Pirates waste chances, lose to Mets

Associated Press Modified: September 24, 2012 at 11:31 pm •  Published: September 24, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Josh Harrison took a big turn at third base on a groundball in the third inning, slipped to the turf and ended up in a rundown rather than racing home.

Yet another opportunity squandered by the Pittsburgh Pirates in their stumble down the NL standings.

Ike Davis connected twice and reached a career-high 30 homers, Jenrry Mejia pitched five effective innings for his first major league win and the New York Mets beat the plummeting Pirates 6-2 Monday night for their fourth straight victory.

The Pirates lost for the 31st time in 43 games since improving to a season-high 16 games above .500 (63-47) on Aug. 8. They started the day 6 1/2 games back in the wild-card race with several teams ahead of them, and now need to win six of their last nine to avoid a 20th straight losing season.

They had runners on third base in the first two innings in this one but struck out each time with a chance to score.

"In the first three innings, we had opportunities, especially. I think it just goes to show they're still going to battle, they're going to go out there and create opportunities and build innings," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Unfortunately, we're not getting it done earlier and we're not putting crooked numbers up on the board as well."

Davis had a career-best five RBIs and David Wright had a run-scoring single to move within two hits of tying Ed Kranepool's franchise record of 1,418 hits.

Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen went 1 for 3 with a triple to keep his batting average at .336 — behind only San Francisco's Melky Cabrera, who is at an NL-best .346 but has removed himself from consideration after being suspended for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug.

Davis' homer to left-center off Kyle McPherson (0-2) in the fourth came after Wright walked. Davis hit a three-run shot off Jeff Karstens in the fifth to make it 6-0, a batter after Wright had an RBI single.

"I just failed to execute," McPherson said. "Ball got up, elevated, and the good hitter he is, he put a good swing on it."

Hurdle said before the game McPherson needed to be more aggressive in his second major league start. Instead he had trouble finding the plate and was lifted after 4 1-3 innings. He gave up four runs and four hits with three walks. He struck out three.

Nearing the end of a lost season of their own, Mejia's outing has to be encouraging for the Mets. Rushed to the big leagues at 20 years old in 2010, the team's top pitching prospect went 0-4.

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