitch into the second level in right field for his 19th home run of the season, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. In the seventh, Todd Frazier reached when the generously scored pop up clanked off kang’s glove, and on the very next pitch Davis drove another ball to center, this time just clearing the glove of the leaping Marte.
Williams finished with two walks and seven strikeouts in his sven innings of work, throwing 65 of 98 pitches for strikes.
Despite coming into the game with a 4.75 ERA, Matz was in control the entire night. Melky Cabrera hit a one-out ground-rule double in the fourth for the Pirates’ first hit but was left at second. Jacob Stallings led off the sixth with a double off the right center wall and after Williams failed to bunt him over had to stop at third on Kevin Newman’s line single to left. First and third, one out, but Cabrera knocked the first pitch to third for an easy around the horn double play.
And that was it.
Having now lost thirteen of fifteen, the standings are in free fall as the Cubs, Brewers and Cardinals battle it out for first place in the National League Central. The Mets were actually only one game better than the Pirates to start the series, as they occupy fourth place in the East Division.
The series is scheduled to conclude at 1:10 p.m. Eastern on Sunday afternoon, as Chris Archer (3-7, 5.40) faces the Mets’ 36 year old left-hander Jason Vargas (5-5, 3.96)